The Family Marathon is a new event that has been launched to raise money for Hope and Homes for Children. Teams of up to six people take on the marathon distance running one-mile loops. The miles can be split between you any way you like: you can all run together at the same time, and all of your miles still count so long as combined they total 26.2 miles. The event was held in East London’s Victoria Park, and is a lovely flat course. Thankfully, its pathways are well shaded too, because the temperature decided to soar to a fairly toasty 33 degrees which is not ideal for most sane runners.
Our team, Thighs of Fire, met before the 10am start, and gave ourselves good time to visit portaloos and the bag drop, but we needn’t have as there were absolutely no queues! Despite the event village bustling with runners and families, these areas were spot on.
From athletic gazelles to toddlers running around burning up all their energy before we even hit the start line, everyone of every age, size and ability was getting ready to run – even a few furry four legged family members were joining in the fun. And there were also a number of groups like ours made up of friends, colleagues and club members.
There was a lively organised warm-up, although considering the temperature, we were pretty warm already!
We had decided that for the first lap we would run together and then run the rest at our own paces. The start was very well organised with plenty of space, and we had a chuckle at the littlest runners who went sprinting off faster than an elite. We also cast an envious eye on the buggy runners who somehow seem to make it look easy while also running at a much faster pace than we can do just pushing ourselves.
At the half mile mark a water station had been placed with recyclable paper cups. Running back through to the start for the next lap there is a transition area for those who want to take a rest, visit the loo or swap with another runner. This was so easy to navigate, with another water station and two lovely volunteers who could check on the system to see how many laps your team had accomplished so far. At the end of the first lap we were already on five miles: result!
We came to the final lap and after a flurry of calls to each other we all met up to do the last section together. This one we took easy saving our energy for the finish sprint which is the unwritten rule in the running book. Thankfully there were plenty of photographers on the course so we managed to have some decent pictures to show off after.
The finish was also well organised. Volunteers were waiting with water and our medals then directed us to tables where we were given our goody bags and could choose the size t-shirt we wanted – there were even teeny weeny t-shirts for the littlest athletes.
The goody bag was eco friendly and healthy too with a banana, biscuits and dip pot plus an Innocent juice. And I even got a free G&T in the event village!
Since my last marathon was a bit of a drama it really was fantastic to be able to attend an event that absolutely lived up to its claim of being inclusive. Wheelchair participants were encouraged, young babies were supported with great baby change facilities and the fact that race cut off was five and a half hours after the start meant that there was ample time for all teams to complete the distance. The support from spectators and volunteers all day in that heat was nothing short of amazing.