London 2012 - Ravens Runners London

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London Marathons
London Marathon
22 April 2012 - the 32nd (started in 1981)

Robin McCoy - 3.00.33
Chris Meadows - 3.21.39
Andrew Chamberlain - 3.31.00
Simon Le Mare - 3.10.04
Andy Tucker - 3.01.40
Dave Butler - 2.50.27
Lee Martin - 2.44.34

I really don't want to steal anybody's thunder but well here goes ....

Firstly, on a personal note I 'did' the hill 'session' on saturday at Greenwich with the Lord's group . It was good to see the lovely Helen again . Oddly, for someone who was anti female members Helen was good for our group!. She has some balls about her.

Onto the race yesterday . I found it quite difficult to pick people out this year and a few times the runner spotted me before I spotted them!. Nevertheless , the only ones I never saw were Dave and Chris. On the outward leg the first I saw was Lee (he spotted me). I have to say how fresh and bouncy he looked . I had him running at about 2 40'ish pace (the 35K clock was not working at that time) . On the return his demeanour and stride had not changed, he appeared to be on 2 45 pace . Lee's time of 2 44 is a fantastic time, in my opinion he is only scratching the surface of what he can achieve. Lee, I spoke to you yesterday and I think after Halstead you should forget about the marathon until 2014 and concentrate on the shorter stuff.. Get these times down and take it into the marathon in 2014. Do lots of work with faster runners (where you are the slowest) and your obsessive nature will ensure you improve. Carry on running with Ravens but do your quicker work with better athletes, forget about the marathon for 2 years and I can see you breaking 2 35.

I did not see Dave but a PB at your age is an awesome achievement . A fantastic credit to your determination and an inspiration to us all.

Andy T - as per our conversation last night , with what you have been through with injuries etc to comeback and do that sort of time is a helluva a performance you must be very happy. Both times I saw you I could not believe how good (relatively speaking) you looked. A fantastic run Andy - mind over matter etc. With a good year you should break 3 next year. Good to see you in the Blackheath kit, a club you support every weekend.

Chris Meadows: Chris I did not see you . I was looking for a carrot munching yokel dressed as a canary; but I missed you as you flew by. Another PB and you called it on friday and had a lot of faith in your own ability . Its only the start though, you are fully capable (and should at your age) of breaking 3 hours . A massive step for you and keep training with us on a regular basis and do a lot of shorter , quicker races and your times will tumble - great run.

I spotted Simon on his return. Whilst I think you are nut, I admire your tenacity. You looked very hot and your time on such a day, dressed in that clobber was another awesome achievement. I hope you got the world record!. Well done Simon we look forward to having your eccentricity back with the group soon. Out of interest do you play golf?.

Andy C was spotted on his return and again looked in fine fettle. I am of the belief that Andy just wanted to run it . I am sure Andy, if you wanted to achieve more you would train harder and get the results. I thought you looked very strong when you left me. I worked out about 3 30 and you were thereabouts. Well done Andy.

Finally. Robin!. If there was someone who I wanted to have a good run it was Robin. He manages to mix his running , his job , his social and family life brilliantly. He has put so much effort in to this marathon he deserved a great time, and Robin ,despite your negative comments you had a great marathon. Yes , breaking three hours would have been great; but you have achieved your second best time ever, with no medical stories to relay after. One of the guys on our stand said' blimey he is doing well for a big guy' and that sums it up. A fantastic run and you looked good both ways, in total control, thou a little hot!. A change to an Autumn marathon may help but there are no guarantees it won't be the same - look at 2011!. Robin , you trained very hard , kept your non- running life intact and had a great marathon. Go on my Son!
All in all a great day for all the Ravens . I think a lot of you have benefited from the midweek run and the groups training structure . This year there is not a single blow up !. I had an inspiring day some runners further down the field just amaze you . Some who are near the front are equally as amazing!. Each year you see new sights; but if I had to pick a non Ravens performance of the day it has to be Nell Mcandrew, what a body what a performance!.

Well done to all of you !

Phil Hernon

My VLM race report

I really struggled to get going, and hated the first 10. Although the air temperature was cool I felt hot and bothered and used all the showers en route. I actually felt more comfortable in the 2nd half, and was convinced I had enough to get under 3. Gutted to turn at the Palace and see how far it was to go, although my final charge probably frightened the spectators.

