My 2005 London Marathon

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


Posted: 24 April 2005

5 HOURS+ (Page 9) Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Colin Gibbs, 6:53

Best thing: the amazing, wonderful crowds; hearing my name shouted all the time (I had it on my vest).

Worst thing: 18-19 miles, blisters on both feet and cramp in my right thigh, though I still managed to run all the way up The Mall in agony and ecstasy. I cried when I got the medal.

What I would do differently: a) more training and b) start of slower and try to walk earlier on.

The key to my success: one mile at a time - and after 20 miles, I kept saying to myself ‘it’s just a walk to the shops’.

Tim Scott, 5:38

What a long way 26.2 miles is! I got to halfway in about 2:22, thinking I was in control, but then my head lost control of my legs and I could not make them move.

Two years ago I was coming to the end of a long spell in hospital following pancreatitis. I watched the marathon and said to myself that I would be able to beat the man in the deep sea diving gear. I didn't see him this year; a womble or three overtook me, but what a beautiful way to see London.

Funniest moment - "Don't Fear the Reaper" playing as I waited at the red start.

Worst moment – being not even halfway round when you hear that the race has already been won.

Best moment - more than five hours to reflect on what fantastic support I had in hospital, from my wife and kids, family, friends and colleagues. What a race! Thanks to Flora and everybody involved in arranging such a great event.

CdK, 5:47

Photo: www.richk.co.uk

The day had dawned! Like many thousands of people, I had sat and watched FLM over the years and announced at the end that 'next year I will be doing that!' It took me 25 years to get to the start line, but there I was on Blackheath Common with many thousands of other 'marathoners'.

I had actually entered last year and lo and behold had won a ballot place (I NEVER win anything - not even an argument!). For personal reasons I had to defer until this year. To be there and on the 25th! I was looking around me and talking to friends, but felt very dreamlike, as if it were happening to someone else.

Suddenly we were off. I was in Pen 9 (where the party people are), so I think it took about 15 minutes or so to cross the line. It was much hotter than we had been led to expect, but that was okay, we were all in a party mood! I could not believe it when we reached the five-mile mark, I was just cruising and enjoying it, chatting away to my pacing group of 11-minute milers. The worst bit for me was when someone tripped and fell close to me as we were going around Cutty Sark, and someone else crashed into her. I worried about them both from there on. I do hope they managed to finish.

My knee decided to object somewhat from about mile 10, which slowed me up but didn't threaten to stop me finishing. I was there after all that time and I was going over that finish line, come what may. The people on the course offering massages kept me going - a quick loosening of the painful bit and I was able to carry on for another few miles.

It was at Tower Bridge when the crowds were so encouraging and supportive, I suddenly thought 'Oh my God, I am doing the London Marathon'. That's when I almost broke - that's when the tears threatened and when my throat closed with trapped sobs. I thought about the reason I was running this particular day and the money that people had so generously given me. It was almost too much to cope with. The support at mile 17 was fantastic - the shouts of encouragement and the look of respect in my son's eyes were worth every inch of that race.

Much of the race was a blur - the memories are patchy and probably not in any time order at all! One of the most memorable highlights for me was following the guy in the leopard-skin thong - kept me going for miles, that did! I was hoping to reach the finish line in five hours - but as the time went on it mattered less and less. As the wonderful John Bingham said at the Expo - why rush when you are having such a good time!

I will be 'doing London' again just to see where I have been! But this one was so special, you only ever do a first marathon once. Many, many thanks for all the support and encouragement.

Diana D, 5:32

This was my first Marathon, and I am a beginner, having started running last October. I haven't ruled out doing another one, and it was certainly a fantastic day.

What would I do differently? Probably allow more time to get to the start, as I hadn't realised that the times given on the timetable for trains to Blackheath wouldn't be accurate. I ended up arriving at around nine, which didn't give me much time to find my bearings.

My goal was just to finish, really, as I had raised a lot of money for my charity Meningitis Trust, in memory of my grandson, but I was hoping for 5:30.

The worst time was around mile 20, when things were starting to really hurt, and it was a real effort of will to keep running. The best time was having the energy to run from the Houses of Parliament, and seeing my husband and friends cheering me on in Birdcage Walk as the sun shone on Buckingham Palace up ahead.

