For a good while now, our life has been divided into 'before the Marathon' and 'after the Marathon'. Ram found out last September that he'd received a place via the ballot after several unsuccessful applications. We were off on holiday immediately after, so he began his proper training in November. It was quite a steep learning curve, with lots of new running gear and equipment to be purchased, not to mention all the different tablets and gels that were required for training and on the day.
Ram stayed up in London the night before the marathon, and I stayed at my parent's house in Horsham overnight, coming up child-free on the Sunday to support him. I spent weeks worrying about it, desperate to find somewhere that I could stand to catch a glimpse of him but anxious about large crowds, and potentially spending the day chasing after him only to miss him at each point. Luckily with some help from online friends I was able to put together a provisional route that I was happy with, and Ram's sister and her partner came down for the day too, which made it all a lot easier.
I began the day in Rotherhithe just before mile 9, a short walk from Canada Water station. It was quiet when I arrived and I found a spot at the front, although it soon filled up with people. I was in time to see the men's elite runners, followed soon after by the fastest runners from the mass start, including Paula Radcliffe and Jenson Button.
I knew that it would be a while before Ram made it to me, but I was still obsessively tracking him via his phone (unfortunately the official London Marathon app wasn't working for me all day!). Luckily the crowds had thinned out a bit by the time he appeared, as I was getting dizzy watching all the runners go by! It was great to see him and he seemed to be doing really well!
Then we cut across to the mile 11 point, again busy but getting quieter, and we made it to the front as other people saw their runners go by and moved away, and we were able to catch a glimpse of him. Then our plan was to head to Canary Wharf, but announcements at Canada Water were warning about large crowds and I was worried about being stuck across the river, so instead we headed to Shadwell, where the route doubles back on itself for quite a while. We just missed Ram at the halfway point, and as he headed to Canary Wharf himself I lost contact with him as his phone battery died. We realised we wouldn't see him again for a little while, so headed off to find some lunch.
It was a bit more difficult to work out where he would next, so we walked down the route from Shadwell towards Tower Hill, finding ourselves a spot around the 23 mile mark with a nice view over to the Tower of London. We were here quite a while, desperately looking out for distinctive runners that we recognised and hoping that he'd be along soon.
Fortunately we managed to spot him, although he was so absorbed in the run that he nearly missed us! I wasn't able to grab a photo of him as we were too busy yelling at him so that he saw us, but it was lovely place to stand and watch! The runners were looking pretty tired by this point but the crowd was really cheering them on, most of the runners had their names across their tops so you could cheer them individually.
Ram was looking tired too but running well, and I knew that he'd make it. We walked all the way from mile 23 to St James's Park, following the marathon route as far as we could. Many of the runners were walking at this point and the crowds had really thinned out along the barriers as people headed for the finish. We ended up having to walk round a little further than we expected, and arrived at our meeting point at almost the same time as Ram. He was looking good, and was completely buzzing. We found out later that his official time was 5hrs 30mins which he's really pleased with, and he managed to keep running throughout for all that time, amazing!
We headed straight back to my parents, stopping on the way for a quick takeaway pizza, collected the children who had been brilliantly looked after by my Mum for the day, then drove home. It was a fantastic day, albeit it tiring not just for the runner (us supporters walked over 12km during the day without much to eat or drink!) and it's a big relief to have it successfully out of the way, I feel that we can get back to normal life now! We are all very proud of him!