If there is to be another go, it will be training in the sun, and running in the cool, i.e. an autumn race!

Being positive, no medical attention, other than self administered pain relief, and was on time for lunch! And fastest run in 14 years and second fastest out of 22 marathons.

The only spectating Raven's I saw were Ian, looking very comfortable in his deck chair, by the McDonalds in Canary Wharf, and Phil twice, who gave me some old skool encouragement- "Keep going, son!" Thanks to you both, great to see you.

As to the running Ravens, some excellent runs, particularly Dave and Lee. I am sure Phil will add some more on Lee's run later.

I ran past Andy T, and had him down as 3.10, so another excellent run! I also saw Simon Lemare - Simon, that jumper looked hot.

Chris- well run, but you can do better than that - you need some more of Uncle Phil's inspirational coaching!

Andy C - you are probably disappointed - try running with a club sometime - it really helps!!

That's enough rambling from me. Happy St Georges Day and see you all soon.

Robin McCoy

I committed the usual mistake of going off too quickly. It didn't feel like it at the time, it felt like a comfortable pace to go at but when I was clocking just over 7min/miles when the target was 7:30's I thought I'd soon struggle. I saw our resident golfer, who in my enthusiasm I passed just before the Cutty Sark, he then re took the lead and we were together at half way (about half PB is 1:31) and through Wapping and I didn't see him again after Westferry. But he was looking strong especially in that hot golfing attire.

I started to slow down in docklands which was where I started to struggle, but I tried to maintain the pace as best I could. In training I'd been eating Mars Bars on the long runs to try and boost energy in the later stages, I'd bought some along, but I forgot to take them out of my bag and they went on the lorry. I risked a couple of gels and I think they may have helped, although I was getting very hungry.

I tried to push on at Tower Hill, thinking 3:20 may be within sight but my legs just couldn't go any quicker. I finished in 3:21, about 11 minutes quicker than Berlin in September. I have mixed feelings about the time, pleased I went quicker, but I know it could have been quicker still. But then having read that a 30 year old woman collapsed and died on Birdcage Walk I haven't really got much to worry about.

I didn't see many familiar faces, I wasn't 100% sure where to look, Thanks Mr Morcombe for the shout at about 16.5, I also got some "GO ON HARWICH" who I think also run in black and white quarters.

Well done to all on your times. I was wondering if Mr Osborne's exploits may inspire Mr Bridgeland to enter again? Well done Robin, a superb time, I expect ever since you crossed the line you haven't stopped thinking where you lost those 34 seconds.

Happy St Georges Day to all, and Happy 30th birthday to the ZX Spectrum as informed by Google. I shall not be out today, but I shall be out for something steady tomorrow, definitely not Fartlek.

Chris Meadows

First of all - congratulations to all the runners, I am in awe of some of the times and thanks to all the support, I saw phil and ian (I think).

So, my first race of any sort for 4 years, my tenth marathon and I did more or less what I expected, maybe would have been nice to be closer to 3:20, but all in all just pleased to be back and hopefully this gives me something to build on. Given the relative lack of miles, a few niggling injuries and carrying at least half a stone more than I should be, I was reasonably happy with a pretty even paced race.

Like Robin I found it surprisingly warm out there, but wow London is bigger and better than ever, great support all the way round now. BUT BUT BUT its very, very busy on the course, much worse than I remember from previous runs. I was in the red mass start and despite being in pen 2 was totally hemmed in for the first 10 miles. I had wanted to run 7:30 pace but found it quite hard to maintain 7:50 as couldn't get through. Even at mile 14/15 it was too busy but one benefit of being my pace was being able to be very close to all the elites coming back the other way on the highway. Unbelievable.

So once I realised I was going to run at 8min mile pace I relaxed and just tried to enjoy it, which I did, even managed a 7:30 last mile so probably ran within myself which prob no bad thing. So lesson learned! Get a good for age and then come back to London.

Aim is to qualify for Boston 2013, which means 3:25 in the Autumn. See you all later in the week.

Kind Regards

Andrew Chamberlain

Having been disqualified in NY by Guinness World Records for not wearing a brightly coloured V necked jumper, I had unfinished business to deal with and I tried again. They approved the photo of my kit a couple of weeks ago.

