My 2005 London Marathon

How was it for you? - Quotes and pictures from London 05


Posted: 19 April 2005

SUB-3:00 (Page 1) Page 1
Whippit, 2:54:30

"I'll overtake her when I've finished waving to my fans" (Click for larger version)

The most fantastic day out

Highlights -

  • Shaking Haile Gebrselassie's hand on the Saturday at the expo - he's my running hero
  • Being on camera FOUR times (I'm the one being overtaken by Martin Lel at 25 miles and John Brown at the very end)
  • Breaking my target time of 3 hours (it's taken me 4 attempts)
  • Crossing the finish line before Big Ben struck 12 o'clock

Lowlights -

  • Apart from being sick just at the finish line there really weren't any

Key to success -

  • High mileage training from January onwards
  • Running partner - Rachel Pleeth - keeping me on track
Mark Irvine, 2:51

This was only my second marathon; I ran Belfast last year in 3:11, but did not really do the full training. This year I followed the sub 3hr schedule and felt really confident that I could break 3hrs. I ran 2:51, so can I say a big thank you to Runner’s World for getting me there. One of the best moments for me was the last three miles, where I got the crowd going by putting both my hands to my ears as if to say “I can't hear you....” When they responded it was a sensational feeling.

The Cutty Sark was another great point, as well as Tower Bridge, but coming into The Mall was just incredible. The key to my race was running to my heart rate, anyone out there who doesn't run with a heartrate monitor is mad!

This was an unbelievable day for me and I'm already looking forward to next year - BRING IT ON!

Nibs, 2:56:02

What an outstanding day! As a first-time marathon runner, this was a perfect day. Too many high points to mention during the race, but the standout moments were making my way back to the hotel afterwards - so many people congratulating me on the tube as I sat there in shorts, vest and medal. One woman even asked to take my picture! Sadly no autograph requests!

Many thanks to RW for their sub 3hr plan - 2hrs 56 mins - job done!

Venom, 2:58:10

I had a fantastic run, hitting my sub-3 target. I topped off the day by proposing to my girlfriend. [Ed: congratulations!]

The best moment was the finish of course, and after that probably hitting 24 miles and knowing that whatever happened I was going to get my sub 3.

Key to the success - all the hard work of training over the last four months.

Dominic Legg, 2:59:56

FLM 2005 was my first-ever Marathon and never beyond my wildest dreams did I expect to get such a buzz........pure adrenaline and emotion. What really made it so special was the incredible enthusiasm and vocal support of the masses of people lining the streets waving and cheering..........

The perfect weather on the day and crossing the finishing line in sub-3 hours ( well JUST about - 2 hrs 59 mins 56 seconds!) made it the perfect day!

trouty, 2:52:43

I've been using the Mike Gratton hard marathon training thread since early January at which time I had a painful knee injury. However, following Mike's advice and also the encouragement from the other forumites I was delighted to be able to run, and also knock 6 mins off my previous PB which was set in 2001.

As I am now a vet 45 it is good to know that I am not yet past my sell-by date. I am so fired up that next year I will be aiming to qualify for the UK Champs and go under 2:45. That was once an impossible dream but now it looks achievable. I just hope that the forums will continue to inspire me.

Northern Monkey, 2:56:16

This was my second marathon, but my first one in terms of running it rather than just getting round. My previous marathon was in Paris two years - very picturesque but with long stretches of nobody but bemused Parisian Sunday strollers wondering what all these runners were doing in the middle of the road.

What a different experience on Sunday. It started with a lift to the Tube station at 7.30am from a random bloke who'd been running earlier who noticed my kit bag and wanted 'to help save my legs for the race', continued with the Tube driver wishing all the runners all the very best of luck and continued all day.

Best moment? So many - turning into the Mall and realising I was going to get round in under three hours/shouts of support from family and friends/the crowd generally.

Worst moment? Either the all-consuming stitch that lasted from mile 22-24 or the cramp in both of my calves that started exactly the moment I ran past the 'Only 800m left to go!' sign.

Comical moment? Getting to my allotted pen with two other blokes and realising we were the very first people at the mass start. Bar none.

Anything I'd do differently? Follow a sub-3hr training plan next time instead of a sub 3:30 plan/not eat a Pepperami straight after a marathon.

An awesome experience and one of the best days of my life - can't wait until next year!

Ace_racer, 2:57:24

This was my first marathon and it didn't disappoint.  Awesome!!!  Huge fields, great organisation, scenery, huge crowds, wonderful atmosphere; I felt like an Olympian.  My wife, who has had to put up with the long runs, bad moods and injuries, was crying with emotion when she first saw me at Cutty Sark.

I've been running for 4 years and generally use the Bath Half in March as a measure as to how I'm improving.  This year I did 1:23:54, which was a PB by nearly 4 minutes, so I was encouraged by that and it got me thinking that maybe a sub-3 was possible.

