Ah, the London Marathon. A sight for the sore eyes of any runner. Awash with colour, London’s majestic sights of Pall Mall, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and Tower Bridge and the vast crowds lining the 26.2 miles route. But, in my experience, it is the sounds of London that have that real goosepimpling effect. writes Chris Broadbent
Three sounds in particular did it for me the first time I ran London and have continued to do so every time I have revisited the iconic event as a runner, volunteer or spectator. Firstly, it is the music. The London Marathon official theme is a classical piece known as The Trap by Ron Goodwin. Before I had ever ran London Marathon, it was not a tune that had really blipped on my radar.
But from the moment you arrive at the Expo to officially register ahead of the race and it booms from the speakers, it is a piece that resonates with you for the full weekend and beyond. Hello goosebumps! Another sound is at the start of the race on Blackheath where helicopter whirr above. It is – perhaps - a sound regular runners are only ever likely to hear at a marathon major. But it is a sound that gives you a unique sense of occasion and the confirmation that this is a big deal.
Finally, it is the unique roar of the crowd at certain points of the race that give the ordinary runner a taster of what it must be like to be an international sportsman or sportswoman. Cutty Sark and the finish line provide two such moments.
But, my personal favourite is at Tower Bridge where the crowds seem to line every piece of available concrete. The imposing Tower itself lends itself a stadium feel and – for a short while at least – you can feel like an Olympic athlete. It even gives me goosebumps just writing this!