My 2005 London Marathon

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

Posted: 19 April 2005

4:00 TO 5:00 (Page 1) Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 12 13 14 15
Peter Freeman, 4:02:44

Best moment: hearing the announcer say: ”here’s a guy coming home in giant butterfly wings!” Then I believed I would finish. Red Bull might give you wings, but my wings slowed me down by over a minute a mile. But I had loads of fun through the pain.

Worst moment: the heat at Docklands and not knowing where I was as the course was reversed from previous years, and my Garmin told me I was running 13-minute miles, then sulked behind the tall buildings. What would I do differently: more training in my giant wings as my shoulders are killing my while my legs just ache.

Best memory: the money I’ve raised for a super charity, and the moment when before the start a runner for ‘Changing Faces’ came up to us and said “you’re running for Debra, that’s a great charity,” which coming from a supporter of Changing Faces was a real accolade.

Debra is the UK charity for those with the genetic condition which makes the skin as fragile as a butterfly’s wing, hence my costume.

Thanks for a great website and magazine I couldn’t have run London four times without RW.

Next year? Put my name down now!

Jo, 4:07

Wow! What a day. I had a great first 20 miles and the last six were killers - my quads seemed to seize up, something I have not experienced before. I completed it in 4 hours and 7 minutes and 27 seconds, not under my target of 4 hours but I'm well chuffed all the same as it was my first marathon. I'd say that actually the sheer number of people on the course stopped me from getting sub-4 hours.

I was surrounded by people for the full 26 miles. I had a fantastic day and the support was incredible, especially in the last four miles when I really wanted to walk! It was much hotter than most of the training I'd done so I found taking on the correct amount of liquid quite tricky. I was petrified of having to stop to go to the loo (someone told me they had to wait 20 minutes for the loo, on the course, last year!) so I probably didn't drink enough. I feel I've accomplished something incredible.

Holly-go-Lightly, 4:26
London is a magnificent, wonderful city, and never more so than on such a beautiful day as 17th April, 2005. I felt so proud to be part of the greatest race, in the greatest city in the world. The crowds cheering around Cutty Sark, the first glimpse of Canary Wharf, the grandeur of Tower Bridge, seeing the London Eye along the Mall, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace telling me I was nearly there: all sent goose bumps down my spine.

Never mind becoming a pop or film star: run the London Marathon and you will feel the adoration, good will and support of thousands. Best of all, I met another girl, Cath, at the start. We ran together, complete strangers, but kept each other going every step of the way. That camaraderie is what London means for me.

The sight of my father, aged 60, dressed in yellow, standing on a council bin at mile nine with flags and video camera will stay with me for life. I don’t think supporters realise just what a difference they make.

From mile 22 I wanted to be sick and was, ceremoniously so, as I crossed the finish line. Apologies to all in the vicinity. It’s amazing how your body can hold it in!

My only frustration was that I started in a pen much slower than my target time which meant that I spent the whole time running slower than my natural pace, trying to overtake people and was never in my stride. I didn’t get a chance to stride out until things got wider and more spread out and that was only in the last couple of miles. I suppose that enabled me to give up on the stress of a target time and prevented me from hitting the wall.

Secret weapon? Walking 30 seconds every mile: it prevents cramp coming on and means you have something to look forward to each mile. I’ve run a marathon. I am a runner!

Little Running Kitty, 4:43

The best moment of my first FLM was when I was struggling down towards the Mall and could see Buckingham Palace in the background, despite the fact that I run down there regularly, the road seemed endless - hearing people shouting 'come on Kitty, not far to go' was amazing, just because they were total strangers willing me on. It was also great to meet other forum members at the start - and thank you especially to Plodding Hippo who helped me keep calm and gave some sound words of advice!

Probably the most memorable moment (maybe for him than for me!) was, having missed the toilets at the start, having to pop down a side road behind a wall to have a toilet break. I was determined not to lose what looked like at least five or 10 minutes queuing for the toilets, but was interrupted by some poor bloke obviously also looking for a quiet place! Hearing on the radio this morning that Paula had to do the same by the side of the road made me feel slightly better...

The worst thing was that despite what seemed like careful planning, I missed all of my support crew along the way - there seemed to be so many more people watching than in previous years that we just never found each other at the agreed places. For some reason, I even managed to run straight past the RW support crew at 17 miles! Running almost past my back door, whilst heading away from the finish into Docklands, was also pretty psychologically tough.

Next time (and yes, there will be a next time!), I'm definitely going to make better arrangements with my support crew, remember not to gulp from the water bottle in the last mile, thus nearly making me vomit over the poor marathon official who saw me over the line, and continue to enjoy it.

