Martin Dent of Australia crosses the finish line in the Men's Marathon at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Martin Dent of Australia crosses the finish line in the Men's Marathon at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Photo: Getty Images

It took Martin Dent more than a decade to reach his Olympic dream and when he finally crossed the line in the marathon he was ''shattered'' and ''my eyes were rolling in the back of my head''.

On the perfect stage for a veteran to make his Olympic debut, Dent ran past some of England's iconic landmarks on his way to finishing 28th in one of the marquee events of the Games.

Dent's London experience wasn't about winning a medal or chasing a world record.

It was about proving that he belonged on the Olympic stage after his previous attempts fell cruelly short.

''It feels amazing to say I'm an Olympian,'' Dent said.

''It was bloody tough, but it's awesome to join that club and there forever now.

''I ran as hard as I could, I'm shattered now … I remember my first marathon where I couldn't stand up but I got through this one OK.''

Dent officially finished more than eight minutes behind winner Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.

His time of 2 hours 16 minutes and 29 seconds was four minutes outside his personal best.

But he surged in the final stages of the race to make up 16 places in the last 12 kilometres to ensure he will leave London with good memories. Making the event more spectacular was the route it took.

Dent ran by Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London eye, the river Thames, the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament and Horse Guards Parade.

Dent has seen it all before so he wasn't a ''tourist'' taking in the sights on his trip.

And spotting his parents, wife Kathie and their three sons and cousins in the crowd helped him find some extra juice in the dying stages of the race.

''There were a few ''Go Marty'' signs which was pretty cool,'' Dent said.

''The first lap was a bit of an adventure but by the last lap with a kilometre to go my eyes were rolling in the back of my head because I was smashing myself to get to the line.

''I got through OK, my head was on the fence [when I finished] and I thought I was going to throw up, but I managed to keep it together.''

But even at 33 years old, Dent is not ready to hang up his running shoes.

He did not ruling out having a second crack at an Olympics in 2016.