At 12 miles, it was time to cross Tower Bridge. I saw Colin Jackson interviewing a runner on the bridge. (The only celebrity I saw). I began to drink like a camel, but unfortunately didn’t have a bladder like one. We were peeing in the bushes. It was like everyone had a full bladder but marked their time to see who would go first. Once a chap made a detour for the bush, any bush, it gave everyone a licence to urinate. There was no shame. If the bush was high enough the women joined. Not so for the elite runners though. We heard they just did the business down their legs. With over £100,000 at stake I don’t blame them.
If no spectators come, there is no race. The noise from the crowd is like a petrol nozzle up your engine. It fires you on. There was a slight problem though. Babawilly doesn’t translate well into English.
One woman shouted ‘come on Babawilly, prove it!’.
Next year, I will have BABAWILL on my T- shirt.
Some spectators brought sweets, water, fruits and music. Some church bands sang along the way. For slow Virgins like us, the encouragement is vital. Large noise and cheering is like an adrenaline transfusion. I have seen with my own calf muscles that with the right encouragement, Impossible is really nothing.
Like a slow train
We run and perspire
Number on our chest
Our goal the finish line
For miles on a full bladder
Each tree looks inviting
The crowds cheer our
It is the story of life
not all finish
An ocean of heads
A meandering train
First class is up front
The lesser talent at the rear
A medal awaits
Each one from each carriage
On account of the speed
This is the slow Virgin
Dr W Orhiunu
(Virgin trains operate in the UK)
I hit the wall at Mile One! By Mile 20, I had hit a planet. I was so hot; I smelt like Suya on a grill. Then the hamstrings went into cramp. Next thing the muscles began to talk to me individually. Right Peroneus longus and Brevis said ‘Babawilly, Persin wey said Peroneus no go sleep, im sef no go sleep’.
Quadriceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Latissimus Dorsi and Trapezuis, all started doing a national conference with me. Muscles I hadn’t thought about in ages.
I was glad to queue for the toilets and rest. Then there’s the friction burns. The thighs rubbing, the buttocks grating, the toes on the trainers, blisters on the heels, the nipples being sand papered by the T-shirt, the arms against the arm pits and the scrotum against the thighs. And once the skin gets raw, that salty sweat stings up the whole place. I guess that’s why we apply so much Vaseline for the moving parts and plasters over the static parts.
Running along the embankment, you know the end is nigh. My whole body became on massive lump of cramp and I had to walk to the finish line. From here on, no toilets. There are crowds everywhere, so no chance of Bush action. I just couldn’t pee on myself so I suffered. This must be the closest a man could get to labour pains. Cramped up body, six hours of Sun, full bladder and I couldn’t cross my legs. I was about ready for my Caesarean section!
All runners are happy to see Big Ben and at 26 Miles you are grateful to see Buckingham Palace. I suspect this race course has been designed to psychologically programme you into associating all good things with the British Parliament and the Royal family. Boy, was I glad to run past the Palace. When I finally went over the finish line I begged them for two medals as I felt that my efforts deserved two.
She smiled and gave me just one.
(One man, one medal. No rigging, no shaking!)