Thomas - my Airbnb host - didn't get home till around 9.30am. We had a quick catch up before he had to log in to do some online teaching. I left around 10.15am.
I walked to the spot Neil and I had agreed on so that I could give him 2 bottles of energy drink as he passed. It was around the 15 mile mark. After I had given Neil his drinks I moved position to The Peace Bridge which was at the 20 mile mark and waited to see him pass by there.
Then to the finishing straight so I could see him come in. Spotted him and immediately realised things were not going well. He was struggling. Face grimacing with pain. But he was still running. In the zone. Went over the finish line in 3hrs 19mins. His fastest marathon time. The guy on the tannoy said he was in 70th place (out of around 1,000 runners) So proud of him.
I made my way to the finishers pen where I gave Neil a dry T shirt and another energy drink. He was in a bad way with cramp. Very painful. Said it had been troubling him for a few miles but he just kept on going.
Then we went back to the Peace Bridge to wait for Rachael. When she arrived Neil joined her and ran another 6 miles beside her. He said he was OK by then and was better off moving than standing still. So he ran 32 miles today instead of 26!
I went back to the finish to wait for them to come through. Met up with Rachaels Mam and Dad and we waited together. Rachael finished in a time of 5hrs 22 mins. She was in 760th position. A good effort considering this was her first marathon and the furthest she had ever run before was 18 miles.
By this time lots of Rachaels cousins plus assorted children and husbands had arrived. Also Rachaels Auntie Dervla who had also been running and finished just behind Rachael. After a lot of congratulations, socialising and photo taking I went with Neil, Rachael, and her parents to Limavady where they live. It's about 16 miles away. Neil and Rachael both had a nice long bath and then we had food. BBQ food cooked outdoors but eaten indoors. It was too cold and windy to eat outside.
An old school friend of Rachaels arrived with her husband and mother so there was a lot of catching up going on.
As everyone had been drinking (except me) there was no one to take me back to Derry. So a taxi was called. This had been the plan all along as it was the only way to get back. No public transport on Sunday. Taxi fare was £22 so not bad.
Got back around 9.30pm. A long day with a lot of standing about. Weather was changeable.... sometimes very warm and sunny, then rainy - with a very strong wind all the time. I really had a good time. Great atmosphere in Derry. So many people supporting the runners. Even The Bogside turned out in force and Neil said the atmosphere over there was great.
So we are back home to Newcastle tomorrow afternoon. A short visit to Derry but a good one
Main photo Neil and Rachael. Extras - The Peace Bridge and Neil and Rachel celebrating. Rachael, Neil and Dervla. Me and Neil.
Steps today 7,987