Well, I thought I should get in first with my race report. Firstly a big thank you to Phil for cheering me along the Highway both ways. Also to Andy who I saw at around 25 miles.
Frankly I have to be pretty pleased because I have managed a PB by over 4 minutes, however I am of course gutted to come in just outside the 3 hour mark. Having seen the results my official time is 3.01.21.
I was feeling OK until about 15 miles and seemed to get around the Isle of Dogs OK but my legs began to feel very heavy and fatigued once we got through Canary Wharf. From then on in it was just a question of digging in and trying to get to the finish under 3 hours. Unfortunately, however hard I tried I just couldn't do anything about the inevitable slow down.
The plan of running 2.55 pace giving me a cushion in case I slowed very nearly worked!
I knew it would be close, however my Garmin was ahead of the game, showing a distance of over 26.4 miles. To be fair though this would not have made any difference because I just gave it my all and let the time take care of itself. I just could not go any faster and was just so relived to cross the finish line. Come the finish my heart rate was at 195!
I big well done to Stuart and Lee who put in some brilliant times. Also to Robin who I passed at around mile 2. What happened to everyone else?
Given the heat decided to run a mature (ahem) 3.10. Felt in reasonable shape until about 20 where I ran a little with Pat, who as Mick says was not happy, I presume (but hope I am wrong) was DNF. Saw Phil shortly afterwards, which was a boost, and still felt pretty good.
Wheels then proceeded to fall off the wagon. Got over the line and was having difficulty breathing or speaking, and couldn't feel hands and legs and stomach were cramping badly. Inside the medical tent was like a scene from "MASH"! Wheeled off on a hospital bed. They cut my vest off and covered me in ice packs, whilst feeding me salt and water. Core temperature had reached 42.5C (I will leave you to guess how they took the temperature!) and they took a blood test to check my salt levels. At this stage the doctors were talking about hospital, which would have severely impacted my lunch plans! Luckily temperature started dropping and after a lovely leg massage walked off to lunch, bloodied but not bowed.
Any way congrats to all RR, regardless of finish time, it was a horrible day, and in future I'll leave predictions to the experts!!
Well I have never had such compliments I gave Robin a boost and Ian was pleased to see me... well my take on it is that you have to look hard to notice our guys but:
On the way out I saw Lee looking cheerful but 50 yards behind was a very strong looking Stu Fraser. Not far after I saw Scott Rice looking good and Ian George (its tough with Ian's style to know whether he feels ok)...I saw a glimpse of Dave Millar but he was in the masses. The weather changed dramatically . It was too hot and whatever finishing times you have forget them because the heat must have drained you. When the Kenyan winners went past at 21, I have to say I gulped. Their speed was just incredible ( why dont we have a Ravens trip to Iten to suss them out!)...the leading English runner was Lemoncello but he looked rough but there was a non-elite English guy flying. I did not recognise him but Wicks had also shot his load!. Then our Ravens began to fly past (or sort of) first I noticed Lee once again carrying a bottle (Lee was it the same one you had at 13?). Lee looked tired and a quick look at the watch showed he was probably heading for sub 2 50. Just behind him looking strong was Stu Fraser with a shout, Stu clearly worked to take Lee on. Not long after but worryingly hugging the inside was Scott (missing in action still) ..Scotty looked tired but no blame attached it was hot. Next thru' was Ian George . Ian , as I say above , is difficult to know whether he is bouncing along or struggling but one thing with Ian for sure - he will not leave an ounce of effort out there... when he went past I thought he was heading for 2 55 'ish. Next through was Robin . Looking very red faced he told me, Pat and Luca were struggling ,off he went. You know with Robin he will cross the line , a steady runner he seemed to be quite content. Robin, having read your report just as well you never had the new Raven's vest on !. Next thru was an awful looking Pat. He looked grey!. Hugging the inside it was clear he was having a rough time I tried to encourage him and hoped he would finish. I am pleased he did...but Pat now is the time to take stock and forget the marathon. You just ain't for you . You are a good runner but restrict yourself to half marathon and below!. Then came the Italian - Luca. His dark good looks had developed into a drawn sullen look - he looked not very good!. All credit to you Luca for finishing, well done. Its tough when it goes wrong but you stuck it out!. The last Raven I saw was Dave Miller . He is another who was by the kerb but again his style does not tell you much. He was clearly okay as I worked out he was heading for sub 3 30 (he went past Luca in the last five) and he did it. A massive PB I think well done David. Stick with us for a year and you will get 3 15.
In all it was a fantastic day to watch but I think a tough one to run . Those doing PB's should be very happy but I think some of you need to call it a day on the marathon front. Why put your body through that pain...Great run from Stu - must have been the motivational chat I gave you Friday night!
Well Ravens, what to say, I have a strange feeling of disappointment and happiness at same time. Disappointed as passed the half way in 1:30 despite the fact that I started to feel unwell from the 10K mark. Kept running with focus till the 30K then all went wrong, nausea (dehydration!) and strong pain to my rx leg forced me to stop several time, so I just dragged myself to the finishing line in 3:34,.my worst marathon time. Happiness as today I feel well, I knew I did not put enough training into this marathon and despite my slowest time I think has been quite a learning experience for my body to go through such pain (did not suffer like this not even during the IMr Lanzarote). I was glad to see Phil at the Elite drink station then caught up with Pat, we ran together for a while then he went ahead and did not see him again. A BIG well done to all the other Ravens with or without PB, hope to see you today.
