I probably can't tell you anything you haven't picked up from the coverage, but I feel I owe a race report! This was my 19th London Marathon and so I might be biased, but this is absolutely UP THERE in terms of experiences. I would encourage anyone who hasn't done it yet to have a go. In some ways the slower you are the better as you'll soak up more of the atmosphere which is basically AMAZING! Organisation was spot-on, weather from a running point of view good, just possibly deterred some spectators. My story - I'd gone for a 14 week build up, the first half of which went well, the second half of which was not so good. As a result I wasn't as confident as I've been in previous years. Anyway, without wanting to open an on-line debate, I followed my normal positive split strategy - i.e. get some time in the bank and hold on as best you can. 13.1 in 1:24. I knew I was slowing, but turned at the Palace thinking sub 2:55 could be on and found a little kick to "dip at the wire" for 2:54:59. Happy with that. Nice T-shirt this year and, shock-horror, a choice of sizes (at least for the early finishers). Hope to be out sporting it before the end of the week....
Today was my 5th London. Preparation was injury hampered right from the start, when ever I did speed work I got aches pains and cramps days later, so that was limited. I didn't think I would PB but thought sub 3:30 was achievable. I went off at 7:30's and tried to maintain for as long as possible. Started to slow around 18, & felt very short of energy around Tower Hill. Finished in 3:27.33 which was okay, those seconds count as Mr Cockram finished in 3:27.36. Despite the closeness I didn't see him and we were not holding hands. Spoke to Pete 'headbanger' Chapman in bag storage, he did 3:19 and was very happy with it.
With 200m to go, I could see Chris just ahead; what a magical moment this would be, two Ravens crossing the line together, hand in hand just like those first winners back in 1981...I called out, Chris turned round, and then completely ignoring me, put his foot down and crossed the line three seconds in front of me!!!
To be honest, despite the closeness of our chip times, I didn't see Chris at anytime during the race, so the above "perfect" finish was never on the cards! In actual fact, I thought things went pretty well for me. I'd had a few issues with my knees going into this race and was a little concerned how things might be. However, I'd done the distance work and thought I would be ok if I took things sensibly. I therefore decided to aim for around 3.30 and see how things went. As it was, all was good and I felt pretty comfortable the whole way round. Got a much appreciated shout from Mike around the Surrey Quays area, met and ran with Vicky for a bit shortly after and was pleased to spot Mick in the crowds as we headed back towards The Tower. With around two miles to go, I noticed Vicky once again just in front, so worked my way up to her and we ran together for I guess, around a mile. She was running well and certainly helped me put in a bit more effort for this final stage and I hope I helped rather than hindered her too. Moving into the final 800m, I managed to put in a relatively strong finish (as noted by various members of the crowd so I must have looked vaguely in control!) and crossed the line in 3.27.36 - a London Marathon PB by 12 minutes and 11 seconds. Another first for me was that I ran both halves in exactly the same time - to the second! I'm still amazed at this but no doubt you more seasoned racers will tell me that this happens relatively frequently! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this race and had genuinely forgotten what a great experience running the London Marathon can be - the support and noise of the crowds in so many places is unbelievable and crossing Tower Bridge is particularly special. I had thought I'd leave marathons alone and hadn't really planned to run this one (I'd unexpectedly got my place via the Wadhurst Runners "rejected ballot entries" Christmas draw), however, having got a real buzz out of this race on Sunday, I am somewhat tempted to think again...... Finally, well done to all the other Ravens who took part, particularly Jon Fairs - how great to have the ability to run with and then kick-on from a group containing a racing Paula Radcliffe to finish 145th - absolutely superb; many congratulations.
Congrats to everyone that ran yesterday and I think I saw a Ravens vest on the highlight show when Button and Cracknell are being interviewed running towards the finish. So I ran my first marathon yesterday and really enjoyed the experience except for the last 2 miles!! I was wearing an orange vest for my charity World Child Cancer but I was running for the Ravens as my named club. I am sorry to say that I ignored Phil and Simon's (great) advice and set off at too fast a pace and I was feeling okay until about mile 19 when I began to slow. I thought I could hold on at 7.30 pace but I was struggling and then at mile 24 hit the wall! That is an experience I don't want to have again!! Struggled home in the last two miles and managed 3hr 14min which I am happy with for my first marathon having learned a lot. I will now take Phil's advice and focus on the shorter distances before attempting another marathon which I do really want to do.
