Each year the Club gets a London Marathon place. This year it went to Hannah Cockle. Here's her report.

London Marathon 2019 – Hannah Cockle.

Firstly I just wanted to start by saying a huge thank you to the club for giving me a place to run the best road race in the world and helping me train, I couldn’t have done it without you.

I’ve never taken part in an event (let alone a race) with so much excitement and build up, when I saw the advert on the BBC about 10 days before by blood was already pumping! I travelled up to London on Friday evening, luckily catching a quiet train, ready to get to the expo early on Saturday morning. I collected my number and timing chip on Saturday with no problem and was ready to ‘toe the line’.

I arrived about two and a half hours early for my start time, good to be prepared, and waited around in the blue pen until it was time to start, roughly 35 minutes after the main pack – so I was chasing Mo and Eliud. The camaraderie on the start line was brilliant and everyone was buzzing – we got some inspirational music and we were off!

The first five, 10 and 13 miles all went to plan and I was about two minutes ahead of my target time – I’d picked up a 3.55hr pacing band at the expo the day before. The crowds were amazing (Vicky in particular) as I’d been told, my legs felt great, Tower Bridge was immense and I was looking forward to seeing my family at around mile 14. They were waving around a Welsh flag which they had told me about so I saw them easily – high fives all round but it was all to brief and shortly after that things started to get hard. I was praying for the 18 mile marker as people had told me ‘that’s when the real race starts’ and it just wasn’t coming! The fact my watch was beeping for each mile about 0.3 miles before the official mile markers was even more demoralising, but I had my family again at mile 21 to look forward to. By the time I got to them I was really struggling, I had hit the wall and all I could mutter was ‘help me’ as I grabbed their hands and resisted the urge to stop.

My plan was to reach mile 20 with an hour to go to get under four hours, and I managed it. I thought a whole hour to run 6.2 would be plenty of time, how wrong I was. My legs were burning and I could feel blisters under my toes, 6.2 miles seemed too far and I didn’t think I could do it. The temptation to walk was immense both mentally and physically and I nearly did, but I didn’t. A few glances at my watch told me that I wasn’t going to make my target time and in my mind I was giving up. People were walking, stretching and passing out all around me! The crowds during those last few miles were truly phenomenal and I wish I could have appreciated them more but I was gritting my teeth and praying for the end. Never ever had 800m seemed so far and I was still convinced I was going to come in just over 4 hours, gutting. Only when I turned the corner by Buckingham Palace and saw the finish line did I know I could just about do it and I found one last ounce on energy to take me across the line – but there was no hands in the air in celebration just pain.

As soon as I crossed the line my legs cramped up and I felt like I couldn’t take another step, people all around me seemed to be floating along chatting and celebrating – had they not just done the same race as me!? I collected my medal and my bag and then made the huge mistake of sitting down, calling my sister and crying. In the end someone helped me up and I hobbled, still crying, to find my team of supporters.

After being reunited with my family – and more crying - my heroic plans to go to the pub for a celebratory pint and then walk to the train station went quickly out the window and I was bundled into a taxi and luckily taken back to the New Forest in my friend’s car. I was a bit embarrassed about my marathon ending but I’d completed it, and under four hours. I’ve already entered the ballot for 2020, good luck to the lucky Hardley Runner who gets the club place next year – I’ll have plenty of advice!

The contents of this site are Hardley Runners unless otherwise stated.

Last updated 02-May-2019.

Contact the webmaster if you have any problems or want to reproduce any material.