Just a brief note with a GREAT THANK YOU for your generosity, we have raised so far over £2,800 and donations are still coming through at this present moment of time.
It has been an amazing day, I have never suffered so much in a sport event, I dragged myself through the finishing line in 3 hours and 34 minute, my worst time ever. Some people said it was way too hot, I think instead that my previous week of holidays in Naples has something to so with it but the food and wine was too good to resist!
This is an extract of the race report from fellow runner Phil who was standing at the elite water station on Sunday "Then came the Italian - Luca. His dark good looks had developed into a drawn sullen look - he looked not very good!. All credit to you Luca for finishing, well done. Its tough when it goes wrong but you stuck it out!. "
My first marathon and I didn't have a clue how it would pan out. 3:15 was my optimal time and I was never not going to gun for it, a bit gung-ho but I was happy to take the risk that entailed! I was properly tapered, well carbo-loaded and hydrated over the past couple of days and I'd even caffeine depleted in preparation for .... a very strong (cold!) coffee at 8:30 in Greenwich Park .... then a tactical bowel movement, put on sun cream, drop the bag and make a urinal visit before grabbing a Lucozade bottle and getting to the front of pen 3 - yep I was taking it seriously!!
Once the horn went I started sipping Lucozade and was rarely without a bottle of it or water for the first 23 miles, just sipping little by little because I knew an en-route loo stop was incompatible with 3:15. But the big, big unexpected benefit of this sipping approach was that I was never dehydrated and didn't notice the heat at all (I was genuinely surprised at the end when people were talking about it).
The support is fantastic and a massive boost, it far outweighs the congestion issues - I saw several friends around in the first couple of miles and my family 3 times (they saw me 4 times) I had my name on my vest and got loads of name checks and the occasional chanting, plenty of hand-slapping with kids in the crowd ,plus my charity Whizz Kidz had several support points and gave a massive holler each time which was a lovely big spur. For the first 20 miles my splits were virtually all 7 twenty-something (apart from some erratic times in Woolwich/Greenwich - see below - I wonder if a couple of mile markers were wrongly placed).
My legs did start to tire in Docklands but I dug in and managed to keep the same pace going - but from Canary Wharf I was thinking "even if I hit the wall soon I'm going to finish happy, I know this is great, the support is great, but man is it crazy - I ain't doing it again!!". I knew Andy and Phil were out in support - I missed you but it was nice to know you were out there, I guess I was more focused on the tarmac; luckily the name-chanting support I did get was awesome.
From 20 miles my splits dropped to the low 7-thirties but I was doing the maths and knew they were fine. I saw my family for the third time around Temple and that lifted the spirits - but mile 25 was the toughest, the support helped me dig into get through it in 8 minutes and that gave me a sense of elation because I knew I could empty the tank for the last mile and finish strong, although I did underestimate how long 0.22 miles can be.
It was a strong finish with a nice sprint at the end - 9:12 for the last 1.22 miles was back on 7:33 pace. A guy came up to me at the end to thank me for being his pace setter since Docklands - he said he planned to take me at the end but I picked it up too much for him in the last mile :-)
After lunch, we went down to the Embankment for half-an hour and really enjoyed giving some loud support to those hardy souls running 6 hour races because that is really tough especially in the afternoon heat.
A great day and I felt really lucky that everything just seemed to click - I genuinely think I got my optimal time.
A huge big thank you to Ant & all you Ravens for the fartlek and reps sessions since I joined in Feb, until then I wasn't doing any "quality" running - I guess I'dve made up some sort of speed work but at a much poorer level - you've probably given me a nice fat 10 minutes or more.
See you next week.
Cheers ... Simon.
PS Mile splits, no Garmin, just lap watch splits based on balloon arches, I missed a few of them, so there are some averages below:
Well done to all - it was VERY warm. So many people just falling by the wayside - crowds were excellent and kept me going.
I struggled with a calf from mile 5 - bit painful but did not get worse. I was elated at the end thinking I had done 2:49:09 - but apparently the settings that I have on the watch (auto-pause) deduct any time that the satellites can't find you... thought I was running quicker at 6:23min miles - but apparently had done 2mins 12 secs in tunnels during the race. Elation to disappointment.
But, a couple of days on holiday with the kids on holiday have put it all in perspective. Will be back next year and hopefully down with Ravens in the near future.
Sorry to Stuart to appear to have dipped for the line right there at the end!
I was wearing a faulty timing chip but Mr Bedford tells me that they will study the film before issuing my official time. Luckily I started and finished next to a friend of mine, Jamie Seamark having caught him up in the closing stages.
My watch said 2.54.50, both halves in 1.27 so really pleased to run an even paced race despite the hot conditions for the last 16 or so miles. A pb by 2 minutes. Another brilliant day, roll on next year….
Ps. Thanks Phil for the support on the Highway (twice) – much needed !