I missed my target time of 4.30, but I don't really mind - I did it, and I'm determined to do more marathons as well as the shorter races I enjoy, and keep on improving.

Matthew Deller, 4:46

The best moment: reaching the crowds at Tower Bridge - what a lift; in places the supporters were eight people deep.

The worst moment: having to move to a walk/run strategy far earlier than expected (16 miles).

The biggest surprise: as a first-time runner, the crowds in the last mile – oh yes, and the weather!

What I would do differently: perhaps slower start given the conditions, and do greater training to increase leg strength but hey, I finished.

Old Woman, 4:47:01

An amazing day, even though I'm a bit disappointed with my time. As a first-timer perhaps I shouldn't have been worried about it but my worst moment was when I realised there was no way I could do a sub 4:30. The biggest surprise was just how amazing the support from the crowds was. I felt as if I had my own personal fan club and they didn't just yell my name into the air, they made eye contact with a wink or a grin or even (how cruel) a tip of the pint glass! High-fiving the kids was fun and helped to keep me smiling even when it hurt.

The heat was draining and the extra water required weighed me down (any excuse!), but the weather brought the crowds out in incredible numbers.

Running over Tower Bridge (and even a short walk, I confess) was the highlight. The crowds cheered even louder on the bridge. Things I would do differently - much as I love them, I wouldn't stop to hug my supporters and pose for photo calls - my muscles tightened even in that short time and it was hard to get going again; get to the start much earlier so that I wouldn't be squatting in the (gents - sorry guys) loo when the gun went off; train harder!

I would like to report the most memorable conversation I heard on the route. Two guys in their late twenties or early thirties:

"I don't know why the f*** I decided to run this again."

"How are the piles? Are they holding up?"

"Yeah, the big one hasn't come out so far"

If you read this, thanks for the chuckle guys.

Dave Carr, 4:55:52

What was the best moment? Shaking hands with the other idiot dressed as Tigger who was heading the other way on the highway; pointing out to the guy that out-sprinted me to the finish that we had both been beaten by a rhino.

And the worst moment? Realising that the heat was too much too run the whole way; getting passed by the rhino in the last 300 metres and realising there was nothing I could do about it; seeing a guy having a heart attack at 10 miles.

The biggest surprise? Getting home to find myself on the marathon highlights show!

What would you do differently? Don't run as a Tigger: whilst the adoration is good, it is darned hot in there. What was the key to your success? Sheer bloody mindedness, as ever.

Ham, 4:59:53

What a fantastic day! The crowds where out of this world. I had a great first 20, feeling good and keeping up and chatting with Jane the RW's 10 minute/mile pacer, who was doing a great job and going very well. Then, all of a sudden, at about 21ish miles, I had a very sharp painful stitch in my stomach (looking back I think may have been due to dehydration) which forced me to result to a walk, but at least I was able to finish.

The crowds, seeing I was in a lot of pain, were fantastic, shouting my name and willing me on, and the course showers where a welcoming sight just cooling you enough before getting back in the blazing sun.

Again the organisation, marshalls, first aiders and everyone else there to help on the big day where all top dog, making the day run like clockwork.

I hope everyone who started with Jane managed to finish with her and those who didn't finish with her, I hope you still made it over the line.

A totally fantastic day just wishing I could of finished in the form that I had started with.

The Red-faced Ancient Marathon runner, 4:18

Yet another great day. I little imagined when I started to run two years ago at the age of 60 that I would by now have completed about 10 half-marathons and three full marathons. I did have to lose over four stone in the process, but it has all been worthwhile.

The 2005 FLM which was my second FLM was very hard work. I broke the standard rule and started too fast. Nevertheless I reached 15 miles, where my family were the loudest cheerleaders, in 2 hours 15 minutes (9-minute/miles) but then fell apart. I finished in just over 4:18, four minutes ahead of last year. At the finish I vowed ‘never again’ but New York sounds great fun and my charity, the Myasthenia Gravis Association have just informed me that they have reserved a place for me for the 2006 FLM. Perhaps their enthusiasm has something to with my generous sponsors who have so far donated in excess of £26,000 over the two London Marathons.

I love the London Marathon with the atmosphere, the crowds, and fellow runners, with all their special stories to tell but most of all I love the admiration of my wife, the astonishment of my daughter, the bewilderment of my son-in-law and kind words from friends and business colleagues, even if they think I am stark raving mad.

Cinders, 4:53

The best moment and worst was missing the start by being stuck in the loo queue but managing to see the elite mens’ start in Greenwich and then legging it to rejoin the Blackheath start in time!

Well I'd certainly invest in some sun cream another time, as I'm a bit lobster right now and I found the Supergirl outfit I'd run in was a little hot. Next time I'll have to use my superpowers for a faster time!

