London 2013 - Ravens Runners London

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London Marathons
London Marathon
21 April 2013 - the 33rd (started in 1981)

Here's mine.........sorry its a bit late - i had the day off yesterday - needed it!

time: 3.03.27 pb 3.03.24 (Barca which was ridiculously easier)

I was very confident beforehand, fully prepared, good nights sleep etc and then inexcusably got on the right bus but going in the wrong direction. I cottoned on at sydenham and wasn't late but did miss the team photo (partly because the memorial seemed completely inaccessible)

This had no impact on the race. Got in the good for age start area which was very relaxed, full of familiar faces from running clubs/ parkruns etc so ideal. Also met Steve and Robin and a chap from some of the ravens 5ks (Warren) who was going for sub 2.50 - looking at the results it seems he died badly.

Anyway we got going and I was happy with my pace - around 6.40ish for 15 miles - just jogging - saw Serena in Bermondsay - she was right next to my family and saw Phil at 13ish (rather understated acknowledgement!). Got to about 16 and started to feel the onset of cramp (I've suffered from this before, usually later) but just stretched it out whilst running and seemed to be manageable. Saw Phil again at 21 and he said Simon was only 200 metres ahead and I fully expected to reel him in but was really starting to run in slow motion. I knew I had to guts it out as I had lost time - with 3/4 miles to go i needed 6.45s and it just wasn't there even on the downhill past the hung drawn and quartered.

Also saw one of our newer chaps at tunnel before embankment - sorry mate forgotten your name

At Buckingham palace Steve went past me (I don't think he noticed me) so I tracked him to the end where I saw Robin in a rather ebullient mood. I was in pretty bad shape, a little unsteady, in dire need of water and a lie down. Met my family at Horse guards parade, took a massage purely because I needed to get off my feet, felt in no condition for a pint and didn't eat until 6pm.

I'm fine now but my legs are buggered and struggling with stairs badly.


Robin is a warrior
Simon is a far better runner than we give him credit for
Me and Steve are at a very similar level
Olga, incredibly impressive (much faster than my first)
Andy H - it seems nothing beats experience
Andy M - massively unlucky with injuries
Marcus - far better race than you acknowledge


No reports for now, just a clue tor two ... Ian called it right below and there will be some disappointment tonight, however all 8 Ravens were sub-4hrs and we had we had 4 achieve sub 3:05, if not sub-3 on this occasion.
Sometimes you have to knock on the door a few times, as the first Raven home can now attest, I shall remain "coy" about naming him but he totally met his objective, in warm conditions, and should deservedly be very pleased with himself tonight.
I won't name names but another Raven should be equally pleased with herself tonight following a fantastic time!
One Raven has had severely hampered training and, in such circumstances, I think he should be proud of himself to well to finish ahead of most runners today (and only his second marathon), and has a lot of extra satisfaction from raising a fantastic amount of money for charity. More to come.
I met two peaks of a South American mountain range in the pub afterwards, both are deservedly very satisfied with their performances today which were broadly on target and set them up well for the next one!
The three of us who missed out on 3 this time will no doubt be back again to have another crack - after all you don't get anything handed on a plate ..... although funnily enough this is exactly what Phil often accuses today's Premier Raven of!
Thanks for the support Phil.
Simon Phillips - 3.01.04

Phil & and his daughter picked me up from home at 6.20 in Phil’s very smart new Range Rover. Despite the rather crowded local roads due to people coming to dump rubbish in a field (aka the Dunton Car Boot Sale), we got to Blackheath at 7. Phil had a brief and reasonably good natured altercation with a policeman, and I walked to the start. An hour later I still hadn’t found the War Memorial, but then bumped into Olga, who pointed out that I was standing next to it! Ravens arrived in dribs and drabs, with Arif clearly deciding to have a lay in. As a result 2 sets of pictures. Andy H asked me if I had thought about breathing in for the 2nd photo. Unfortunately I already had!

