London 2018 - Ravens Runners London

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London Marathons
Virgin London Marathon
22 April 2018 - the 38th (started in 1981)

21st London for me.  And the hottest! I decided that contrary to the advice I had been giving everyone else, the weather would not impede my sub 2.50 plan.  Got to half in 1.25 and then just slowed down, weaving through a growing number of walkers and DNFs.  Overtaken by Tom Robertson at about 24 which spurred me on.  Ground it out to 2.57.33, way off what I wanted, but happy enough. Was a bit unsteady on my feet and was taken into the SJA tent. Then the first DNF of my marathon life  - joined the nice folk from Benfleet RC for a beer – took one mouthful and had to sit down again.  Many thanks to Andy and Nicky Low and Stuart Raven (no relation) of Springfield for feeding me Lucozade and lentil crisps (yuck) until I was well enough to move again.

Some great support around the course. Apart from my own club a massive cheer from Ilford AC (I saw Malcolm Muir and Neil Crisp, but pretty sure the loudest voice was John Crawley), and also seen Scott & Ryan and Alex.  Plenty of other shouts, but I was in a world (of pain) of my own.  Never ever again. Until the Halstead Marathon in 3 weeks.
Robin McCoy

I crashed and burnt at 9k with dry heaving and various other problems but soldiered they to a 3:30 something ....but did get to run with a penguin, butterfly and bumblebee.
Matthew Ellis

Not quite a personal worst for me! But close!! Hamstring issues from 14 heat was horrendous last 6 miles were slowest I have EVER run! Proper painful. Why do we do it????

I don’t seem to have much luck with marathons. Last year at Brighton it was a scorcher and this year it was even hotter in London. After the first few miles I quickly realised that the heat was going to play a massive part in this race and that going out at my target pace of 6.45 was probably a little optimistic. The first few miles were hot but they passed pretty quickly and before long we were heading through Rotherhide at which point I heard a big shout from Lee Martin. I had a quick chat with David Wilkinson just before mile 10 and I then passed Iain Davie shortly after. My family were along Narrow Street which gave me another big lift and then it was the slog around the Isle of Dogs. Although I wasn’t feeling particularly great I was still managing to keep a decent pace and seemed to be constantly overtaking other runners. I don’t know how everyone else felt but the course seemed so busy this year. The biggest shouts of the day can from John and Anna through Canary Wharf - thanks guys. Through mile 20 I was still feeling pretty good although trying to run at pace wasn’t easy as it was still flipping hot. It was the first time in a long time that I could actual take in the last the last few miles and before long I was heading past Big Ben and the finish. I finally came home in 3.11. Not the time I was hoping for but given the conditions a pretty solid effort. Hopefully my time from Brighton last year will still get me a good for age place in 2019 and may be next year it will be a cold one instead. Well done to all the other Ravens who ran today especially Tom and Robin. Given that most of our training is during the winter it’s hardly surprising that we struggle in the heat.
Ian George

Robin - cheers for the water at 24 (uncanny timing!) and the push for the last couple. Great effort even getting to the pub! I went into this a bit light on training and don't think i've ever had doubts about finishing from about 5 miles in. Tried to buy a couple of minutes in the first half but was weaving a bit to get through the pack which from about 10 miles started to include a few walkers. Halfway in 1.26 then held that pace through to about 18 where it started getting ugly. Started to drop time every mile but thankfully had enough in the bank. Wasn't sure i'd go sub 3 until about 25. Second half of 1.30 and home in 2.56. Caught up Ian & Duncan briefly afterwards then headed home for a blissful cup of tea sat in the kid's paddling pool. Great effort from everyone, it was a tough one.
Tom Robertson

3:56 for me was on for 3:30 at half way but just got slower and slower the heat was horrible. Great crowds and the atmosphere was immense. That was the last marathon for me for a few years as the misses is expecting twins in a few months!
Gary Pitman