I was a regular reader and occasional contributor to the FLM sub-3:15 forum and was a bit intimidated by some of the mileages people were doing.  Some were of the order of 50-80pw.  I found I couldn't get close to that. The Sunday run would rob me of all energy till Wednesday and if I did too many miles my shins would give me grief. In the end I found a training plan of 20-40 miles that focussed on quality not quantity, coupled with cross-training and this kept my niggling injuries at bay.

Saturday's travel and registration didn't go quite as planned. It ended up being a very long day of travel, queues and not eating when I wanted to.  Next year I'll do the expo on the Friday.

Sunday went like a dream.  I was at the front of pen 2 and crossed the line in 7 seconds and was off, ticking off the first mile in 6:40. The early miles were faster than scheduled as it was downhill and I went through halfway in 1:26-something, about a minute ahead of plan.  The second half went well and I cruised through mile 20 5 minutes ahead of my Gloucester 20 time, all was looking good.  

As I approached the 23-mile point, my head was saying 'nearly there' and my legs seemed to take that as a signal to start to let me know that this is hurting.  

At 24, my quads were really hurting and relaxing and acknowledging the crowd went out the window.  It was now gritted teeth and race face - I couldn't blow it now.  I was aware that for the last two miles the crowds were huge and everyone was shouting my name, but I was in the zone and just had to finish.  I was relieved more than anything to cross the line, having managed to stick with the plan and get my dream target of sub-three.

As soon as the chip came off I couldn't walk; my legs had totally seized!  I staggered up to the repatriation area only to realise there was no finishers T-shirt in my bag!  There was no way I was doing that without the T-shirt, so in great pain I hobbled back to the finish to get one.

Post-race runners trots is no fun when you have to queue with the crowds for a portaloo, but a dose of Imodium gave me the confidence to not join the back of the queue again and I had no further problems.

The neighbours who had been following my progress via texts from my wife, had decorated the nearby roundabout and my house with posters and balloons and there was champagne and jelly babies(!) waiting inside. Brilliant!  I had a real craving for chow mein so treated myself and got through two of the trays myself.

The week after the marathon has been fantastic with all the congratulations from friends and colleagues, coupled with my own personal satisfaction that I did it!!

It took me until Thursday to be able to walk downstairs and my legs are still sore.  I can't believe some people were out running on Monday!  I'm a firm believer in rest to allow your muscles to come back stronger, so I will start light cycling this weekend and see how I feel next week.

Both the family and I are riding on a high.  The kids took my medal and foil blanket in to "show and tell" at school - I even got it back!  We have forgotten all the pain and inconvenience that went with the training and are already planning next year and bringing some friends too!!

Sodahead, 2:41

My humble views as a debut marathon runner:

The best moment: Tower Bridge. It was a bit slower than my previous miles but the spectacle of running over the Bridge and the crowd support was just incredible. I could not help smiling, nor could I stop myself from feeling a tad emotional.

The worst moment: mile 25, the feeling of running as hard as I physically could but knowing that I was slowing down and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

The biggest surprise: firstly my finishing time - 2:41:46. Secondly, getting to the 20-mile marker and knowing that I could have a "mare" last 10K and still get a AAA Championship Place for 2006.

What I would do differently: With hindsight I suspect that my long marathon-paced runs did not adequately prepare me for miles 22 to 26.2. Something that I will work on for my next marathon.

Key to success: Mike G's wise words on the FLM thread, many posts of advice from the RW training thread, support from athletes who I have directly met through the existence of the RW Forums.

Judge Jeffrey, 2:55

My highlights:

Crossing the line in the magical sub-three time: a lifetime ambition. I managed 3:00:23 in London in 2004, my first marathon, and those paltry 23 seconds prayed heavily on my conscience during training and also during this years race. There's nothing like a near miss to focus the mind !

Pulling alongside my twin brother Steve where the blue and the green start merged together. Steve, was already a veteran of two marathons, and had notched an impressive 2:52 in 2003, and 2:55 last year. He therefore started in the green start, pen number 1. I was allocated pen number 1 in the blue start. And where the two routes joined up, we were virtually side-by-side. Amazing. We ran the first seven miles together before I decided to ease off the pace a bit. Side-by-side through those crowds at Cutty Sark, was a truly amazing feeling.

My brother waiting for me at the finish. He recorded 2:48:57, but waited for me at the end for the memorable family photo!

Our supporters round the route, and at the end. I saw them at each of the three vantage points I knew they would be at.

Key to success:   Mix the training, and do lots of it; don't be tempted to run in the few days leading up to the race - it's   difficult to not be active, but resist the temptation to run; for a sub-three time, get a lap timer watch but only use it after 15 miles - you'll know from the timers at the mile markers how well you are doing; run steady, but within yourself from the start and get time in the bank, then use the watch to hold on to seven-minute mile pace as long as possible in the second half. It's probably not to everyone's taste, but it worked for me.


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