In short: The only race to do .... In full: The chicken at wimbledon station, the crowd at Clapham, the toilets at waterloo, the wait to get in to blackheath, the marshall who ignored my red number so i could run on blue with my other half, the bag men from tnt, the balloons, the toilet cue, the wait, the off, the guy with stella who shouted come on fordy (at 10.30am) the bands, the rain, the places in south london i have never been too, TOWER BRIDGE !, the serpentine runners not running, Clic Sargent, the rain, Canary wharf, geoff on the samba band, the sign for pips and dave, the st johns peeps, water peeps, lucozade peeps, the guy with the jelly babies, the crowd at lower thames street, my kids, the embankment, pips digging deep. Beating Matthew Pinsent for the second time since junior trials 20 years ago. LOVE IT ... LOVE IT ALL
In short: Best - and most painfull running day of my life. In full: Great weather, perhaps a little too wet but a perfect temperature. Got through from pen 5 on the Red start in under 6 mins and we were already running quite freely. Started off slowly which felt like the right thing to do, first few miles were all over 9 mins. Crowds were great right from the beginning, amazing that so many people could be bothered on such a damp and grey morning, passed a church in Charlton somewhere playing Chariots of Fire on the church bells which gave me goose bumps. Running into Greenwich the noise of the crowds really picked up but Tappers and I became a little concerned that we weren’t also picking up the pace. Did a few miles at around our target pace of 8.35 from about mile 7 to 10 but the tightness of the field (and my own desperate need for a “mini-paula”) not to mention the daunting task ahead, held us back. Went across Tower Bridge still feeling reasonably strong and relaxed even tried to smile at the huge crowd and slap a few kiddies hands on the way over. By the time we went through half we were already more than 4 mins outside our target but I still hoped that we would have the space and energy to recoup at least some of the lost time. Found it very tough going around the Isle of Dogs up to Canary Wharf and I had thought this would be one of my better sections as I had spent so much of my training time on the same streets but at 17 things really started to hurt. My wife and kids had been instructed exactly where to stand on South Quay Road but unfortunately decided to move to the other side of the road to get a better view before I got there. I was intently scanning faces in the crowd on the right while they were on the left and needless to say we missed each other. This was a surprisingly big mental blow and seemed to really knock my pace too. Thankfully less than a mile later on the Wharf my team from work who were pulling an all-weekend shift had come down to cheer and I actually saw them and they shouted masses of encouragement, suddenly I had a little spring in my step again. By this time Tappers had dropped back on the expectation that I would stop to greet the family; when I didn’t I was on my own – though the concept is meaningless in this race. So much for the “showbiz 6,” the last miles were agony. I could feel the strength draining out of me with almost every step but again the crowds were massive and very vocal, there was no way I was going to stop unless the cramp got me and I could feel it was close. Dragged myself into Birdcage Walk after doing the last few miles pretty close to target pace but not close enough to make a difference. Had absolutely nothing left in my legs to make a final dash over the last 800m and was really just happy to realise only then that I would definitely finish. Final time 3:50:24 – target had been 3:45:00 but was very happy to break 4 hours on my first attempt. Also happy to have managed a negative split, only by 56 secs but at least it means our strategy was right; and you look for private victories once the thing is finished and the real pain kicks in. Took ages to meet up with the family – not made any more pleasant by having to stand in the rain on Horse Guards Parade in wet shoes and socks. Everyone was happy to see me but Sophs soon suggested that perhaps the medal should come off, it having lost its cool factor in a matter of minutes in her eyes, shall we say I successfully negotiated a few more hours. All went up to Tiger Tiger, met up with Tappers and the famous KatieB and her family, and I had something to eat courtesy of Anthony Nolan, which was a bit cheeky seeing as though I ran for CCETSA. Decisions about more marathons or FLM 2007 are along way off, thankfully.
In short: First marathon - would definitely do it again! In full: This was my very first marathon and although I needed 5:55 to finish I'm very proud of my achievement. And it was my birthday too on Sunday – I turned 30, so it was extra special. I was completely overwhelmed by the continuous support throughout the entire course, especially for us slower runners/walkers at the back of the pack. I had great fun and would definitely do it again! Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: First time, but not the last In full: I'd read about FLM, of course I had, but nothing quite prepared me for the reality. The Green Start was probably quieter than the others, but all the better for it in terms of loo queues, certainly for the ladies - less than ten minutes both times (pre-race nerves...). Got off to a fairly clean start (sub-8 minute first mile, despite the congestion) and had fun high-fiving the kids. Then settled into my 7:40-ish m/m race pace. And then the noise started - it felt like from Cutty Sark onwards there was barely a quiet moment. Drinks stations worked fine, as did energy drinks, and I'm sure the jelly babies I munched every three miles helped stop me hit the wall. OK, so my 10K splits are positive (yes, each 10K was slower than the one before - but not much!), but I PB'd by 6.5 minutes. And my supporters tracked me down three times, which gave me a real lift. Best moment (apart from finishing, natch) was probably hearing a mate yell my name as I went along the Embankment, after the 25 mile mark. My ears were almost literally ringing from the noise, so that probably says a great deal about my mate's voice projection(!). I must admit I turned onto Birdcage Walk with a tear in my eye from the emotion of it all - by then I could have walked and still set a PB, which was a great feeling. And I don't even look too bad in the photos available to date. What's not to like? Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Thought it'd be too cheesy but absolutely brilliant In full: I thought that this race might be too over the top, too commercial, too big, too everything... it was but in a perfect sense. Brilliant organisation, drinks stations galore, took me 17 seconds to cross the start line, the crowds were awesome, the course fantastic. Not a single fault. No doubt knocking 28mins off my pb helped make the day special too! Roll on 2007. I will be back Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Awesome...an incredible collective and personal experience In full: Wow - what a race and what a day!
