“Never again!” A (lying) marathoner’s mantra (LDN)

Sunday April 28: London Marathon 2019. NP LDN takes its spot at Mile 23. 40,000 runners go by. “Never again!” they say. Most of them are liars – I can relate.

I do the first one after turning down an end-of-uni Asia adventure to spend the summer with family. I have some pent-up energy, so I decide to run a marathon. Toronto 2012. My “BQ’d-ten-years-ago” parents decide to do it too. It takes one run to know they’re faster than me. At km 21 a guy in full hockey gear sprints by. Very Canadian. At km 35 even my dad’s “pump-up” playlist (…Bob Dylan…) can’t keep him from realizing he’s been on the road far longer than usual because he’s keeping my pace (sorry, Dad). At km 37 I go to the bathroom and decide I much prefer the outhouse to running. At km 41.8 me and my mother stop for oranges and my father loses his mind. At km 42.2 I swear I’m never doing another one.

My much-quicker-than-me parents post marathon #1

I do the second one because I’m on an awful work assignment and feel like lashing out…by signing up for a marathon. Ottawa 2014. No, I’m not great at lashing out. At km 1 it’s the hottest day of the year. At km 32 I take a popsicle from a kid dancing to Crazy Frog and I’m immediately unsure if he was giving popsicles away, or I stole a popsicle from a child. At km 41 I throw my far-too-heavy iPod shuffle at my best friend/chief cheerleader. At km 42.2 I swear I’m never doing another one.

I do the third one because I’m an idiot who succumbs to FOMO (aka, my friends made me do it). Chicago 2014. At km 2 I go over a small bridge and it feels like a mountain. At km 4 I rip off my throw-away shirt like the hulk in front of a camera person and end up with a photo where I’m fully dressed, both feet firmly on the ground (…who runs like that?!). At km 30 I see seniors on trampolines outside a retirement home and I can’t decide if it’s a hallucination. At km 42.2 I swear I’m never doing another one.

I do the fourth one because I’m a sucker for punishment (and my friend Sarah can make me do anything). Berlin 2016. At km 0, they play cheesy count-down music (for the pros…my corral won’t move for another 20 minutes) and I weep. At km 21.1 I realize I’m still in stride with my pace bunny. At km 40 I realize I can make my goal time and I cry. At km 40.1 I think about my mom tracking me from her living room (probably as exhausted as I am from mentally running with me) and I cry harder.  At km 42 I cross Brandenburg Gate, realize it’s not the finish line, and swear loudly to the runner next to me. At km 42.2 I PB and swear I’m DEFINTIELY never doing another one. 

Which brings me to last weekend: watching London Marathon 2019 with NP LDN at mile 23. We’re there before the barriers are fully in place. Waiting for our NP runners, we subsist only on extra-large coffees (thanks Joe), a few grapes (thanks George) and the energy of the crowd. Laura and Jamie’s “Fuck Yea!” sign is unofficially deemed “best sign all day!” and I ring the cowbell so hard I get blisters. We call out to runners with names on their shirts (a disproportionate number of “Dave”s) and ignore the confused looks when they don’t recognize us. Steph flies by. She’s 3 hours in and less sweaty than I am. Joon stops for a quick hug and a cheer. We swear we’re going to get an incredible picture (we owe him!), but get too excited and forget (we still owe you, Joon!) We see Rosie! Or…the back of Rosie’s shirt. Too fast for us – so close but so far (sorry, Rosie!) Tim zooms past with a smile matches his Mr. Happy shirt. And we keep cheering until the last pace bunny goes by.

Our four London marathoners, doing their thing

I’ll do the fifth one because 40,000 people (and four in particular) inspired me last Sunday. And after that …never again. Maybe.


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