On cold afternoon in February 2021, 8 February to be exact, the Virgin Money London Marathon began the email notification process for ballot selections. Many lucky applicants received fantastic congratulatory news of their entry selection to run the 41st London Marathon later in the fall. Unlike previous years where hopeful marathon applicants would receive a magazine in the mail, this year hopeful runners had to click a link in order to receive a notification if selected or not.
I was mid-run on the treadmill when I opened the email that read “You’re in!” I screamed with excitement, as this was my fourth attempt at trying to obtain a bib number for the London Marathon. Several Stroller Warriors® members from SW Lakenheath also applied for bib numbers for London Marathon. I instantly sent a message to Christina, Staci and Sarah to find out if they were selected. After a few hours of waiting on results, it was looking as if only Sarah would be joining me. I was thrilled that a SW friend and I both received numbers, yet disappointed that all four of us did not obtain the same news. Staci and Christina both applied to run for charity. After some wait time, they were both accepted to run for the Children with Cancer, UK marathon teams! The four of us were training for and running the London Marathon! This was our second marathon all together, with the Athens Marathon 2 years priors. Even more exciting—, Andrea, also a member of SW Lakenheath, would be training with us as she geared up for the Manchester Marathon the week after the London Marathon!
It was time to hit the ground running with training and fundraising! Getting together for training was hard. In true military fashion, there were many bumps and scheduling conflicts-- a deployed spouse, TDY’s, etc; however, we always tried to have a long-run partner each week. We ran with members of Stroller Warriors Lakenheath ran during the week and it was lovely to have the company and support of fellow Stroller Warrior members. The weeks quickly flew by, and we finally made it to the end after about 16 weeks of training. Additionally, through posting on social media outlets and sharing our fundraising efforts with family and friends, we were able to raise over £2000 for Children with Cancer, UK!
Race weekend had finally arrived. The Saturday before the race we all took the train to London from Lakenheath to pick up our bibs, relax and run a Sunday morning victory lap! The weather was nice—with some rain mid-day during the run. The day of the race, the course was lined up the whole way with crowds of spectators cheering for us! Such an amazing experience! Never have I cried at a race until this day! Prior to this race, I had completed 4 marathons and was always happy to finish. But this race was different. At around mile 8 of the London Marathon, I was overcome with joy and could not hold back the tears of happiness. So much time lost from the previous year during the hard lockdowns in the U.K. that it just felt so surreal to be running with so many people— as if life was as it should be! This marathon experience was one for the memory books!
London was truly amazing, if you get a chance do it!
Emily L. left home of the Bay Area at 19 to join the Air Force. After finishing a 6 year enlistment, she is now a military wife of almost 15 years. She has two girls ages 6 and 3. When not running, Emily enjoys travel, coffee and wine! Emily began running distance almost 10 years ago after getting out of the Air Force. Her favorite race distance is the half-marathon. She has completed 6 full marathons and 25 live/in person half marathons! This year she has set a goal of completing a half marathon every month! She is mid-streak of 10,000+ steps a day and 1 dedicated mile a day run or walk for over 565 days now! Emily is plans to get into the Chicago or New York marathon in 2022.