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 5) Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Dazza b, 4:09

My best and worst moment was after 23 miles when I discovered it hurt my knees more to walk than to run. The pain was bad, but by plodding along I managed to complete the course without stopping - one of the goals I set myself at the outset.

All in all it was a magnificent day; at times the support from the crowds was so immense it made me feel like I was the only one running the race. It's definitely inspired me to get training for next year's marathon.

The keys to finishing the course were doing the best I could to stick to the RW schedule for 4hr running from Day 1 and then joining the 4hr forum for day-to-day support. Wouldn't have had a clue what I was doing otherwise and wouldn't have recorded anything near my time of 4hr 09 mins.

Duracell, 4:01:11

I don't think any other running event will top that! What a day. The weather, the support, the buzz and feeling I got as I ran round were all bloody FANTASTIC.

Best moment was running along the Highway and around Canary Wharf - what LOUD support. Worst moment was missing the start, due to the queue for the toilets. I always said I wanted to run a marathon and said it would be London. I said that I would only do it once, but I reckon I will be back for more the day was that good.

Iain Williams, 4:13

I completed the run with minimal training behind me. Because of persistent knee problems over the last year that were aggravated by increasing my mileage, my training consisted of two runs (the "long one" being about 10 miles) and two swims per week.

I somehow managed to get round, though the last four miles were grim. Support from the crowd overcame the pain from my legs. I'm very stiff post-race, but interestingly my knees seem to have been cured!

Next year? Who knows.

Paul Craven, 4:28:48

A Question of Sport?

This was my third London Marathon (and my fourth overall) and it was certainly the best - not in terms of time, but in terms of enjoyment. If I had a gameplan it was simple: try to run consistent 10-minute miles - certainly avoid going faster, and try hard not to slow down. My splits suggest this strategy was almost maintained, and I finished with just enough gas in the tank to smile and pose for a photo with the fragrant Sue Barker.

How best can I describe the London Marathon in 2005? To take chanteuse Martha Tilston out of context "...it's music, magic, come together for a tribal dance..." The atmosphere was fantastic - the crowds appeared even more supportive than ever, amidst the drummers and bands, the outstretched hands, the kids offering fruit and sweets, yellow and green balloons everywhere, East End drinkers... plus my mobile kept bleeping with texts of support from friends and family, including my sons, George, Oscar and Charlie. (This may have had something to do with the family sweepstake to predict my time!)

The runners, wow!... On the road with Wombles, Elvis, Steve Rider, laughing policemen, Simon Hughes MP, a rhino, Paula Radcliffe... (well I saw 6 out of the seven at least).

By far the most humbling experience, however, are those runners you see with photographs of loved ones on their back, especially those of children no longer with us. It puts a lot of "normal" problems into genuine perspective. Thank you, therefore, to friends and colleagues who sponsored me - it certainly helps in many ways.

The day is not about sadness, however, but about pure unbridled joy and celebration, even if, as a runner, it doesn't always feel so good at the time. Let's face it, on marathon day you witness the best side of humanity.

April 17th 2005 finished for me with a physio-massage session, courtesy of my charity, Barnardo's, followed by three pints of Guinness with dear friends. Needless to say, I slept very soundly that night.

jci, 4:42

I have an hour to wait in the runners’ start area. The conventional advice to those in a pre-event situation is to banish all negative thoughts. Well, I was very lucky to get a place in the ballot; the sun is shining from a clear sky; and my being able to even contemplate taking part is a minor miracle in itself. So I have no negative thoughts at all. Must be something wrong with me.

I join the mass start at 9.45am, and take 5 minutes to cross the starting line. I exchange good wishes with several acquaintances, including one running in his 319th marathon. As we head towards the Thames at Woolwich, an ambulance threads through the runners, blue light flashing.

I have caught up with a ‘Runners World’ pacer who is carrying a sign which says ’10 mins per mile’. This is faster than I am likely to sustain for 26 miles, and as we pass the Woolwich Co-operative Funeral Centre I decide to slow down.

The support and encouragement from the crowds is fantastic throughout the race. I am wearing a British Heart Foundation vest inscribed with my name in large letters, so I get lots of personalised shouts of encouragement. The BHF ‘cheering point’ contingent at Tower Bridge is particularly vociferous (and good-looking), so I slow down to wave enthusiastically back.

After Tower Bridge the organisers have thoughtfully arranged a 10-mile circuit of the Isle of Dogs, passing Canary Wharf. At 22 miles, heading back towards Tower Bridge, I hear a familiar voice amongst the crowd noise. I backtrack for 10 metres and embrace my family. Seldom have I been so pleased to see them. At this point I feel OK…

But heading along the Embankment after 24 miles I am compelled to embark on a regime of one minute walking followed by one minute jogging. I make it past Big Ben and on to the finish in an official time of 4 hours 42 minutes, or 10 mins 40 secs per mile. This is a rather disgraceful time for a club runner, and is due to inadequate training. But nevertheless, I did finish! And in 20,404th position.

Arrangements for re-uniting with friends and family in Horse Guards Parade are chaotic, due to sheer pressure of numbers. It is fair to say that I wasn’t feeling too good at this point. In fact I saw some interesting hallucinations and was rather ill. But eventually I was scooped up by the family and taken home for a very welcome bath.

The scales indicate that I shed 2.7kg (just under 6lb) during the run. The usual calculations indicate that this was 2.3kg of water and only 400gms of lard, which may explain why I wasn’t feeling at my best.

