I DID IT! (Not that I ever doubted that I would finish). But would I complete the gruelling 26.2 miles in my hoped for sub-four hours, and without walking?
It was almost all over at mile three when I nearly ran into a bollard. The guy in front of me suddenly stepped to one side and there it was, aiming straight at my family jewels. I just managed a quick side-step, keeping all intact and not out of the race.
The Cutty Sark at six miles is fantastic. Although it’s a bit of a bottle neck, the crowds are very noisy and uplifting. It feels at that point as though the next 20 miles will be a cinch.
The highlight of the day was meeting John Hanscomb at around mile 10. 70-year-old John is one of the 29 people who has done all 25 marathons. His son Guy used to work with me. I was just running along, minding my own business, and saw a runner with JOHN HANSCOMB written on his back. I ran past and then thought ‘I wonder if that is Guy’s Dad?’ So I slowed up and ran alongside him and said: "are you Guy’s Dad?". He was a bit surprised but said "yes". I congratulated him, shook his hand and moved on.
I saw my wife and family at mile 15 then again at mile 19. That was a real boost. I had rung my wife before the start to ask her to bring up some sun tan lotion, but I didn't want to stop to collect it. I think the possibility of the lotion running down into my eyes was probably the worst of two evils anyway.
I hit "the wall" between miles 22 and 23, but managed to keep running. My feet were on fire, my legs didn't belong to me and my head was pounding.
If I had felt like that a few miles earlier I would have had to walk but with just over three miles to go I managed to keep pushing on, particularly knowing that I was still on for my target time.
My wife and family where there at 25 miles. That really was a tremendous boost. I had been struggling to maintain 10-minute miles since 20/22 but managed to increase my pace to under nine minutes for the last 1.2 miles.
I finished in a time of 3:54:39, 8005th out of a starting line up of 35,680. I'm very pleased with that.