There were supposed to be 2 others also competing in fastest marathon dressed as a golfer, but only 1 turned up and he was aiming for 3.30. So I was relieved.
I knew my major problem was going to be sweat, and so decided to run at 3.05 pace and at about half way decide if I could run faster or would have to slow.
I was moved to the Green start where the GWR tent was and they approved my kit.

At the end of the first mile I had sweat dripping off my face and knew I was going to have a hard run, and would have to drink more than planned.
I saw a few Ravens in the first 5 miles which was encouraging. Robin was running well.
At each mile I drank 1/2 bottle of water, and each 5 miles 2/3 bottle of Lucazade sport.
Was still on for 3.05 at 11 miles, but then started to slow by 5 seconds a mile. After 14 miles I slowed another 5 seconds a mile and decided something was going wrong. I then realised I was probably getting dehydrated with all of the sweat.
So at each mile I drank 3/4 of the water and all of the Lucazade sport. The Lucazade was every 5 miles and started to think of hypernatraemia, so ensured I used the energy gells.
I drank the water in about 30 seconds which was probably a bit quick and started to get a stitch after each drink.
Saw Phil, thanks for the encouragement, and then Ian a little later.
I continued to slow and had a continuous stitch for the last 5 miles due to all of the fluid I was drinking.
My last plan was to run under 3.10, but managed 3.10.04
It was confirmed that I had officially broken the record by over 1/2 hour, and am already on the Guinness World Records website.
My kids are really chuffed and I am pleased, as we have 6 Guinness Books of records in the house going back to the McWhirter twins days.
My sweat and drink planning was very bad, which let me down. I drank loads after the run and it took 6 hours after I had finished the marathon before I could manage a wee.

Now that it out of my system, I can concentrate on shorter races in proper running kit.
I aim to do a race at least every fortnight whilst I am still at home.

Well done to the other runners.
Simon Le Mare

For those that I didn't already bore stupid with last week, my predicted time was 3.05 to 3.10. Mainly down to the consistent 7 minute miling I managed it the Tunbrige Wells half/ Eastbourne half and Cranleigh 21 which I did as warm up's for London. Gave me a couple of minutes to lose over the last 5 miles as I usually dip a little toward the end.
First up, when I picked up my number on Thursday, I was disappointed to find I was in pen 1 at the red start. What I failed to realise was that it was a good for age start number. Arriving at Blackheath I was pleasantly surprised to find that the red start had a separate good for age area with only 2 pens and these were placed at the front of the main red start. Whilst awaiting the start I saw both Dave Butler and Lee who were looking nervous but excited. Did you take those paracetamol Lee?
As I lined up at the back of pen 1 the conditions were beautiful although I was concerned that it might get a bit hot. As the gun went I was over the start in about 15 seconds and was able to run at a reasonable pace from the start. There was some baulking and the usual traffic but I got into a comfortable stride pretty quickly. By 3 miles I was sweating like a catholic quire boy and was concerned that I might overheat or dehydrate. I was determined to run at what was a comfortable pace and was determined this year not to kill myself but to run comfortably for as long as possible. The first three miles were at 6.45 to 6.55 pace and by Woolwich I was able to step back to a comfortable 6.55 to 7.00 minute pace. My plan was to take shot blocks every 5 miles with water. This varied slightly over the full course but I kept taking them every 4 or 5 miles. Water I took on slightly more frequently as it felt hot in the first half. I saw a few fellow Blackheath supporters along the way and heard a lot more. I tend to stay somewhat 'in the zone' when I am marathoning so don't tend to spot too many people. I saw Robin com speeding past me - he looked strong with his girly necktie - should have been wearing a matching cravat - he's such a style guru.
It was good to see some of our regular runs as I approached Jamaica Road - the canals, Southwark Park. I kept steady al the way to the halfway point where I have traditionally felt the legs weaken. Not so this time and I felt good turning East along the main highway. Saw Phil H on the other side of the road and gave him a wave. The miles 14 to 20 are usually horrible for me but I felt great. I was waiting for the legs to say that they had had enough but they kept churning out the miles - all about 6.55 to 7.05. And the sun seemed to lessen and a fresh breeze appeared which was very welcome. I saw Ian at the 17 mile mark which is usually my low ebb so was much encouraged by seeing him. The bugger was sitting in a camp chair with his daughter (?) on his lap looking very relaxed in his sunglasses. Not sure if I wanted to high five him or slap him. Saw Andy Morecambe on the route as well.
Out along the 20 to 22 mile route back towards the Tower of London again I saw Phil H again at the elite water stops. That is some wicked haircut you got there Phil. It was at this time I started passing people at quite a speed. I thought I may have sped up but my pace was consistent about the 7 minute to 7.10 mark, the others were just slowing. Again, past some of our regular running routes which gave me a lift (and reminded me it's the 5K handicap this Thursday) and on to Tower Bridge and Lower Thames Street where I made some mental 'single digit' gestures towards some of the work icons that I know and love.
As usual, Lower Thames Street and the Embankment were noisy as hell. At this time I knew I was on for sub three but I had decided that I didn't really need to do that this year so was happy to keep the pace consistent. The number of slow runners and walkers started to become a problem by now but with a bit of dodging I was fine. Down birdcage walk I saw the clock at 2.58 and hoped Robin had finished. I sped up in the last 100 meters of the Mall to get my finishing time at 3.01.40 which I was pleased with.
The only downer (if you can call it that) was that all of the good for age bags were on the same lorry so everyone finished in similar times resulting in a nightmare of trying to reclaim our bags. Shame because the baggage organisation is usually so slick.
I can honestly say that it was the most comfortable that I have felt in a marathon and could have carried on for another 10 miles. If I had pushed it, the wheels might have fallen off or I might have broken 2.55 but I didn't want to so I can also say it was the most enjoyable London I have done. I was pleased with another consistent pace over a long distance.
Thanks again to all those supporting. It was good to see everyone else do well and Robin, you obviously do have a sub 2.59 in you, just a case of when.
I might add that I did the park run on Saturday too but kept that at a steady 20 minutes - that worked well for me so will try that again in future. I didn't feel it at all during the marathon.
Andy Tucker