I was at the GFA start with Arif and Stevie G. The 30 second silence for Boston was surprisingly moving, and very well observed. More crowded at the start than previous years, but got the first mile away at 6.38. Overtook Stevie G. Stopped for a pee. Overtook Stevie G again! The last Raven I saw was Simon, who looked very relaxed and running very well.

Like most years I found it very hot, and was always just behind the pace I wanted. My plan had been to get to 20 in 2.10-2.12 and see what was left in the tank. Got to 20 in 2.14 and nothing left in the tank. Hanging on for dear life, but heartened to see Phil and Eamon Brown, both of whom seemed to use some language not in the coaching manual – but great to see you both!

At 23 realised that sub 3 was going to happen, barring a disaster, so slowed down to enjoy the day – apologies to Phil H, Andy C and Ricky for this lack of bottle. At 25 realised I had slowed down too much, and a very grim charge for line to finish, 2.59.19.

Not as fast as I wanted, but not my conditions, but I’ll take a PB at the age of 47 and 23 attempts!

Robin McCoy - 2.59.19

Well done Robin – a great result. Well done to everyone yesterday – it was tough out there, especially the second half. To everyone who just missed their goals, you did still did great times! Unlike Robin, it DID take me around 20 times to get my one sub 3, and I hit every minute between 3:06, and 3:01 before I finally did it. To get everyone in between 2:59 and 3:55 is a good testament to the strength of the Ravens, and you are close enough to that target to chip away at it. So don’t give up – use it to push on, and as Phil says, look at a few shorter distance PB’s in the meantime.

Regarding my race, I was really quite despondent after my inconsistent training (mainly due to travelling) and my very slow long runs in the build up. I know we were doing them in arctic conditions, but they were SLOW! And after them, I felt really knackered, and not able to think about going further or faster. I felt that had to translate to a slower time than I would be comfortable with, as I couldn’t see myself running faster for longer on the day. I was in pen 1 (must have been based on old times!) and was across the line in 15 seconds. However, I decided to push on and see how long I could hold a pace just ahead of what felt comfortable. That was bang on 8 min miling for the first nine or so, but then I started to slow a little and went through the half on 1:46. Nervous that everything was going to fall apart in the second half, but grateful that I had something in the bank for a goal of sub 3:45 . After 16 miles I started to feel it, and really had to dig in - I wanted to prove Phil wrong from those predictions! The last two were a grind, but the support was helpful. I felt I could get sub 3:45 if I could just keep it going. Finally the countdown on Birdcage walk – 800m to go and I looked at my watch and thought I could get 3:41 and pushed on a bit. My mind must have been befuddled as with 200 to go I could see the clock at the finish line had just clicked over 3:39, so I found a sprint from somewhere to ensure a sub 3:40. Finished in 3:39:30 on my watch. A long way from my first target of 3:15 when I started the training before Christmas, but much better than I feared, so very happy in the circumstances.

Andrew Hayward - 3.39.27

Well Ian predicted somebody would have a bad day and he was right and it was me. It was worse than bad, it was absolutely horrendous.

I met up with Stevie G on the train from Hayes and we walked from Lewisham to the red start where he left me. Once settled, I went off in search of the war memorial (aka holy grail) and finally met up with Andy M, Olga, Simon and Robin. Didn't hang around after a photo (to follow) and wandered back to the red start with Olga and was impressed with how calm and confident she was for her first marathon.
Once started, I concentrated on maintaining a steady 8 minute mile pace which was fine for the half and I clocked in at 1:46 which was more or less on target. However, I did not feel especially comfortable at any stage and the legs were really beginning to hurt. I ploughed on at 8:30 pace for a couple more miles but then the wheels well and truly came of (along with the doors, bonnet and bumpers!), and, from that point onwards, it was just a case of mind over matter, with matter winning a lot of the time. All hope of anything in the region of 3:30-3:40 disappeared and then 3:40-3:50 likewise. Andy M passed me looking good, never saw Andy H. The last 2-3 miles were pure agony, having to stop every 500 meters or so. I knew that as I looked at Big Ben a (small) PB was still possible so tried my very hardest (with Phil in my head encouraging me) and somehow stumbled over in just over 3:55, a PB by just under 2 minutes, and barged straight into Richard Branson so I punched him. That bit is not true, although he did give me a first pump - way to go Dickie! I was in a very bad way afterwards and very nearly ended up in the Red Cross tent, but managed to stagger to my charity meeting point, where they looked after me and after a shower, lunch and massage, returned to feeling a little bit normal.
I was very down afterwards about what happened. I simply do not know whether it was the heat, the lack of training miles due to the injury or the injury itself, but there was just no gas in the tank form 15 miles onwards. I never gave up however, and am proud that I made it over the line more or less in one piece.
Congratulations to all the other runners, especially Robin on hitting under 3 and Olga in her first marathon. I thought she might have been a little optimistic in her predictions before the race for herself, but she smashed it. Fantastic effort.

