Fears, tears and cheers: my London Marathon for Marie Curie

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who ran the Virgin Money London Marathon for Marie Curie on Sunday 13 April.  More than 240 runners took part for us – the biggest Daffodil Team since 2006. Participants have banked more than £143,000 so far, and funds are still coming in. We’ve saved the best photos of our brilliant runners to our Pinterest board below.

Follow Marie Curie Cancer Care's board Virgin London Marathon 2014 on Pinterest.

If you’re looking ahead to next year already, then the public ballot for the London Marathon 2015 opens on 22 April. You can increase your chances of running by applying for a Marie Curie gold bond place.

Supporter Camila Fernandez has been blogging for us about training for the marathon, and we’re delighted that she completed the course, raising more than £5,500 for Marie Curie. Thanks Camila!

Camila nails resized
Camila's marathon-themed nails

“After months of training, marathon day finally arrived. Full of nerves and anticipation, I was restless all night and I woke naturally at 5.45am. I followed the same routine I had during my training; I ate the same food and put on my race day outfit (a Run Dem Crew top with my name and Marie Curie logo on it).

"The city was eerily quiet as I left the house at 7.45am. It was a beautiful, sunny day and as I boarded the bus I flashed my bib number and smugly boarded for free.

Excitable runners

“During my journey to the race start, the trains became full of excitable runners and as we walked through Greenwich Park towards the start line I felt myself well up at the enormity of what we were all about to do. There were so many charity T-shirts with people raising money for so many amazing causes that I felt humbled to be in a starting pen with them all.

“I dropped my bag off and felt suddenly calm. Usually at the beginning of a race I start with friends from Run Dem Crew and we are full of nervous energy but today was different.

“I headed towards my starting pen, found a warm spot in the sun and waited patiently for the race to start. I felt no concern of going for a personal best. I knew I had already raised over £5,500 and I just needed to complete this race in my own time.

A sudden hitch

“After the starting gun had sounded it took at least 10 minutes to get to the starting line. There were crowds of people cheering from the pavements or hanging out of windows of their homes. I planned to have my family at mile nine; close friends at mile 11 and then Run Dem Crew had a massive cheer point at mile 21.

“I kept my pace slow and steady. I thought it was all going well, but at around mile six my left ankle went over on a water bottle. I’d always heard of people injuring themselves on race day but that had never been me.

"Stunned, I stopped and clutched my ankle. I did not want to be shot down so early in the race. Then a guy who was handing out bottles spotted my Marie Curie logo on my top and called out ‘Come on daffodil, you can do it!’

“I hobbled and limped for the next half mile and then shook it out, no real damage done. Then, as if on cue, my hips starting killing me. I sometimes have problems with my knees but never my hips. Amazingly, my lower back and knees, my usual weak points, gave me no grief for the entire run.

Feeling Dad’s presence

“I’m not a religious person but I definitely felt my dad’s presence and memory with me during the race. I passed a pub called the Spanish Galleon and seconds later passed two supporters holding up a scarf emblazoned with the word Asturias (my dad’s family are from Asturias in Spain).

"I then passed a brass band playing Moondance by Van Morrison, which was one of his favourites. I felt waves of emotion wash over me and kept me focusing on why I was running this race.

Crossing the line

Run Dem Crew scattered confetti over Camila
Run Dem Crew scattered confetti over Camila

“The pain I felt in my hips intensified as the miles clocked up. Brief relief came when I saw a familiar face, family or friend. When I got to mile 21 I temporarily forgot everything when Run Dem Crew roared and let loose a cannon of confetti over me as I passed them.

"The support they have given me not just on race day but especially with the situation with my dad has been incredible. Some even ran the next few miles with me at a point when I really needed it. I lost a toenail, I cramped up, I cried, but I finished it!

Camila with her well-deserved medal
Camila with her well-deserved medal

“After finishing the race I had planned to meet my family at a meeting point but the crowds were impossible to penetrate and my legs started to seize up.

"Like a ray of hope I spotted a couple of Marie Curie workers in bright yellow hats. I honed in on them and they gladly took me to a nearby hotel where they were offering food, showers and massages. At that point in time there was nothing more blissful as this. I was able to charge my dying phone and direct my family to the hotel where we all recharged and recapped on my journey for the past several hours.

“I am so thankful to Marie Curie for looking after me that day, for looking after my dad when he was dying, for letting me run for them and I just hope that what I’ve raised manages to make a difference. The marathon has completely taken it out of me but I’m starting to forget the pain and thinking about when I will do it all again!”