Sunday, October 09, 2011

The London Shine - Overnight Charity Marathon Walk in London ...

Shiners chilling before the start.
What a blast last weekend at the London Shine - London's Autumn Walking Marathon (or Half-Marathon) which started (and ended) at the O2 Arena, and in-between, snaked around Central and South-East London, with thousands of walkers raising funds for various Cancer Charities.

On their way for 26.2 miles!
I was assigned as a Lead Bike (call-sign Hotel Two if you were on the radio circuit that night!) to lead the front walkers, and then patrol to keep an eye out for any medical, traffic, or pedestrian problems, keep an eye on the stewards and report back on issues, etc.

Particularly lively bunch!
Basically I cycled around (mainly) South-East London from 11.30pm Saturday night to 10.30am Sunday morning when we escorted the very last walkers home to the O2 after 26.2 painful (for them) miles. Total distance covered by me was about 55 miles - and then I cycled 18 miles home.

Surviving Breast Cancer.
And I'd rather do that than actually walk the 26.2 miles of the Marathon, frankly. All good fun, though. These wonderful 'Shiners' totally deserved our looking after.

A moving dedication.
All the volunteers - without fail - showed brilliant enthusiasm, even in the small hours of the morning, through 'till dawn, and the finish.

Big thanks, by the way, to the girls at 'Pit Stop One' (including Heidi) who kept me supplied with water, energy drinks, and even a spare McDonalds 'coffee' (well, any port in a storm). Pit Stop Two, as well - even though they had hot chocolate - but no coffee.

For 'Rose'.
How beautiful it was to see so many 'Shiners' wear on their backs a dedication to the people they personally knew, often a family member or friend, who has or had suffered from various cancers. Very moving.

And how inspiring it was to see the tears on the faces of two women I came across, after about 23 miles, in serious discomfort, fiercely determined to limp the final few miles, regardless, because, in one woman's words:
"Pain is Temporary: Achievement is Forever"
Self, just before setting out.
I saw the dawn come up at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, with a gorgeous view of the Thames Barrier, eating chocolate on a 5 minute break at about 6.50am.

Dawn, Sunday.
And frankly, if you've never seen the dawn come up over the Thames in London, you've never really lived, have you?

[Full image gallery is here. Shiners, see if you can spot yourself!]