21st April 2013
Last week Naomi put a link up on Facebook urging people to volunteer to cheer with Macmillan at the London Marathon. It is a cold hard fact that I will never run the Marathon. I am, and always have been, terrible at running and alongside being appalling at it - I hate it. Ergh. Believe me, I have tried to get into running, but it's just not going to happen for me. So, with that in mind, I reasoned I should make the effort this way if I can't do the running part.
Of course after the events in Boston I felt differently about it. I didn't feel scared or worried that something would happen, but I thought there would be a lot of people running who may feel apprehensive enough about the run, let alone the potential for something terrible to occur. I was there to be a cheerleader and there might be people who needed it a little more than they may have before.
I met Tom and Naomi in our fabulous shirts (I was particularly happy, I love me a bit of green) and scouted out a spot for the day.
We were given some banger sticks to help us make as much noise as possible for the runners. Oh Macmillan, how little you know me. My sticks disappeared after a little while, but I was more than capable of making noise without them. I cheered and whooped at the top of my voice all day, Tom saying at one point when he was on a bridge overlooking us that he could only hear Naomi and I over everyone else. I got more than one comment on how loud my voice was, something I took as a compliment and thank my mum for.
Choosing a photo for today was unbelievably difficult, finding the one that conveyed the tone of the day completely enough seemed impossible. It was an utterly amazing day, and I will definitely be doing it next year if at all possible.
Team Macmillan were some incredible cheerers. Whilst we all shouted like maniacs for everyone, when someone came past in a green Macmillan shirt the excitement was as if all the A list celebrities in existence were trooping past handing out chocolate. I loved watching the faces of the runners break out into smiles as they approached us, you could see they were buoyed up and many who were walking would break into a jog. We were at mile 23, those coming past us were digging into their energy reserves in a big way.
We did spot a few celebrities going past, there were two we were looking out for especially as they were running for Macmillan.
Katherine Jenkins did a much better job of giving a wee smile. She's had a bit of stick over her 'look' for the day which is just the most ridiculous thing. We all know if she hadn't then that would have been plastered everywhere, so give her a break. She still managed to have hair that looked good after running that far - in that respect she is my idol. I can barely make it out of my room.
Last guy isn't so much a 'celebrity' per se, but a sports presenter on BBC Breakfast, Mike Bushell. I didn't recognise him for a while, but as he was someone with a name on his shirt he was someone I could shout directly at. He was having a slow moment so I shouted a "Come on Mike, keep going, you're doing SO well!!" and as he acknowledged my excellent acclaims I spotted the 'BBC Breakfast' written on his t-shirt and realised that I see him every morning as I get ready for work. Granted, when I do see him I know it's time to tune out as it means sports, but it's very useful that I recognise him otherwise I might find myself listening to sports news without realising it and no one wants that.
Much more fun than looking out for 'people what are off of the telly' was looking out for maniacs in costume or similar. This guy was kicking a football the whole way. AS IF. That's nuts.
This was the first costumed runner to pass us, so naturally we were very excited. We found out later that he got a World Record for the fastest costumed time. Yay Jack Sparrow!
This crazy, brilliant man was carrying a pint. Do I really need to say more?
This fabulous man represents everyone who ran in a wig or full costume as there were an enormous amount. It was a warm day, I can't imagine they with loving their decision, but extra lots of Kudos to you guys. Brave.
There was a lot of love floating around today. People would run past and look back in shock realising they had spotted someone they knew and run over for a hug. Lots of people asked us to look out for their loved ones and give them some of our own special brand of cheers. I had a nice little chat with a young girl as we looked out for her Dad together. We talked about why there were so many police and paramedics around, why people run the Marathon and how she would be giving her Daddy a massive hug when they finally found him. Eventually her mum realised that he must have passed us, so they headed off to meet him at the finish line.
This was my favourite moment of the day. The man on the right had been running towards us and we were cheering, when he went over slightly on his ankle. He stopped just in front of us to try and regain himself and tried to start running again, only to have to stop. The other man appeared, asked how he could help and then helped him up and walked him on. It was a truly lovely thing to see, strangers helping each other. Go guy on the left, you're awesome.
In all it was such a fun day. Naomi and I popped to the shops shortly after arriving and bought some wine and fruit to accompany our packed lunch, drinking wine in the sun surrounded by human spirit is rather nice. Of course, Naomi had to risk arrest or suchlike with the insane behaviour. Blatantly disregarding the sign that is RIGHT next to her. I should call her Evel Knaomi. Or Naomi Knievel. Or Badass. One of those.
We managed to get Tom to put on a wig, which would have been amazing in itself, but the icing was really put on the cake for me by this tourist who wanted a picture with him. HA.
In conclusion - go and volunteer at a cheer point for the Marathon next year, really really do. It was the best way I could have spent my day and it was totally worth losing my voice for.