All in all a fantastic day and hope to be back next year ;-)

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Discuss this article

I've run two London marathons before and I thought this one was awful. There were far too many people on the course, far too many people in pens they shouldn't have been in (so they were getting in the way of faster runners right from the start) and a ridiculous number of plastic bottles on the floor. It was dangerous in many ways - I saw lots of people falling over the bottles, and many frustrated runners (me included) who didn't get the time they wanted due to the sheer volume of people and the incorrect placement of runners in the start pens.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:12

Do another one. There are other places they run them and other races apart from marathons as well.

How about IM Germany next year?
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:18

I loved it, loved the whole day start to end.

Yes, there were lots of walkers in front me and a few water stations had no water, but didn't stop my enjoyment of it.

As Gumps says, lots of other marathons to do which are far less crowded.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:25

Why moan about it now though????
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:27

Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:35

Lochaber is on the same day as London in 2006, lovely open roads, beautiful scenery and everyone very friendly. Terrific marshalls.

BTW there is a whole section on FLM why are you posting this on General.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:37

It's a trick ! The forms for 2006 are out now - Sarah is trying to put off about 120,000 applicants so she gets in straight away !
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:38

Hi Sarah, unfortunately that's the way FLM seems to be now and I can't imagine it'll get any better.

The only way to avoid the crowd if you really want to continue doing London is to get a Championship qualifying time I'm afraid. Personally I only did it this year because I got the time, otherwise I wouldn't bother.

I'm doing New Forest in September, which might not have the crowd support of London, but I understand it's a scenic course and no worry of barging or tripping over bottles.

Honestly, if you really didn't enjoy this years, then I'd not even think about doing next year, do a different one and enjoy it!

Good luck:o)
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:40


Stop telling everyone about Lochaber. There'll be no places left for us.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:40

Trip to Seville ;-)
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:48

I hated every moment of it, Sarah, and swore I'd never run it again until I can get a GFA place.

So, I'll be running it again when I'm 80.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 15:51

I loved it - the whole atmosphere was terrific. And I have sent my application in for next year already.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 16:01

I only put in a moan because I was surprised to see how many people thought it was amazing. I wanted to see if I was the only person on the site who thought it was actually quite bad.
I definitely will not be doing the Flora London again - thanks for the tips on the others, I may well have a look at these.

Posted: 28/07/2005 at 16:28

You mean a lot of people run the FLM???

Posted: 28/07/2005 at 16:30

37000 or so Jon - not that many I guess............

Sarah - if you look at some of the old threads in the FLM forum I think you will find lots of people have moans about FLM and as said - if you didn't like it, don't do it again.........but for many peeps it's a very special race and so they will put up with slow runners in front/people in inappropriate pens/bottles everywhere........

and as for bottles everywhere - what would you want?? no drinks at all?? somewhere nice to chuck the bottle into?? take all your own drink?? that is a stupid moan imho - the drinks are free and plentiful and chucking the bottles into the crowds on the side is both stupid and dangerous - especially as many are still half or more full.

Posted: 28/07/2005 at 17:30

Sarah, do what I did, get a bit stuck in the queue for the loo, miss the gun going off and hey presto, a few thousand people less in the start pens when you get there :-)

Posted: 28/07/2005 at 17:37

I had exactly the same experience in FLM in 2002 (or was it 2001? I forget).

Outcome - haven't done it since. I now aim for the Abingdon each October and the Duchy (in darkest wildest Cornwall) each March. Both excellent events, mostly rural so pit stops not an issue, enough folk to have someone to race or pace against without being crowded.

FLM is fine for the fast guys and for the charity joggers, but if you're somewhere inbetween it's not so hot. IMHO of course.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 17:40

Well if Sarah isnt going to apply for FLM then its one less entry before mine in the ballot.
I did it this year as my very first marathon and loved every minute of the five and a half hours it took me to complete the course.
I've got my form filled in and ready to post.

2006 here we come.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 17:42

Loved every minute of it and have sent my form in. Definitely the support which made it extra special for me. What is the support like at Lochaber and others, please? Is there enough to keep the slower runner (like wot I am) going at the low points?