Congratulations to everyone who ran yesterday; great runs by everyone and a tribute to the Ravens group mentality and support. Also, many thanks to those supporting which is as always a fantastic help.

Ideal running weather yesterday though some thought a bit warm later on. I managed to run a reasonably even paced race with 1:24 at halfway and 1:26 for the second half. Felt particularly good between Tower Bridge and Canary. Slowed a bit in the last few miles but much less than previously - grim determination I think. Delighted with a 2min PB and second place in the M55 category. Sub 2:50 target next time (if I weaken again!).

Mick - i think its over to you for the M55 category for next year. With your Marathon times you'll do brilliantly!

Lee - awesome performance!


Dave Butler

I really hurt my back on Friday night having picked my eldest son up whilst leaning down the stairs. By Saturday, I could bend over to tie my laces. Tried a 100 yard jog and because of lack of bending involved it was only uncomfortable as opposed to impossible. Relaxed into the evening by helping my wife at the Murder Mystery Evening she had organised for 57people at the local village hall (all part of my “pass” card to get the go ahead to run London on short notice).

Sunday started out cool with breeze whilst we were hanging around. The wind was also noticeable whilst running too. Nonetheless, soon warmed up after the start when the sun came out (almost too much – God only knows how Simon managed it in a sweater).

Even Good For Age now has pens at the Start and Pete’s number got me in at the back so the first mile was a real stress because I didn’t want to lose time so early on. The plan was to go out at 6:15s and try and hang on. Miles 2 and 3 have lots of down hill so whilst I was feeling fresh I made up tons of time and by 5 miles I found myself worryingly 30 seconds ahead of schedule. By then, I hooked up with a Bath AC guy who wanted the same time.

After Tower Bridge, seeing all of you supporters was really important to me and was a great lift – Thanks a bundle.

I knew that I could hold my pace to 20 miles because I raced 20 miles at faster a few weeks ago, but after that, I was into the unknown. From there onwards, every mile was a matter of digging deep and trying to keep the style free and easy. Kept up my pace til Mile 24 and then started to slow a little (but now where near as much as other years).

V happy with the final result

Well done to everyone - a good set of results all round.

Lee Martin
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