Marcus Elwes - 3.55.45

Congratulations to all the runners and thank you to the supporters yesterday. I saw Serena between mile 12 and 13 (I think) and Phil at 35k. Your support was really appreciated.
My plan yesterday was to run the first half comfortably at around the 6m 50 sec mile pace and then, with a fair wind and a large dollop of luck do the same or better for the 2nd half. It had pretty much gone to plan up to about mile 14/15 I saw the 2h5 59 min pacer just ahead and I thought, just stick with him. Easier said than done. Over the next few miles through Canary Wharf he and his entourage gradually began to pull away, or more accurately, I was slowing down. I wasn’t disheartened and still believed I could retrieve it, but by mile 20 my legs were feeling heavy and the pacer was out of sight.
Still, I kept plodding along and found myself looking forward to the 35k point where I knew Phil would be – and Phil’s words of encouragement were a real help.
Just a little bit further on they were handing out gels so I grabbed a couple and felt a bit better but not for long. The legs were very heavy at this point and I knew that I had no more speed and that sub 3 was getting further away. In my head I felt absolutely fine but my left leg was cramping a bit. I knew that I just had to keep my strides short and my pace consistent and the cramp wouldn’t get worse. I looked out for a Waterloo Bridge on the Embankment, put my head down and kept going steadily. Did the same to Westminster and then turned into Birdcage walk and weirdly my legs suddenly felt better as I went past the Palace – the cramp and leggieness seemed to disappear as I saw the finish line.
Very pleased with my time, and slightly annoyed with myself for my overly optimistic prediction!
Steve Glackin - 3.03.43

First of all great runs everyone, especially Robin, Simon and Olga.This is my first race report for nearly 14 months, basically due to having too many injuries to be able to race!

My place was held over from last year (injured knee) and at the end of November I slightly tore my left calf, rested for 4 weeks, and it tore again on my 2nd run out in early Jan. I rested it for a further 6 weeks giving me 8 weeks until race day after a 10 week layoff (so my plan was 6 weeks of getting as much in as possible and 2 weeks to taper). It was a case of use the VLM place or lose it, and it was a bit of a gamble increasing my weekly mileage from zero to 44 miles per week in 6 weeks. I concentrated on the long slow runs (Long slow runs consisted of: 8,11,14,18,18,20,15 and 8 mostly off road) and I decided not to risk any speed work. Excuses over and on to the race!

I got a lift to Blackheath and arrived at just before 8am, walked up to the memorial for the Ravens photo shoot (picture to follow in the next day or 2 for the website). Then we all made our way to our starts, I think I was the only blue start so after a quick visit to the loo, sat in the sun and chilled out for a while. Like Andy I had a quick start, I was in pen 2 and it only took about 30 secs to cross the line. My plan was to run at 3:45 pace for as long as possible and then try and hang on. I started a bit quick and despite telling myself to slow down but each mile got quicker for the first 4 miles, the harder I tried the quicker I seemed to go so I forgot about the watch and just tried to run comfortably and within myself. I got a shout from Phil on the way out along the highway, but he was too busy packing up on the way back and I didn’t have the energy to shout to him (or maybe I thought if I sneak past I will avoid any abuse), the only other Raven I saw was Marcus at about mile 16. I felt really good up to 18 and then started to struggle, the sun was getting to me and the lack of training was starting to pay its toll, it then became a bit of a mental game, taking each mile by each mile, boy the gaps between mile markers seemed to get bigger and bigger, at mile 24 my watch clocked 11:30 (a real shuffle) but I managed to pick up a bit for the last 2 miles 9:41 and 9:20 respectively.