I was glad that I started out with the RW 'Get you Round' pacer, as in the end, my second half was only 17 minutes slower than the first (and that included 10 minutes queuing for the loo!) - so I was slow, but steady

Little Nemo, 5:26

First, a big thank you to the Forum Team 7 at 17 miles - thanks for the jelly babies!

The best bit was the crowd: they really do cheer your name if it's on your vest, and it's just magical. And just before the finish when you can hear the "What have you done today..." song. I know it's a bit cheesy but I really DID feel proud and I definitely welled up as I got into the Mall.

The worst moment was when the blister on my right foot burst at 19 miles. Luckily I'd remembered to carry the plaster I got at the Expo with me so was able to patch myself up. Second worst moment was around the 21-mile point when you turn back towards the river and you can see the Millennium Dome. All I could think was that I had run for hours but had probably only done three miles as the crow flies...

The biggest surprise was how much support I got from my charity on the day. Every time I passed the Shelter volunteers I got a huge cheer and then I was met by one of the volunteers at the end. It was so nice to meet someone with a big smile who then helped carry my bags to their reception for a cup of coffee and some pasta.

I would have been happy with any time under 5:40, so was thrilled with 5:26:10, and that even included one and a half miles of walking at the end. This time last year I could hardly run at all as my knee was a bit dodgy, so I'm amazed by what I've managed in only 11 months of real training.

What I’d do differently: I would definitely do some more long runs; perhaps just one 20-miler isn't quite enough. I will also try not to go off too fast at my next marathon; I got a bit carried away with the excitement and the crowd!

I've got a bottle of champagne but haven't felt up to it yet. Maybe in a couple of days when I've planned my next race!

SchoolRunner 5:16

I never actually intended to run the Flora London Marathon this year. I mean, no one ever gets in first time do they?

With five months of training under my belt, long runs religiously accomplished, I set myself a target of under five hours. It seemed realistic and psychologically I didn't fancy the thought of being on my feet for any longer!

The worst moment, then, had to be at 10 miles when I wanted to walk, closely followed by the idea that I wouldn't finish in time to get a medal.

The biggest surprise was when I fell over a glove at about mile 17. Yes, a glove. I suppose that must also count as my most embarrassing moment. Anyway, a big thank you to the kind gentleman who picked me up. I hope I didn't wreck a PB attempt.

What would I do differently? Perhaps change my contact lens prescription or learn how to do a rain dance. Sorry, but I can't run in the heat.

I can't think of one single "best moment". Let's just say I'm glad I did it.

hkp, 6:05

I just wanted to say what a brilliant experience I've had: the training, the nerves beforehand and the day itself... what a rollercoaster!

The best bit for me was meeting so many amazing people, forumites in Greenwich Park and many other runners on the way around, and the fantastic crowds who willed me on, even after my legs decided not to want to run any more.

My biggest regret is not stopping to say hello at Mile 17!

Most of all though, a massive thanks to my amazing family and friends who popped up all over the place to cheer me on, and big congratulations to my mate Alix, who narrowly missed out on beating the Cheeky Girls...

Robert Littlejohn, 5:05

Good news - I did it in 5:05.

The lows: a very painful toe just as I went over Tower Bridge, getting overtaken by Paddington Bear, a caterpillar, a camel and a rhino.

The highs: seeing the family at mile 15 and mile 18, finishing, being cheered on by the crowd, passing several superheroes, regaining some dignity by re-passing Paddington Bear, the camel (and one of his family members) and the rhino.

At about the six-mile mark I came up to a group of ladies who were running closely behind the behind of a man wearing some sort of loin cloth. I quickly moved on in case people got the wrong idea about me!

The crowds were great and cheered us on all the way around. A tip is to write your name on the front of your running top so that people call out your name - another tip is that, unless you are a Cheeky Girl, if you run close to Paddington Bear people will always cheer on the silly bear rather than the poor old human. Another tip is that if children stick their hands out for you to give them a high-five remember to wipe your hand first as you may leave a trail of traumatised children with sticky, sweaty hands (sorry!)

My targets were to raise lots of money for Asthma UK, run all the 26.2 miles and finish under five hours. With everybody's help I have raised over £3600, which is brilliant. I just missed out on the five hours, and, apart from three minutes, ran all the way. The only reason I walked was that at mile 23 I twisted my ankle stepping on a bottle. I am not too disappointed. I also ran at my target pace of 11-minute miles but didn't know that from mile 16 onwards, more and more people would start to walk, making running very difficult.

