'Freddie' Completes The London Marathon For The MPT
We caught up with Stuart Jones after he ran the London Marathon dressed as ‘Freddie for a Day’. Here’s what he had to say about the whole experience:
The final few days leading up to the marathon were all a bit hectic. I managed to get hold of the Freddie costume on the Friday, just 2 days before the run, so it was out for a short jog to “check the equipment”, then after a couple minor alterations to stop it chaffing and flapping around, it was good to go (if a bit on the warm side).
I had hoped to do the trial run under the cover of darkness, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I’m sure that whenever I’m waiting for a bus, there are nowhere near as many as the number of buses that went past me that night, all of which seemed to slow down and have faces pressed against the windows staring at the sight of Freddie jogging around Bromley on a Friday night.
On the morning of the run, I got up nice and early so I had time to dye my hair, jump on a train and get to Blackheath in plenty of time to immerse myself in the atmosphere. The weather was shaping up to be a dry, hot day, great for bringing the spectators out.
One final Facebook update before the start was enough to push the donations over my target so I knew that all I had to do now was finish!
The London Marathon has always been known for the support it attracts. Dressed as such an iconic image as Freddie, I think I must’ve attracted more than my fair share of support as I ran (and walked a bit) along the course.
It was great to have other runners encouraging me too (normally as they passed me!), comments such as, “good on you”, “that looks hot!”, “great costume” and general nods of approval, you could say it was “guaranteed to raise a smile… anytime”.
The support from the crowd was at times quite overwhelming. There is clearly so much admiration and love still out there for Freddie and everything he represents.
The most frequent comment I heard was “go on Freddie”, though perhaps the most amusing was from a bewildered ‘mature marshal’ who shouted “come on Groucho” (Marx). I guess he hadn’t been a fan.
I tried to acknowledge as many of the well wishers as I could, with a raise of my hand or nod of the head. At around the 14 mile make, a large group started cheering in appreciation so I tried a “dayyy-ohhh”, but they just looked back at me, stunned, scared almost… so I didn’t try that one again!
Apart from the distance and the heat, one of the biggest challenges I faced was keeping the moustache stuck on – luckily the energy gels I was using were very sticky and worked great as impromptu glue.
Being so distinctively dressed, I was picked up by the local cameras and put on the big screen as I ran around the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf (at about 18 miles). This was also a great boost - by that time I’d gone from feeling like “Flash” to “Death on Two Legs” through to “Keep Yourself Alive”.
Running the final few miles along the Embankment, the landmarks in the distance gradually got closer and my energy levels started to return. Past Big Ben, then a final turn outside Buckingham Palace and along the final straight to the finish line (picked out by the BBC’s cameras again).
I crossed the finish line 5 hours 8 minutes and 33 seconds after I started. It may have been a bit slower than planned, but the medal looks the same.
Having managed to avoid collapsing completely after collecting my medal and post-race goody bag, I freshened up a bit, put on a spare moustache and made my way to a nearby Italian restaurant to meet my family and have a well earned lunch and my first pint in 6 weeks!
It was great to sit down once again – I can’t think why people kept looking at me (maybe I had some pasta in my moustache)??? If only the restaurant didn’t have their toilets downstairs (repeat after me, “stairs are my friend, stairs are my…”).
We then thought it would be a good opportunity to take a few final photos in Trafalgar Square, when low and behold, Liz Swanton from The Mercury Phoenix Trust managed to find us (I think the costume may have had something to do with that)!
It was a very appropriate way to end the day, bringing me back full circle to the reason for running and why I’d been given such generous encouragement all the way around.
It would be great to see dozens of Freddie’s running in aid of the Mercury Phoenix Trust next year – I’m sure that each and everyone of them would also benefit from the support for Freddie that I experienced.
If you didn’t get chance to sponsor Stuart before his run, don’t worry, there’s still time! His JustGiving web page will remain open to receive donations for the next 3 months: www.justgiving.com/stu-jones.