My plan was to get around between 3:45 and 3:50 so I was pretty pleased with 3:48:06 all things considered - despite it being a Personal Worst for London! It has been 9 years since I have run London and I can’t remember crowds as big as that before, what a great day it is, and I have even got a lovely vest shaped sun tan to show from it (typical northern style). It was nice having a quick drink at the Red Lion with Simon and Andy (and a bonus that all runners got a free pint of beer as it’s a Fullers pub). It was also good to see Serena at the Striders of Croydon clubhouse for a drink or 2 last night. Oh and Mr Meadows thanks for the text message which I received only a few minutes after crossing the line!

Andy Morcombe - 3.48.06

We met at the war memorial for some Team Ravens snaps, although we were split into two sub-groups, everyone was relaxed and in good spirits on what was a lovely morning. I was the only Raven on the green start so made my way there (all of 26.2 metres), did some stretching then went to get some Lucozade for the start line, but they'd run out! Hot-footed it over to the blue start, blagged a bottle and got back too late for the proper bag lorry, luckily there was a van for laggards such as myself. Saw a guy with a sign on his back saying "Age: 75 200th Marathon".

I was near the front of the green start which is a smaller group than the other two, after 1k I passed a friend's house who'd promised me breakfast and a lift to the Mall, but he broke his promise. Soon after my ex-friend's house, we merged with the busier blue route. A couple of miles later after the red merge in Woolwich, Robin passed me - we chatted briefly but he was a man on a mission. Nevertheless I had a feeling I'd see him again later. I was wrong.

I was having fun and admit that when the crowds were a little quiet I took delight in geeing them up and the first 9 miles went to plan with average "lap" time of 6'45 . Then suddenly around Rotherhithe, way too early, my legs felt heavy and a couple of 7 minute miles followed, but I picked it up to 6'45 again for a while, halfway point coming in at 1:29:0x, passed Phil and then my family (for the 2nd time) on Narrow Street.

I kept thinking I was doing alright round the Isle of Dogs, current pace usually showing about 6'50 so was irked to see the laps keep coming in at 7.0x. Knowing Phil was coming up I managed to pick up to 6'53 for mile 22, nonetheless a sub-3 pacer passed me. Mile 23 was 7'02, the pacer was gone and avg-lap time was now showing 6'53 - I reckoned I needed to bang out three 6'45 miles. I did one, waving to the family on emerging from Blackfriars underpass. The atmosphere was electric, absolutely incredible, sub-3 was there for the taking, could I take it?


Two 7' minute miles followed but I didn't know that, since I wasn't looking at my watch. With 200m to go, the bastard announcer said "20 seconds for sub 3", so no sprint finish required and I finished in 3:01:04. I am very pleased with that, an improvement of thirteen-and-a-half minutes. Had a drink, an apple, went in to powersave mode for a bit, eventually met up with my family and then Messrs. Haywood and Morecombe at a very busy pub. Felt fine afterwards but have a Dalek-like aversion to stairs today.

Next target: A jog to the Grapes for a pint, maybe next Tuesday, got to be better than Fartlek ... hopefully some of yesterday's racers would like to join me, I'll buy.

PS Last time I did "pi" ie. 3.14, funnily enough I did it again with 3.1.4

Simon Philips - 3.01.04

After reading everyone else’s reports I really understand now the pressure you put yourself under when running it the second time, or trying to beat the previous times!