I ran London yesterday, training had gone pretty well and conditions were good, so I was hopeful of a good time, but you never know until it starts what will happen. Started off steady and felt in control, I was aiming for 5.55’s to halfway to build a bit of a cushion on my aim of running a PB (last did it in 2.37 in 2009)….ticked off the early miles relatively easily, 58.30 for 10 miles was a bit quicker than plan but felt good. Caught Paula at mile 11 and ran with her over Tower Bridge which was an incredible experience, halfway in 1.17.10 and feeling tired but still not pushing so much I was worried about keeping it going. Stuck with the Paula group to 18miles but they were slowing with a couple of miles over 6m/m so feeling good I kicked on, the last 6 were hard but I was running sub 6m/m and not slowing so taking lots of people. Finished in 2.35.24, 145th place, very pleased. Thanks for the shout-outs from Phil and Arif, didn’t see anyone else, had a look for Robin on Narrow St but it was a bit busy down there.
Well I don’t profess to have any natural talent and do occasionally make the raven’s Friday runs. Having only ever raced 10 miles once in my life I thought it would be good to give the marathon a shot …. I set myself a target of Mick Bridgeland marathon time ( not age ) plus 50 minutes and for 23 miles I was fine and was exactly on my schedule and from there on it went downhill pretty quickly and I have no memory of the remainder of the course, I couldn’t tell you if I ran, walked or crawled but I do know that it hurt !! It felt like someone put Phil in a wheelbarrow and made me push that to the finish ! I perked up a bit at an 800 metres to go sign and not so elegantly crashed through the finish line. I retrieved my kit and spent the next 30 minutes lying on the grass verge as I was what is technically known as F***ed …. Eating and drinking everything from the goody bag. My time was 3 Hours 38 minutes and I was placed 7,810th not going to trouble any Ravens with the time but I can faithfully promise I gave it everything I had.
Firstly, well done to everyone who ran/raced at the weekend. Some seriously fantastic marathon times!! Thought I would follow on from Kev’s being as he was the only runner I saw and Robin the only supporter. For starters, I am going to amaze you all by saying I am extraordinarily happy with my 4th London Marathon!!! Unplanned, I ran with a friend from the start line until about mile 22/23 when I told her to just go – she was stronger than I at this point. The first few miles literally just flew by, it was amazing, keeping an eye on the Garmin to ensure we didn’t get carried away and stuck as close as possible to 8mm. Miles 16 to 18, I felt like I ran as opposed to jog (but it wasn’t hard, just noticeable). Must have been on a high at 19 as I cruised through in 7.14, deliberately dropped it for the next mile as wasn’t quite ready to put the hammer down, going through 20 in 7.32. I stabilised, felt a bit low on energy, so grabbed a Lucozade and head down for the next couple of miles. Then I decided it was time to pick the pace up and next thing I knew Kevin was at the side. It got a bit tricky because here we were upping the pace, passing runners who were tiring and slowing down, so we had to weave a bit. Kevin left me but I was still feeling strong and as I rounded the corner to show the clock, I could see it was in the 3.28 zone and I wanted to get under 3.29 on the clock as I knew I’d started just a tad after the race started. Sure enough my chip time came in at 3.28.24. I am still smiling.
Great things about this race:
Another start in the Green area helped enormously as it wasn’t over-crowded.
Ran with a friend and we both kept an eye on pace, bringing it back when going too fast.
Going through half way on target (1.45.16).
The supporters generally not being over-crowded, but was there if/when needed.
Consistently increasing pace towards the latter end of the race.
Seeing a few people I knew.
Not feeling shattered at the end/not having the walking down stairs issue.
Having the confidence to continue at 8mm when at the start I just wasn’t sure.
I have to say, I’m not going to get carried away, but I am now confident that I can achieve a much better time at future marathons. For this one I admit I did the long runs without bother, but did shy away from speedwork. That’s now what I need to concentrate on.