Today was the 36th London Marathon. About 40,000 runners ran it, and - before we go any further - I was absolutely, most definitely not one of them.
I'd been looking forward to watching the race for quite some time, but since I was busy in a yoga class all day (more details on that coming soon!), I had to rearrange my thinking and re-plan so that I could still catch a little glimpse of it on my lunch break.
I was in Bermondsey, south of the Thames river, and lucky for me, the race course actually went through there too. Serendipity, my dear friends!
Anyway, by the time I got to the side of the road at about 1:15pm, just past the mile 12 marker, the elite runners had long passed. The men's winner, Eliud Kipchoge, finished just seven seconds off a world record in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 5 seconds. The women's winner, Jemima Sumgong, finished in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 58 seconds despite colliding with another runner at one point, falling to the ground, and smacking her head on the pavement. That is insanely fast. If my math is correct, that means she averaged 3 minutes 25 seconds per km. I can't even sprint that fast. I couldn't do 1 km that fast, let alone 42.2. Serious awe and respect.
But as I said, the elite were done by the time I got to mile 12. They were posing for pictures with Prince Harry by then, and soaking in bubble baths with - I like to imagine - well-deserved flutes of champagne.
But the race was far from over. Still pushing forward were all manners of awesome people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Having finished a marathon myself in September 2013, I have at least some idea of what it takes to run/walk/crawl. It's hard. It's awesome when you've done it, and it's a memory for life, but it is also tougher than you can really possibly prepare yourself for. It just goes on and on and on, and at some point you can't help but question all the life choices that got you to that point.
So more power to the ones who did it. For the money they raised, for the smiles on their faces, for the way they waved as we cheered them on, even when they knew they still had so far to go.
There were some great costumes in the lot. Tigger strolled by. Multiple rhinos, wearing signs advertising their endangered plight. A gorilla carrying a man in a cage.
And my personal favorite? Her Majesty herself.
Well run, ma'am. Well run, all of you.