Only a year ago I was training to run a sub 45min Bupa 10k, and I would never even dream of running a full marathon, so on the race day I was already really happy, which some Ravens may have misinterpreted as being “confident”... I had a couple pretty dark weeks at the end of February where I had a very painful knee and had no clue what was causing it. Obviously, this was before I even started doing the long runs so I was really worried that I was in a “game over” territory. Thankfully physio helped me sort it out pretty quickly and as a result I didn’t even have to stop training. I did have to do some not very attractive looking glute exercises every day for the next two months...

Enough of the prelude, now to the race report! I met up with most of the other Ravens runners at the memorial, and headed back swiftly to queue up for the loos (twice). Managed to find a bottle of Lucozade, Vaselined-up and headed for the start at 9:30. I was right at the front of pen 3 so I crossed the start line really quickly.

After the 30 min wait at the start, unsurprisingly for me, I needed the loo pretty much at 10:06. So I stopped at the first set of loos and that cost me about 40 seconds, which I allowed myself 3 miles to catch up. Really, everything was going great and I have not got much to say about the first 18 miles because I was running ahead of my target 3:20 and I felt good. As it was my first marathon, I smiled like an idiot at anyone who’d care to wave or cheer, high-fived the kids and enjoyed the crowd. This is where the pain of training really paid off.

After 18 miles I started getting tired and my legs started to hurt, but I didn’t really slow down. I had a 3:15 pacer ahead of me until about mile 22. After that I could no longer see him and I decided not to try and catch up. Frankly, I was really tired and I really wanted to run the whole way without any stops. I was quite worried that being overambitious could cost me a humiliating stop really close to the end!

Miles 23, 24, 25 are just a blur. I passed the Tower Bridge without even realising. I gave up looking for my friends and family in the crowds. I had my name on my vest so I still got lots of cheers, and I think that being a female running in the sub 3:20 crowd really did help too... At this point I was overtaking people who ran past me in the first half, and also some who were stopping. However, that didn’t really help my morale. I stopped tracking my speed and just focused on trying to run, at any speed. After the 25 mile marker I basically was in so much pain I seriously was expecting my leg muscles to give in, and my feet were even more painful. I had a caffeine gel planned for the last stretch but I had no energy to reach into my belt and get it so I just drank Lucozade.

Apparently my friends were 100m before the finish with a huge banner, and I ran about 3ft away from them but I didn’t hear or see them. Finishing felt great, and the clock had a 3:18 something on it, frankly I was so happy to have done sub 3:20 I didn’t even care!

After all this, I really admire all of you who not only have done this more than once, but also run so much faster and through injuries. It really is a battle on many fronts.

Glad to have proven the predictors wrong too! J

Olga Ricko - 3.17.17

On the way out I noticed Robin because he shouted at me , Simon because he was jumping in the air trying to 'gee ' up the crowd.. never waste your energy Simon..! not at that stage if you are chasing a time anyway!. I then saw Arif , Steve and later Andy M. I thought I saw Olga and was surprised to see her so far up..everyone looked in control and in good shape...

On the way back (13k) later ...Robin trundled through looking red but in control , Simon came thru' his feet firmly on the deck and no waving, Arif managed a look over his shoulder and gave an 'Arif smile' and Steve looked like he was working hard.. I never saw anyone else after that as we were asked to dismantle the water station...the only person I had missed was Andy H.. (bit of a surprise) .... I also had to deal with a runner who just collapsed in front of us.. he was rushed to hospital, thankfully my limited medical training helped the kid.. but St John's Ambulance staff were there like a flash so professional and all volunteers.

The conditions were tough the sudden increase in temperature whilst predictable was a little tough on you all. I know your times and finishing places and I think you should all be very proud of your efforts. A number of PB's and they should never be knocked. Expectation is a strange thing and plays on your mind; but a PB is a PB .. so take it away. Those that did not get one will have had their excuses so plan for another day.

My only bit of advice to those in or around the 3 hour mark is (as I say to all) - forget the marathon for a couple of years, and target one in 2015. Try and improve your speed and break PB's at 10 mile and below.. learn to race quicker and in 2015 you will achieve a faster time in the marathon.... trust me it works!

Well done to all running in those conditions is an achievement in itself contributed to a great day...

Phil Hernon
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