This was my second marathon having done the coldest on record in 2016 and now the hottest one. My aim was for sub four and hoped for 3:45. Started off fine was totally on track even at halfway with 1:54. Then the heat started taking its toll. From 15 miles onwards the calf’s started cramping and had to run and walk the last 10 miles. Even had to stop for treatment from physios in Canary Wharf as the pain in the calf’s was getting too much. It was run until the calf cramped, walk a bit until it relaxed and run again. There was no way I was going to pull out. Glorious sight of seeing the Mall and the finish with a sprinkling of fairy dust from the runner next to me and finished in 4 hours 22 minutes. Way off the target but given the conditions and the number of people you saw being treated, was very happy just to have finished. Thanks to all the support along the course from the other Ravens. Gives you a boost as you are going round thinking why am I doing this? As of Friday night I have raised £2000 for British Heart Foundation. Should hopefully be able to make the target.
Andrew Ferguson

Sub 3 dream was over by mile 8, finishing in 3.25.09. A slightly less epic fail than last year. Still places in Edinburgh next month…..
David Campbell

This was my first marathon so apologies if this is a little long winded... I knew it was going to be special having worked there a couple of years ago but nothing could prepare me for the feeling of running it, even in the exacting conditions. Honestly loved every second of it no matter how tough it was. I lined up near the front of wave 1 of the blue start, could see Mo and the other Elites on the start line, a great vantage point to see the start of the race. Thought they were going to let us go right behind them but then the championship and GFA guys funnelled in behind them. I knew in my head that it wasn't going to be a quick day but set off eager to see what I had with 3:05 to 3:10 in mind. Tried not to blast off quickly got in to a decent rhythm and ticked off the first few miles in relative ease, went through 5m in sub 3 pace and was starting to feel the heat so backed off a little. The crowds were incredible. I had a plan to take on gels every 40mins from half an hour and that seemed to give me a good goal of breaking it in to sections. Was surprised to see Ian George at about mile 10, thought he would have been way ahead of me, he seemed to be ticking along pretty well and it didn't even cross my mind to try and stick with him. Nothing can prepare you for turning right and going over tower bridge, the noise and atmosphere from there until round to canary wharf was insane. I went through half way in 1:33 and then saw my wife and kids at m14. Saw Kipchoge and 1 other coming down the other side of the highway and then Mo about 40m behind them, went across and screamed some words of encouragement. Kipchoge especially looked effortless. After that it was starting to hurt and it just kept hurting. Very odd going through the underground roundabout and it was so quiet. Also strange seeing so many decent runners walking and stopping to stretch, the heat was just brutal. From 15 onwards my pace was slowing mile by mile and every part of my body was saying stop but somehow you just keep going. Saw family again at 22 and then my parents and sister at 24, was feeling very emotional by this point and with 2 miles to go just had to control it and get home somehow. Crossed the line in 3:18:30, not the best of times but under the circumstances I was pretty pleased and couldn't have done anymore. As always I huge thank you to the Ravens and especially Ricky for inspiring me to get in to running properly a few years ago. What a day!
Iain Davie

What a scorcher.  That was tough.  set of at a modest 6:30 pace which I had anticipated doing for the first 3/4miles before slowing to what I had planned on which was 6:45/6:50.  Every mile after 7 felt hard.   Every mile after felt slow but the watch was still ticking away the correct pace this was harder than anything I had done before.  Hit halfway remarkably one time but felt pretty bad and would have been content stopping and getting the tube back to the start but ploughed on surviving from water station to water station.  The goal at this point was to keep moving and not walk as I knew that would be the end of me so I slowed the pace and decided to just survive.  The isle of dogs was hard up until remerging at 21 miles.  The long way back down the highway was hard but kept ploughing on.  An enthusiastic Ian passing me helped me going.  In the last mile could feel the legs going but  managed to make it and slumped over the line in 3:13 (according to my watch).  Pretty happy considering how hot it was not quite sure what if anything I could have done differently.  annoyingly won’t qualify for next year’s marathon so I’ll just have to find another event. Well done to everyone, runners and supporters.
Duncan Anderson

3.53.02 went through half way in 1.45 then pace started to drop, had to walk for last 6 miles and was glad to see finish line. Have done 16 marathons in last 9 years now time for a break and some rest, many thanks for all your support yesterday.
David Miller

