A typical race day running with a charity
Completing the Virgin Money London Marathon is a physically demanding challenge, and it is in charities’ interests to provide its runners with as much support as possible - after all they want you to be successful and finish the race. So what can you expect on race day itself?
Obviously all the charities are different in size and the support they’re able to offer on the day in question varies, but we can still give you an idea of the type of things to expect while you embark on your 26.2-mile challenge when you run as a ballot place runner.
Before the race
If it’s raining or it’s cold, it is possible that the charity will provide you with some protective clothing such as caps or waterproof poncho-type covers to keep you dry – and don’t forget you’ll also have your charity running vest or t-shirt – hopefully with your name printed on it for an extra boost.
It’s worth remembering that the charity is not responsible for your other clothing or kit bag. This will instead be taken care of by the race organisers, who will ensure your belongings are at the finish line ready for you when you get there.
During the race
Your charity, depending on its size, will have plenty of cheering points where their bands of supporters will get you moving with their shouts of encouragement should you start flagging. The cheering points are real motivation boosters, and they’ll reserve extra special encouragement for when the spot one of their own-shirted runners.
Some charities will also offer help to friends and family who come to watch you on the day. They can give tips like finding the best place to watch the race from, and provide them with clothing, flags, balloons – anything that helps promote the charity and spurs on their runners.
When you run for a charity, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people running for the same reason. There’s always a great sense of camaraderie among the charity runners, and you receive plenty of support from the side lines too.
That exhilarating moment of crossing the finish line will leave you buzzing, but eventually you’ll have to turn to practical things such as locating your family and your clothing. Many of the charities organise a reception, close to the finish line, to which runners, their families and friends are invited.
The charities’ post-race receptions will cater for all your needs after completing the race, and this is one of the best ways to end your race experience. You can often enjoy massages, showers, and hot food, and get the chance to unwind, rest aching limbs, and reflect on the day with your fellow teammates – a perfect end to a fantastic day.
Please note the support available to you will vary from charity to charity, and some will have more ballot place runners than others. But one thing is guaranteed - whichever charity you choose to support, they’ll be really pleased that you supported them as much as they supported you.