Spectator Line: Westminster, Mile 25
Backdrop: Big Ben
Four hours. Tears, sweat and elation. Not theirs, mine.
I made a detour on the road, it was time to make a dream come true. Watching the London Marathon was an unexpected opportunity and it turned out to be the best few hours on the road so far. I lapped up every second of standing there for four straight hours, blinking back the tears and cheering with every breath I had. The sheer grit of human determination in chasing a goal shone through every single runner who passed by – reigning champions, elite Olympians, wheelchair racers, blind runners with their guides and most importantly the general runners. Although the crowd waited for the Brit champ Mo Farrah, the general runners stole the show from the champs very easily. These are the people for whom running is not a daily job; instead it is their happy place or a goal to reach. Through phases of elation, physical pain, mental agony and sheer determination, they scream “impossible is nothing” with every step they take on this long 26-mile stretch. It was incredible.
Runners wore their names on their shirts and the spectators picked it up one after another, sending personalized cheers to everyone. Those who stopped to tend a cramp were egged on ferociously. Family and friends screamed themselves hoarse as their runners’ faces lit up in glee and hugs across the barriers were exchanged. Wheelchairs, sprains and limb-less instances were no barriers. Many runners were having such a great time that they stopped to hear Big Ben ring and say hello to the TV cameras to promote their cause. For the very first time, I understood what running for a cause meant. It is one thing to have a passion, a gift or a talent; it is another thing to use it to help someone else. It all made sense to me in one blinding duh second somewhere in those four hours.
I stayed till the 12-min/mile runners came along, most of them walking by this stage. This is where I would have fit, I thought (or maybe farther back if it was a 26-mile haul). I identified with every pained look and every spark of anticipation in their eyes as the last mile opened up around the corner.
Pain, pleasure and perseverance. Perfect!
P.S.: Thanks A&A for hosting me so last-minute!