Afterthoughts: I enjoyed it all apart from the last half hour or so; I would have been in a great mess without support from friends and family; and if I do another marathon it would only be after more and better training. The London Marathon is clearly a wonderful event, essentially a serious race for the elite runners followed up by a charity fun-run.

But it wouldn’t be possible to justify closing down central London for a day just to please a few thousand running fanatics – it has to be a community festival for everyone. Hence all the fancy dress and enthusiastic fundraising. Perhaps charitable fundraising has partly replaced organised religion as an expression of community solidarity.

Pam Lay, 4:44:40

I was running with my daughter and my training partner. I turned and saw Scooby Doo running alongside us... and ran into the central reservation bollard. It really hurt!

I wanted to finish under 4:45 and finished in a credible 4:44:40.

Claire Lalaguna, 4:51

What was the best moment (excluding the finish)? Getting to mile 18 and not hitting the wall....

And the worst moment? Starting to cry at mile 19 - couldn't believe I was still running...

The biggest surprise? Or the most memorable moment? Has to be the finish - turning the corner into the Mall, having enough juice left in the tank to crank it up and sprint (well that's what it felt like!) to the end.

What would you do differently? And indeed what was the key to your success? All credit to Runner's World Personal Training programme - I followed it to the last word and completed the 26.2 miles without stopping once or walking and without feeling like I was going to die....fantastic experience, definitely to be repeated - maybe a tad faster next time....

Paul Brown, 4:00:30

Well what a day! Could it have been any hotter? This was my first marathon and it was fantastic! I finished in 4hrs and 30 seconds. I was hoping for a little less but I’m very happy with the time and my preparation. I was determined to enjoy the experience and I think that a faster pace may have taken its toll. As it stands I have very happy memories and I'll keep them for a long time.

The only real lull, for me anyway, was at about 16-17 miles. This was soon dismissed with a few more jelly beans and a chorus of "oggy oggy oggy"! I had purchased an isotonic, glucose gel and was determined to keep it in reserve until 20-21 miles, but my god I was tempted at 16-17. I would have purchased several but for my partner (Nicola) telling me,"You're not Paula Radcliffe, you know." Embarrassed, I agreed (give the women their due though boys, if we had our way we'd buy enough belts and gadgets to keep all 38,000 runners going!).

Let me tell you this, take as many of these things as you can carry! At 21 miles I took it, five minutes later… Boom! There was a new set of legs under me. It was incredible. At the finish I waited for Nicola to come in, and one of the first things she said to me was, "How amazing was that gel stuff?" I just smiled and said, "See!"

Finally I would just like to thank everybody for proving that finishing a marathon can get you a first class honours in the Ministry of Silly Walks, at least for a day or so. Very funny :-)

Well done all.

Jules, 4:42:52

London was a first for me and I definitely hope it won't be my last. I did almost all my training alone, stuck religiously to my training programme and came in at 4:42:52. Although it was a bit short of my 4:30 target, I was chuffed to bits.

I followed my race plan and did the second half six minutes faster than the first - thanks to RW for the advice. I hadn't bargained on the hot weather, or the amount of weaving in and out of people that was involved but still that didn't take the smile off my face that was there pretty much all the way.

The best bit.. someone shouting at me from the crowds at about 25 miles that I still looked "fantastic"; the worst bit - forgetting to put sun cream on the backs of my legs - ow! A school-girl error from a redhead!

Mark Gotts, 4:40:24

What a wonderful experience. As a first-timer it surpassed all my expectations. People had told me it would be more like a carnival and to enjoy the moment, and for the most part I did. The sheer number of runners and the level of support was awesome - a big thanks to all those in the crowd that cheered me on, even the guy on the Mall who shouted, "Come on Mark, run, you lazy bugger," as I took my final walk.

My best moment was seeing my three-year-old son, Benjamin, shouting out, "Come on Daddy" at the 22-mile point. After the torment of the Isle of Dogs it really spurred me on for the last four miles. Oh yes, and the bunny girl in a G-string - that had to hurt.

The worst moment was at 8 miles when my ITB injury flared up and I feared that I wouldn't be able to go on. However, I tightened my Cho-pat strap and encouraged by the sheer determination and enthusiasm of those around me and the encouragement from the crowd I managed to carry on and run through it.

The biggest surprise: not feeling bad that I didn't get my expected time of 4hrs. Normally I'd have been gutted, but given the weather conditions and my knee injury I'm really happy with the time I got and just feel an overwhelming sense of achievement.

What I would do differently? Perhaps a slower start given the conditions and less walk breaks, especially at the end. This time round, when I realised that I hadn't made my target time, I just wanted to savour the moment. Next time I will do more training miles and, as long as the leg holds up, will beat the 4hrs.

Alan Nutt, 4:45:32

This was my second London Marathon, and I tried the Get You Round schedule as my other was in 1999.

My best moment was actually getting to the start in plenty of time, enough to enjoy and soak up the atmosphere, something I had failed to do previously. My worst moment came at about eight miles when an ambulance passed by, it got me thinking about the poor runner inside and their relatives.

My biggest surprise was not being able to greet my wife who had been waiting patiently in Birdcage Walk, only to find her side of the road cordoned off! I would put sunscreen in my bag next time as the weather forecast was not quite correct, and I got extremely sunburnt. I got around by just setting my target from mile to mile.

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