Up to mile 24 I was 13 minutes ahead of my game plan - to do it in under 4 hours. I wouldn't say I was cruising, but I knew I had the extra time in the bag so if needed I could take my foot off the pedal.
Then it all started to go wrong! CRAMP! Oh my word! The pain - I had to keep stopping to stretch, frantically checking my watch.... the minutes were disappearing.
I went from doing sub 9 minute miles to it taking me half an hour to do the last 2!
Anyway - I made it, just! 3 hrs 59 minutes and 41 seconds.
I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to the guy who patted me on the back on The Mall when the finish line was in sight and offered to walk with me to the line. I told him to keep going as I was worried about not making it myself. Cheers fella - I think it must have been you that gave me the push that I needed to throw myself over the line, because I am still not sure how I did it. I can remember looking up at the finish and then at my watch which showed 30 seconds to go......
Hilights: - The start! - The incredible support - Crossing Tower Bridge - Seeing the Mrs cheering me on at Mile 15 - Seeing the elite men going the other way towards the finish - The Finish! (under 4 hours, yes! yes! yes!) - Unknown bloke on the Mall offering help!
Low points: - The cramp! - Getting beaten by Mr Pepperami! lol.
I have no idea how they managed to make the organisation of the whole day appear seamless. I guess it is a huge help having three separate starting points. No hanging around and everone was cheerful and very helpful.
In short: I'll never run a PB in London, but buckets of larfs keep me coming back... In full: Once again, London delivers on the feel-good factor in spades. The organisation is slick, the camaraderie is excellent and crowd support second to none. Yes it's very commercialised, yes it's all elbows for the first few miles, and I'm always well outside my PB - but this is one event where it really doesn't matter. Truly fabulous. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: A magical and humbling experience.... In full: I pulled out of last years race with injury, a fairly typical knee problem but it left me absolutely distraught at missing out. I had more injury concerns this time and in the last 7 weeks I've run 3 or 4 times, but I was determined not too miss out this year.
However, my previous disappointment, concerns and nerves were soon put in their place by the FLM experience from Greenwich Park all the way to the finish.
The camaraderie and determination amongst the runners, the support all the way, the fantastic event staff and scale of the event is truly inspiring. Thank you to all of you!
My highlights have to be The Chariots of Fire tune on the church bells after about 2 miles, the chorus of Boo's when the other Green and Blue starters came into view, Tower Bridge and the fantastic last mile.
In short: Awesome. Simply awesome. In full: How is that I ran 32 minutes slower than my only previous marathon and yet came out with a bigger grin than at any other race ever? Ahhhh London! Perfect organisation. Perfect support, ALL the way round. Wall schmall - who cares. I shuffled-jog-walked 6-7 miles and it doesn't matter a jot. Being overtaken by a pepperami and outsprinted by Tigger didn't even dampen my spirits. I recommend this race to EVERYONE. You have to do it. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Organisers need to think more about those trying to achieve a fast time In full: If your planning to do this in the future and want a sub 2.45 time, AVOID THE GREEN START. For some god forsaken reason the 'Celebrities' (if you can call them that)were placed on the START LINE. A calamity waiting to happen. Found myself trying to get round Sunday joggers/walkers in the first mile! Maybe the organisers should show some respect for those trying to achieve physically NOT FINANCIALLY. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Magical In full: I was concerned about my pen number and was right to be.I planned on 8 1/2 min miles and found myself in the pen behind the RW 11 minute mile pacer. The congestion meant it was mile 23 before I hit my target pace for the first time...but none of that matters. it was my first marathon, I managed under 4hrs, the crowd were amazing and I think I've begun a life long love affair. Well done to everybody concerned and thank you for an amazing day. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Want to do a marathon? Then do this one! In full: Fantastic place. Lochs and snow capped mountains. Great race. Flat(ish) and not crowded. Everyone very friendly, helpful and encouraging...even the slightly crazy guy at mile 5 blasting out rock music. Tea and sandwiches afterwards. Get your entries in early - it fills up quickly. Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: I have never had so much fun In full: Put your name on your shirt. At the front. The whole race passed by in one happy blur even though it actually took quite a lot longer than I'd hoped :-) Date of review: April 25, 2006
In short: Fantastic In full: Loved it, have watched it on TV every year and have always wanted to give it a go, boy am I glad I did. Running over Tower Bridge is just amazing. You cant put into words the buzz that it gives you taking part. Hips were playing up at 14 miles but support from the fantastic crowd just keeps you going. Organazation is awesome thank you to everyone that helps in making the event what it is. Date of review: April 25, 2006