I hate running. I do it because it keeps me fit but it's a painful, boring chore to say the least. When I'm out running - which isn't often - I see all the serious runners with their weirdly shaped water bottles, arm bands for iPods and other gadgetry and fancy running shoes zipping past me in training for some cross-continent, blister inducing charity run. So it was odd for me, and a bunch of friends, to be found cheering on all the runners at the London Marathon a few weekends back.
The reason for us being there other than celebrity spotting and hoping for some free Lucozade was to support Gemma who was running her first London marathon and all in support of Age UK. The weather on the day was probably better for us spectators than the runners seeing as it was glorious sunshine but at least that encouraged plenty of people to turn out and cheer on all the runners. I found shouting out the runners' names as they went past quite addictive - most had them somewhere on their vests - and I had a sore throat the next day to prove it.
Our first viewing spot was in Limehouse somewhere around mile eleven and involved a trip on the always exciting East London Line as well as the DLR. Everyone looked well into their stride and still smiling and some even thanking us as we clapped and cheered them on. I remembered to bring the camera and took a few shots hoping for something artistic but probably just more out of focus rubbish.
Sadly we didn't catch Gemma dashing by but we did spot Agyness Deyn, Will Young, Jack Tweed, Sophie Raworth, various Marvel characters and quite a few in giant Rhino costumes which cheered us up. After an hour or so we made our way on to our next location, still in Limehouse, but now at the twenty-one mile point. By now everyone was looking pretty exhausted, the smiles had gone and it looked like the marathon was living up to its reputation as being the toughest of all running events. We continued to cheer and hand out Jelly-Babies to those in need of a sugary boost, the contents of our reasonably sized pack disappearing in about ten seconds!
After about fifteen minutes we caught sight of Gemma, still looking fresh and very much set for the finish line now. With our loyal support duties complete it was time to head off to the pub to meet up with all the finishers, friends and family and enjoy a few well-earned beers followed by dinner in the burger paradise that is Byron in Soho. A thoroughly enjoyable day but I still hate running.
Photos from the day are now up on Flickr. Sadly I didn't manage to 'pap' any 'slebs' but the trusty old Pentax got some good shots of everything else.