So here we go again. It's like a well-oiled machine really now - prepare everything the night before, early to bed, up at 4:30am, Alan the taxi driver picks us up at 5:30am and we arrive in Blackheath around 6:45. Into the Greek cafe for coffee and a chocolate croissant then get a newspaper before heading off to another coffee shop further up the road. Have another coffee and read the paper until 8am when I need to head off to the Green start to register with Guinness World Records.
The giant motorbike balloon was there again but I just snapped these few.
There didn't seem as many as usual nor were they quite as grand as in previous years - I suspect a tightening of belts perhaps in these tough economic times.
Then we have a slow walk over to the start where I nip in to register then pop back out to get into my kit.
Here's Uli Kilian who solved 100 Rubik's cubes and finished in 4:45 and got himself a Guinness World Record.
Well done Uli and apologies for practising my beginner's German on you!
Btw, don't you just love his outfit?
These men have run every single London Marathon since it began in 1981. Wow!
One of them was running for the same charity as me Alzheimer's Research UK whilst tossing a pancake!
Here I am again, bedecked with wool.
Is it just me, or does it look slightly odd to have 'Virgin' plastered across ones chest?!
The wannabe Guinness World Record holders gather.
The guy dressed as Dennis the Menace (Dave from the 100 marathon club) got his record and I think the Superman to his right did too.
By 10am I knew it was going to be too hot for me to beat my own record (1.62m) so I made the decision to just plod along with my knitting, not worrying about how long the scarf would be and just enjoy the day.
As always the crowd was amazing. Calling out, cheering, laughing, clapping. Lifting the spirits of those who wanted to curl up at the side of the road and sob.
All those runners on their own personal journey; some doing it for a charity, some for themselves but each with their own story to tell. It is the most amazing marathon and I love everything about it.
I saw loads of people I knew and chatted to many who I didn't know. Many people said they'd heard me on the radio or seen me on The One Show and had wanted to catch up with me which was nice. The knitting gives the crowd a good laugh but as many runners as spectators commented about it this year - the runners were so kind and generous with their praise as they appreciate just what an effort it takes to just run a marathon, never mind knitting at the same time.
Here I am at around mile 14, snapped by supporters from ARUK.I nearly missed them as I'd been looking at the wrong side of the road and watching for a mass of purple tee shirts, having forgotten that the new re-branded tee shirts are white! Thankfully I heard them screaming my name and managed to wave in time.
I passed Tony, dressed as Tinkerbell and dribbling a football, at around mile 17 and I told him I didn't think I'd beat my record and I was also worried that he wouldn't get round within his time limit although I didn't say that to him.
Sadly I found out later that he missed his 6 hour cut-off by 1 minute 23 seconds and he was gutted. Not surprising after having survived 26.2 miles amidst a crowd of 36,000+ runners. He took a tumble quite early on and spent 5 minutes being patched up by the St John's Ambulance crew and this cost him his GWR. At least it's made him determined to come back next year and try again.
As the heat intensified it was really just a case of digging in and plodding on but sweaty hands and wool don't really work well together and I knew the scarf wouldn't be longer than my current record so at mile 24 I decided to up my pace and stop knitting to get in under 6 hours - I came home in 5:56:02 so couldn't have got much closer!
It was not a surprise when the guy from GWR said it was 1.52m and so was 10 cm shorter than my record.
Never mind, I've got 2 Guinness World Records already and it was another great day, garnering lots of publicity for Alzheimer's Research.
That was my 22nd marathon - who'd have thought I'd ever manage it!