Much like everyone else, a tale of two halves. Through halfway in 1.42 having sensibly tried to stick to a 7.30/7.35 mm pace. Drank and doused, as suggested, at every water station and took gels every 5 miles. Ran a large amount with Dave Miller for company, as he was planning a similar strategy. But again the nagging feeling wheels were beginning to come off and, sure enough, the pace dropped to 8’s and then 9’s by mile 20, including some walking. Miles 20-25 were purgatory, as my legs really began to actually hurt and it was as much as I could do to keep moving forward; walking, jogging, shuffling, whatever. I was having to make little deals with my mind ‘just get to the next water station and you can have a small walk’ etc. For those 5 miles I averaged around 10.30mm and, I have to say, I was in a really dark place, furtively looking at tube stations as we passed them and people drinking beer outside pubs. I ever took a swig from a can of Fosters offered to me right by the HDQ, just to see if that would make any difference! It didn’t! On the Embankment I was caught up by Rob Reid and we ran a bit together before he dropped back with cramp. At mile 25 I got a stone in my shoe and had to stop to remove it, before being picked up by a couple of fellow Petts Wood Runners and we kept each other going to the end, passing a very unhappy looking Dave before the Mall. I caught up with Rob fleetingly at the end and saw Vicky briefly as well at the finish. If I missed any supporting Ravens on the course, apologies. I was in a world of pain! Well done all the runners. Some brave performances. On a positive note, I am pleased to report I performed better than Robin in the pub afterwards. Possibly, because I had run an hour slower than him 😊. 3.51.16 - 6 minutes off a PW but completely happy with that in the circumstances. Going to give marathons a rest now and try and concentrate on getting some speed back on the shorter distances.
Marcus Elwes

An elaboration on the below, but pretty much along the lines of all others, the heat played a bigger part in this than I thought it would. It was so energy sapping. I missed 3 core weeks of my training plan due to injury and not being in top shape, I always planned to run at 7’s for the first 3 miles, gradually increasing to 6.30’s by mile 10. According to my watch splits, I managed 6.50 pace for mile 4 but then fell back to 7’s for every mile up to mile 15, where I crumbled. This was despite the effort going up. I was really pushing hard, but not moving any faster. At mile 15 I was spent and realised sub-3 was impossible (the sub-3 hour pacer even crashed out and hobbled off a mile earlier, leaving a crowd of perplexed sub-3 hopeful looking desperately at each other, which was a funny sight). Struggling horribly, I decided to treat the last 11 as an ‘easy’ run, except even easy pace was gruelling. The new goal became not to suffer a personal worst. By mile 22 I realised I was on for a personal worst. So the new goal became not to walk. But by mile 25, I couldn’t even see the point in running any more. So I walked. First time ever in a marathon. After a minute or so of walking and a handful of jelly babies (and a lot of crowd encouragement to get jogging – bossy tw*ts!), I slapped myself in the face and put on a pathetic jog to the finish line in 3.17.51. Despite the brutality of yesterday’s conditions, it’s still an enormous privilege to take part in London marathon. Amazing to run in front of so many people, especially those you know who cheer you on. Thanks to those that did – and apologies if I didn’t spot you back or if all I could muster was a grimace back at you! Weirdly in the last few miles both my ears popped and I was struggling to hear very well. Presume it was due to exhaustion. Congrats to everyone for finishing and bigger congrats to the sub-3 runners. Remarkable running. Never seen so many people collapsing around me or walking. Just read about the enormously sad news of a runner who passed away yesterday. A guy who ran sub-3 at Manchester only this month. He collapsed at mile 22.5 (top of Tower Bridge, right next to where we meet for our lunch runs). I’m pretty sure I passed him and the medics that surrounded him. Sure many other Ravens running yesterday did too. That was my last marathon for at least 2-3 years. Time to shed the timber and get quicker at the shorter stuff.
David Wilkinson

