Hanging in there on race day

Jo's Question:

I’m running my first marathon in 3 weeks and was keen to get in last minute tips for hanging in there.

Lee's response:

Hi Jo,

Your feelings are similar to some other athletes so don't feel like you are alone.
The great news is you are almost there and you have completed the hardest part of the training. One thing I have admired at events is watching athletes of all different ages, sizes and abilities cross the finish line from 3 - 7 hrs and I marvel at their determination to conquer the marathon.
You need to go in with a positive frame of mind and say to yourself that it is very realistic that you are going to complete the race. Being positive and enjoying what you do are the major catalysts of performance (also training but we know you have done the work). When you start the marathon try to get into a good rhythm early and look around at other runners that are running a very similar pace to yourself. You will be fine for the first 15kms and the rest of the race is determined by how relaxed you are and how well you have paced yourself early. From 15 - 30km you need to focus on each of the drink stations and stay hydrated, take gels if you use them and this then sits you up for the last 12km. The last 12km will be tough as it is very nearly everyone. Your body is tired and this is where you draw on your mental strength.
The marathon is one of those events that once you cross the line there is a pouring of emotions and you do it because this is what your goal was 16 weeks earlier and you owe it to yourself after all the training and sacrificing you have made. The best part is when you have crossed the finish line, you are part of a very select group of people known as a marathoner and we are all equal.

Stay positive.