However, it may have been 28ish miles, as a few people have tweeted/fed back our GPS readings of the night ranging between 27 miles and 29 miles! One tweet suggested it had been comfirmed by CRUK ? will await further news.
But whatever the distance, whether some did the half marathon, full marathon, or didn't complete it, we showed a united desire to raise awareness and funds to help further research, enhance treatment and comfort for cancer sufferers and their families.
The event itself was very well organised with some fantastic Volunteers (people in orange t-shirts) and medics who made the evening fun, safe enjoyable and memorable. It was the first time it had been held in the O2 arena. It had to be held somewhere big to accomodate over a ten thousand participants!
I was also impressed with the amount of food and drinks there were available at the pitstops. Yes, there were also portaloos, with long queues, but to be honest no event can get that part right!
It is only when the walkers are truly thinned out that you can go to a loo without a queue. Luckily I had got my hydration right so my body cells were awash, and not my bladder. I sipped water from 8.30pm as we started the event.
Ah, now, about that whole start thing. Really not my thing to do the enmasse aerobics thing, but I got into the groove with a smile. Seemed a shame and waste to warm my body ready for action only to be be trapped within the O2 as we were slowly, oh so slowly, syphoned through a narrow tunnel to slowly be drip fed over the start..stop..start..stop...START line! CRUK need to brainstorm the whole START thing! (But it's constructive critism to help them out)
The "Finish" experience was fun though. I arrived to a sparkly tunnel in the arena, from around the long..tedious perimeter mile of the O2 as dawn was breaking. There were some to-die for images of the Thames Barrier and Canary Wharf lit up in it's finest sparkly night lights against the back drop of a most beautiful sunrise. Breath taking! As I got close to the Finish Line I was grabbed by the commentator who asked how did I find the walk and event? "QUACKTASTIC" said I, of course!
I was keen to find my Trek bar to munch on as I was now quite hungry and craving the wrong carbs of bacon butties and chips.
London seemed to be partying outdoors all night, possibly due to the unanturally warm weather. This provided an awful ot of entertainment. Drunk tux wearers, staggering high heeled girls in some flambouyant cocktail dresses, tall man carrying a naked inflatable doll with Katy Price written on her bottom. I was also asked to pose for a few photos, with donations duly given as a means of thanks. Who says Ducks can't get propositioned or solicitored for financial gain ..keeping this clean, people!!!
I have enjoyed reading through the twitter tag lines for #shine and #shine2011.It has been fun and also quite emotional to read peoples experiences. Through this I have also made a few more twitter friends. I stood out a bit so a lot of people came to find me to say Hi, or said Hi then followed it up on Twitter. I also had an unexpected donation from one of the cycling Marshalls for my efforts. Thankyou!
For me, doing Shine, is part of a journey. I can now walk long distance. But a lot of people can't. I have enjoyed helping a group of friends with their training and motivationg. I felt rather awful that our group broke up. Par for the course of a large number of people, of mixed ability, doing an endurance event, I guess. It is only after the event that I realised the enormity of taking part in #Shine. I have been part of a large group of people, almost Family, who want to raise funds for Cancer Research. This is a bigger story than I can write. It's part of a personal journey too, to overcome weight issues, get my body fit, to hopefully reduce my risks of cancer and other illnesses. I can now do these endurance events.. so it fulfills my need to want to do more for charity, something I am very passionate about. I can use my strength to help others.
Having just read the blog of Sarah, I feel even worse that not only was I not there to help when she was very ill, but that I didn't wait the extra hour and a half to see her over the finish line. I can't put back time but I can learn from that. I didn't have to soldier on, but I helped some one else over the finish line. Just not the whole team.. although I was there to cheer them through. Remember the rules of the 3 Muskateers!
The other part of the journey is my learning how to plan for not just one endurance event but several in quick succession..as indeed I will need that experience when I do the Forces march in May 2012 - that is 5 marathons in 5 consecutive days. I had to get the hydration and carbing up right for the Shine weekend, taper off to conserve energy for the event, then rehydrate and refuel after the event. plus let the body rest and recover. Most would give themselves a week or sob. But I have to get back in to training on tuesday for the Perkins Great Eastern Run (Peterborough) half marathon nest Sunday, 9th October! No peace for wicked Ducks!
I have already blogged my training notes, so I shan't dull your senses further.
I am keen to stay positive for this event and encourage all of you to take part next year. It is a worthy cause as well as very challenging event. It is a big ask for the body to not only walk the long distance on a hard tarmac/concrete ground but also thorugh the night. Do not underestimate the impact it will have on you during the event and the few days after. You realy do need to train for long distance walking, and get your carb and hydration right. That is something to practise, too. Not just all brawn but brain too!
Guess my three critisms of the evening was the route itself was quite dull, poorly marshalled and the health & safety issue of bottle necking out of the arena and the first major junction/roundabout (Blackwall Tunnel Approach)
The route- overlapping the extrememly tedious start and return journey! Then the section out to Green Park. Poor mileage marking also meant that not only was the route 28 miles but between mile 12 & 13 (Green park end) it was more like 2 miles or more!
The Marshalls (employed?) by G4, of whom only 2% actively helped us. The other 98 % just stood there, not really taking notice of us, or actually marshalling. There are issues or concerns that they even sent a large group of people off in the wrong direction around the Buckingham Palace stage (mile 14). Very demoralising and annoying.
Plus as mentioned, the mass bottle necking to get everyone out of the O2 and at the large junction after a mile or so. Over an hour to do 2 miles. Plus the danger aspect. A healthy safety issue.
I could go on writing but I have just tried to give you a taste of my experience. Why not try it yourself? Go on, set yourself the challenge of doing Shine next year! I shall be as a tribute to all of those who have kicked cancer, and as a memorial to those who sadly haven't.
Some more blogs to read of other peoples journey and experience -
Rich of Reikan.co.uk (Photography)
Register your interest for 2012 and be a part of a fantatic journey from training to finishing at the O2 as dawn breaks! Watch out for the promotion video - there may be a Duck in there ;0)
You can still donate by text to 70070 DUCK51 £5
FULL MARATHON Full marathon uses the same route as the half marathon for the first six miles and last six miles of the 26.2 mile route.
START O2 Arena
PIT STOP 1 & 6 University of Greenwich - Used as the first and last pitstop for both the full and half marathon.
PIT STOP 2 & 5 City Hall - Used as the second pitstop for the full marathon and the turn-around point for the half marathon participants.
PIT STOP 3 Westminster Abbey - Used as the third pitstop for full marathon participants only.
PIT STOP 4 St Bartholomew's Hospital - Used as the forth pitstop for the full marathon participants.
FINISH O2 Arena
Naturally we called ourselves #twittershineteam - @rawker28, @theramblingduck, @MsSmythe, @surzy, @philkemp75, @mrfraig, @crukwalton
(missing from picture is @thornykate1)