Going into this race, my mind had changed so many times over the last few weeks.  I have not been able to do the training I used to do when I lived/worked in Kent/London.  I know it sounds daft, but I assumed everywhere had pavements and street lighting.  Not so where I live in the country – the roads are windey and dark with no footpaths so going out after work for an evening run was a challenge.  Doesn’t matter how much bright clothing and lights you wear, you still feel vulnerable.  Twice a week I was attending track at Team Bath AC but every session seemed to be dark, cold, rainy, blustery and miserable.  I was doing my training runs because I had to, not because I wanted to.  Then I got injured; my left hamstring was so sore, I could barely run.  Physio and regular sports massages ensued and I had to do the exercises otherwise it just didn’t get any better.  Mentally I then started flagging and I lost all interest.  Saturday 14th April, I did 8 miles and hated every step; I couldn’t envisage running 26.2 miles like that.  I decided not to run in the follow up week but just to swim.  After my sports massage on the Wednesday, my massage lady advised me to do a short run on Thursday lunchtime just to see.  I did; I went out, accidentally with two people from work and it was a lovely day.  We covered 3.5 miles in a slow pace.  I decided that I would run London but as it’s potentially my last one (can’t imagine any more Winter training here), I would simply enjoy it; not worry about any kind of pace but just run.  On the Saturday, I did a London local parkrun, ran to feel and my head was definitely straight then, ready for Sunday. My plan on Sunday was to run to feel for the first 10 -13 miles; stop and chat to Barking Road Runners manning mile 14 water station; take it steady to mile 19 where I hoped to see Andy Catton and possibly the Crawleys; keep my eye out at other water stations for people I knew and as my body tired, then to slow down.  To a degree that’s exactly what I did, though of course it’s so busy at the start, that you can’t actually go too fast.  10 miles went well, had to have a quick pitstop and also stop to drink as there were so many bottles on the floor where we were running, it was dangerous not to look where you were going as you went through the water stations.  I saw the elite runners coming in the opposite direction as I was heading down the highway; surprised and pleased to see Mo in third place.  Think Mellor was in about 7th when I saw him, have no idea where he finished.  I think I went through halfway in about 1.45 so could have been on track for a 3.30 but I didn’t want to continue at that pace.  I wanted to have a bit of fun.  I actually saw more friends on water stations than I expected, so stopped to chat with them and catch up.  After I’d stopped and then started again at Mile 19 (Andy Catton and various other Ilford runners I know), I saw a guy I know from round here collapsed on the floor being attended to by SJA.  Such a shame, his first ever marathon, he was going for sub 3.30.  He didn’t finish and doesn’t remember collapsing.  It did start to get difficult for me from mile 20 but I just kept thinking about all these runners around me who weren’t going to make it and I didn’t want to be one of them.  I just kept thinking, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.   Obviously, I did make it to the end, and all in all, it wasn’t too bad.  It was never going to be a PB day for me, so I made the most of it.  The first half I ran; the second half I socialised.  I’ve never done it before and I doubt I’ll do it again – I just didn’t want to be one of the unfortunate ones. I had some lovely shout outs; Tim Sherman just before Cutty Sark, Lee from his lamppost (sorry, I don’t know where that was), Phil & Mrs Priest in Narrow St, plus lots of friends around the course all the way to mile 24 and then I saw a few friends after I’d finished, including Marcus. I have Belfast marathon in two weeks’ time.  I’ve never run two marathons so close together, so I’m not sure what to expect.  I don’t believe it’s a PB course either so it could be interesting!! Chris  Tuck - just for you: I saw the judge, John Mitchell from Skid Row just outside the blue start and had a lovely natter with him - he really is the most unassuming man you could meet - just a great guy! Well done if you managed to get through that, I know it was a report and a half.
Vicky Cooper

Much like the rest of the group and I presume close to 40 thousand runners, it was a game of two halves…. I ended up running 2:48 which was worst London time. Though unusually was not that bothered at the end. Even before the start of the race I was worried looking up and not seeing a cloud in the sky and knew things might not work out when I was sweating in the warm up. Still went off, covered the first 5k in 18 minutes and even though this was fast, it felt very comfortable. I was fine with this pace until about 10 miles, after that I started to slow slightly but still felt ok. On about 12 miles realised I had dropped pace, I crossed half way in just under 1:18, I was not on for a PB and knew I was in no condition to make that time back. The last 10 miles were just about completing it, I was determined not to stop and walk and just about managed to do that, from about mile 24 I started to get cramp in my feet but still kept going until the finish. Felt terrible at the end, my first pint was about as touch as the race itself, my first wee was a colour I had never seen before, my 2nd pint was better, in fact my drinking was almost a reverse of the race, finishing with multiple Long Island Ice teas… Had yesterday off, was surprised to feel ok (apart from my head) and managed a short jog and swim. I also entered the Minton Keynes marathon in 2 weeks, I was able to get free entry so will decide nearer the time if feel up for doing it or not.
James Macdonald

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