Lochaber does sound lovely, I must say.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 17:49

I had never done London before until this year and will probably never do it again. Enjoyed the experience and with it being the 25th anniversary then it made it something special.
Yup, it was too busy but I expected that and that is the main reason I had never done it before. Like a few of you have mentioned.....give me a quiet marathon like Lochaber as I will be travelling up to Fort William next year. I had a great start position at London and never missed a step from overcrowding but when I was doubling back along the road at the 21-22 mark I was amazed at the number of runners on the other side of the road who were still dodging in and out of slower runners!!
London is what it is...a great success in raising money for much needed charities...and...if it encourages the 'Joe Bloggs' of our nation to start running and get into a fitter and healthier lifestyle...then who am I to knock it?!
I will choose to do the smaller marathons like Lochaber 'cos that is what I like to do. London will always be one of the biggest marathons in the world 'cos it allows those who are new to the experience to participate without feeling out of place or inadequate...and that is good. ;-)
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 19:46

try Loch Ness Marathon next, less crowded, amazing place for a run, brill views, challenging, all in all good crack !!
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 20:46

I always thought I was one of those people that wouldn't like London, in fact I only entered cause I turned up at the club one night and we had a place going begging. But I have to say I loved it. It wasn't the volume of support that made it special it was the way individuals had sweets and oranges and all kinds of stuff for you to eat. Running along slapping kids hands. Every pub seemed to have a band or music pumping out of it. From not being bothered before I really hope I get in through the ballot now.

As for racing it I know some people were frustrated but I didn't find I was held up at all - I was running about 3.15 pace from the blue start until my legs packed up about mile 19 and ran/walked the rest at the side of the road or where possible the pavement.
Posted: 28/07/2005 at 20:54

On the loo front, hang around near Pen 1 for a bit, pretend you're a celeb runner and hey presto, there's a nice bunch of clean loos with no queue at all.

then start the long walk back to Pen X...
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 09:55

FLM is what it is and you either love it or hate it.

If you hate it then bugger off and do a different one.

I've done two FLM and three others, Dublin, Manchester and Edinburgh.

FLM wins hands down everytime and on one of my FLM races I did get a PB so it isn't a slow race for everyone!
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:17

Will soon send off my fourth ballot application, what's the betting I don't get in this time either?

(Cue: Barnsley Politburo with: "Do enough training and get a GFA!")

I've only done Rotterdam before, and there wasn't much of a problem with elbow room. But jeepers! Was I bored! Perhaps I need some interesting scenery to gee me up (there was plenty of support at Rotterdam).

Or maybe I just find marathons as boring as hell?
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:24

Biff have you never been accepted for FLM? How frustrating if not!

It took me 5 years then I ran it and got a GFA. Got a place through my running club this year but gave it to another who hadn't been accepted for 4 years too! Sadly not too fit at the mo so back in the ballot this year.

I live in Manchester so FLM is both time consuming and can be expensive but it's worth every penny and if I don't run it I come down to support, great day out!

Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:28

Upon reflection, I just find marathons as boring as hell.

It's like watching EastEnders Omnibus. It just goes on, and on, and on ... and nothing much happens, but eventually it's over and you're thankful.

Give me a nippy 5-miler or a big city half any day.

Anything over a half and it's time to get the Pro Plus out.
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:28

I'll get there in the end, Wolfy!

I have to do FLM anyway, because some people will only come to watch me run if I do that (which sucks if you ask me), and I decided I wanted to do FLM before my Rotterdam experience.

It would be interesting to compare the two races ...
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:30

LOL I'm the opposite I find shorter runs a waste of time to travel too and can't get too excited about them where as the marathon really does it for me.

Each to there own!
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:33

Done it 6 times over 12 years, so I'm probably biased. Apply every year as a matter of course, but when I don't get in there a numerous other options (NF, Neolithic).

Definitley disgaree with the timing thing.
Ran in 2001 from pen 3- took me 1.14 to cross the start line targetting 3.30. Pen 2 in 2004 and took just over 30s.
Have also ran from pen 8 (charity) but that's part of the fun. BTW isn't there chip timing, and greatest pb potential, atmosphere, encouragement, plenty of runners after the same time. Even when I started from 8, and was a 4hr runner then, I was into 8.30/9 min/miling by the merger at 3miles anyway, by this stage most runners have 'found their stride'.

Worth it for the experience alone.
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:40

GFA is a bit of a duffer too. Notice from this year that vets starts from 41++ for a sub 3.15. Bit sexist too, with any woman uner 55 capable of sub 3.45 getting a GFA. I trust this will change when more ladeez apply through the ballot.

Biff - I was rejected every year from 1995-2000 inclusive. They only brought in the 5 rejects andyou get auto entry 2(3?) yrs ago.
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 10:44

I think what annoyed me more than anything was when an acquaintance of mine sent off her application form 3 days after the closing date, had never applied before and really wasn't serious about running it and she got in!

It's all a con and a very frustrating one at that!
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 11:04

They've had the auto-entry thing for my last three entries, so they must have just brought it in then.

It's a good job I didn't get in in 2003, because I really didn't have a clue about running then (still don't! :-)) )
Posted: 29/07/2005 at 11:43

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