My final and most important tip is that if you ever run a marathon, remember to immediately write down how you felt afterwards (the ‘I will never do this again’ feeling). Two days afterwards, I am starting to think about doing it all over again (I need help!)

Alan Cooper, 6:22

This was my first marathon which I very much enjoyed, although I had a spell with illness that meant I couldn’t train. Although I managed a 10K in 1:13 and a half in 2:45 my finish was disappointing at 6:22:52. One thing I recommend, and I was lucky enough to have, is a leg massage within hours of the finish. It made my recovery so much easier.

To have that medal at the age of 66 was fantastic, and I have had people come up to me just wanting to touch it.

If I did the marathon again next year, and at the moment I do not think I will, I would keep up my training and build on what I have already attained and in 2006 I know I would do it less than five hours. We shall see; maybe I will change my mind.

It was an experience that I shall never forget. The worst part was running through Docklands, which never seems to end.

Nick Miller, 5:05

Having applied every year since 1999, completing the London Marathon has been a serious ambition of mine. So when I received official notification of my acceptance, I was completely shocked. Panic set in and I tried to read as much advice as I could. I settled for a training plan that began seriously in January 2005 and took me through until the race day. This included short runs, hill runs and quicker runs during the week, and some pretty tough long runs at weekends.

A couple of injuries worried me at times, but by the time the day of the marathon came, I was filled with confidence that I had done ample training to enjoy my day and comfortably complete the race with an anticipated finish of around 4:30.

With three or four days to go I was so excited that I could barely sleep. However, the sheer volume of people on the journey there confirmed everything I had read: that this was one of the greatest events in the annual British sporting calendar. Not only that, but my 25th birthday was to fall in the same year as the 25th anniversary of the great race. Beautiful weather and the incredible atmosphere on Blackheath put me in a relaxed mood and helped to calm my nerves. There was an amazing sense of occasion at this point that is hard to describe.

As a keen sportsman, the opportunity to play sport at the very highest level is rare. The opportunity to have Shane Warne bowl at me in cricket or to tackle Martin Johnson playing rugby is virtually non-existent and only available to sportsmen of the highest order. And yet, Paula Radcliffe was about to start, and Sir Steve Redgrave was a few hundred yards away and about to race. This must be one of very few events where you actually compete against not only the finest British sportsmen and women, but also some of the world’s finest. Although ‘competition’ is a very loose word in this case, you are still in the same race as them.

The first five miles of the race were comfortable and the crowds very noisy. The live music give this a real carnival atmosphere and the support around the Cutty Sark was a real adrenaline hit. At about nine miles I got a blister that started to get painful - I covered this in plaster and special treatments, nothing was going to ruin my big day. This was the worst moment of the race for me; I had not experienced blisters at all in training (even on a 20-mile run). To discover these after nine miles put serious doubts into my head before the halfway mark. As I reached Tower Bridge, the atmosphere totally changed and I suddenly felt that everyone was watching me and that I was the focus of thousands of people.

The serious trouble for me started at about 16 miles. The area around Docklands and Canary Wharf is a quieter spot and the temptation to stop and walk grew. As we headed west back towards Tower Bridge I had a phone call from my parents and girlfriend to say that they were around the 21-mile-mark and on the right hand side. This was a little pick-up and I promised myself that I would run until I found them.

Stopping to say hello nearly proved fatal; I felt physically sick and my legs began to seize up. The pain I experienced at this point was like nothing I have ever experienced before. To say this was a surprise would be a lie, due to the amount that I had read in books, but nothing prepared me for pain on this scale. At this point sheer determination and a few well-chosen words (regularly punctuated with very colourful language and a touch of French!) from a well-wishing complete stranger managed to set me back on my way towards the finish.

Towards the finish, the crowds along the Embankment were astonishing and it felt like I was winning the race just because of the sheer support. The pain completely flew out of the window for the last two miles, and it was impossible not to smile and simply enjoy the moment, soaking up an atmosphere that I will probably never experience again.

The Embankment stretch, as you approach Big Ben, was the best moment of the race. Representatives of MacMillan Cancer Relief, for whom I have raised nearly £3000, gave me an almighty cheer and round of applause as I came past Buckingham Palace and into the final straight. The last three miles has provided me with feelings and memories that I will take away and treasure forever.

If I don’t run the race next year then I will definitely watch, support and participate in what feels like a fantastic street party that would be hard to match anywhere.

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