A good 17,000 Justgiving fundraisers braved the heat yesterday to run the 2009 London Marathon – and what a moving sight you all were. If we didn’t shout out your name and our best encouragement from near the Cutty Sark, and later at the mile 25 mark, rest assured that we were rooting for you and in complete awe of your spirit and determination.
Now for some fantastic news. The London Marathon community on Justgiving has, so far, raised a record-breaking £22.4 million for UK charities. And there’s still 3 months of fundraising to go – Justgiving pages stay open for a full 3 months after the event…
Our very own Mike, from the Justgiving helpdesk, finished the marathon in 5:38:36 so a big congratulations to him. Like Mike, we hope you’re resting today and enjoying the post-marathon glow (or should that be ‘daze’?)
We’ve taken some good photos of the race, including some fantastic marathon costumes, and if you fancy the chance to win a £25 donation prize, we’re running a best-dressed runner competition. To enter, just email a photo of you in your marathon costume to email@example.com
Talking of costumes, Becki Ellsmore (bekibutton on Twitter) ran in a great rhino horn hat… She came into JG Towers to see us today, for a post-marathon chat, and we grabbed the chance to have a quick interview with her, about how it feels to run those 26.2 miles, how her fundraising will help Save the Rhino and what on earth she’s going to do next…
So Beki, talk us through your day yesterday… how nervous were you?
I managed to reach a state of Zen-like calm (possibly thanks to the powerful painkillers!). I think I was more in a state of expectation than actually having bad nerves, I just wanted to get going!
Did you meet anyone at the start or along the way?
I met up with some fellow rhino runners at the start – including Stephanie, Neil and Christine, and bumped into @thebeccaboop from Twitter at about 22 miles. It’s crazy to meet up with people you’ve met online, when the chances of seeing them are 35,000-1!
How does it feel to be part of that enormous crowd of runners, as you set off?
It was amazing to see all of the runners spread out in front of me, so many people! It was great to think that all of us had the same goal and would help each other through.
How did you deal with the heat?
Not very well to be honest. As most of the training is done during the winter it’s hard to train in warm conditions, and I don’t deal with heat very well even when I’m not running a marathon! I had a dry mouth but was not actually thirsty so it was difficult to get the balance of water right.
What were the hardest parts?
I always knew the 13-22 mile section would be the hardest, as you’re running away from the finish on a big round loop. The heat really started to affect me at around mile 16-17 and I was forced to walk. Once you’re back out past 22 miles and heading towards the finish the miles seem to fly by!
What helped keep you going along the way?
The supporters were amazing! I know everyone says so and it’s almost a cliché but the amount of times I heard my name being cheered, or someone yelling ‘Go Rhino Head!’ (‘Er, thanks’) really helped get me through. And of course seeing the lovely Justgiving crew along the course was really good too
How was it running in costume?
It was interesting to run in a rhino hat, it got so much attention! Most people recognised it as a rhino horn although a few did mistake it for an elephant (easy mistake to make), a unicorn (err…) and even a shark! (?!?!). I had a rhino ‘tail’ on my bottom too – if there are going to be lots of people looking at my bottom why not give them something to look at!? Weirdly the hat wasn’t making me overheat, as taking it off temporarily didn’t really make much difference.
Did you tweet at all, along the way?
I was thinking of tweeting from my mobile phone but having had experience of the phone networks on marathon day made me think the tweets probably wouldn’t get through. Plus it’s hard to text when you’re running!
Who was waiting for you at the end?
The amazing Save The Rhino guys were waiting for me and dragged me off to their picnic blanket and gave me food! I’ve been talking to lots of them online so it was great to meet them in real life and swap stories.
What time did you take to complete the course?
I took 6:28:32 which is at least less than 6.5 hours. I was hoping for more like 5.5 hours but the heat was just too much.
Do you know how the money you’ve raised is going to be used by Save the Rhino?
It will probably be used for translocations, community education, other community projects, ranger training, radio tracking equipment or something similar. I’m not sure if they have particular projects in mind for our marathon funds.
Will you keep in touch with the charity?
Definitely! They’ve been great, really helpful and supportive. In fact, I’m thinking of making this my Year of the Rhino (I like to have a project on the go!) and fundraising for the rest of the year.
Would you run the marathon again?
As I’ve already run it before, I’m highly unlikely to do it for a third time. I will probably keep up the running though, but stick to half marathon distance as that’s manageable and less likely to break me!
Would you recommend the experience?
Definitely! If you’re sensible, it’s an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience that will give you a glow of satisfaction whenever you think about it – something to tell the grandkids! You can of course be one of those mental people who do it more than once though
Are you going to keep actively fundraising while your Justgiving page is open, for the next 3 months?
Yes. I set myself a high target so I need to keep fundraising at least until the end of May (the deadline). Once my London Marathon page expires I will set up a long-term page that’s not fixed to an event to enable people to donate online even though the marathon has passed.
What’s been good (or bad) about using Justgiving?
It makes the sponsorship side of fundraising so much easier. Instead of wandering around with a sponsorship form and having to nag people to give their money, they do it online, it’s quick, easy and probably more secure than having your address (and sponsorship amount!) on a form for everyone to see!
About half of my donations have come from people I’ve met online (especially on Twitter), and being able to link to a fundraising page from my blog has proved lucrative too. I had a donation from someone whose picture I’d linked to from my marathon poem and I hadn’t even told them I’d linked to it! It’s donations like that that restore my faith in the human race
Justgiving is a very well known brand/site, it’s easy to use (for both fundraiser and donor), and when your customers ask for improvements to the site (such as being able to use PayPal to donate), you listen and implement them. I love a company that listens to its customers!
Any message you’d like to give to other marathon runners today?
I hope you can all still walk and you don’t ache too much. Try to keep moving (although you might want to go down stairs backwards, it’s less painful). Treat yourself to your favourite food (mine is Lemon Puff biscuits) – you’ve earned it!
Thanks Becki – great to know your experiences and lovely to see you in the office today – a real post-marathon treat
You can now grab a Justgiving URL for next year’s marathon by making a page at londonmarathon.justgiving.com