Walking the London Marathon - is it feasible?

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05/10/2011 at 17:40
I have just had my place confirmed for VLM next year, deferred from last year as I suffer from plantar fasciitis. Although my condition is much improved it would be against the advice of my doctor and podiatrist to do any form of running ever again. Instead I've taken up cycling. However....

I used to be a keen runner, clocking up a couple of half marathons every year and after 5 years applying through the ballot for the London Marathon and not getting picked I was granted a marathon place in 2005. I finished in just over 5 hours, and enjoyed it, but (daft as it may sound) I don't really remember much of the actual run/sights etc. So I'd always hoped to do it again, to take it all in.

So I applied again, 5 years in a row through the ballot, and didn't get picked, therefore had a guaranteed place for 2011. I started training very gently and in good time (as I knew I would get a place and had had a break from running after having 2 kids) and within a couple of months could hardly walk because of plantar fasciitis. Therefore I deferred my entry but I now know that I can't run again.

I accept what my doctor says but now the acceptance magazine has dropped through
my door I can't help thinking that after 10 years of rejections I'm so lucky to have a place that I just can't turn it down. So I wondered if I could walk it? I feel it would be my last chance and I'd really be able to savour the atmosphere. Also I could wear a daft costume and try to raise as much money for charity as I could which i feel is a lost of what the London Marathon is all about.

Does anyone have any experience in walking a marathon? Or any thoughts generally on the idea? I appreciate I will need to train for it and my feet may not let me finish, but I want to try.

Many thanks
05/10/2011 at 18:16

If you train hard then there is no reason why you can't walk it in 5 hrs.

Of course, if you just want to take it easy and stroll, then it will take you longer. You still need to train to walk 26.2 miles.

My feeling is, if you can't run it then you may very well not be able to walk it either but see how it goes. Plenty of people walk it, silly costume or no.

05/10/2011 at 18:23
Can. Of. Worms.
05/10/2011 at 18:58
 Have to disagree about walking it in 5hrs more like 6hrs,if you want to walk it,then walk it. Loads of people walk it every year.
05/10/2011 at 19:06
@ Kity, thank you. I'm not sure if I'll manage it either, but some people don't even try. When I deferred the entry this year I was very hopeful that I would run it next year, but I now know that's not an option.

@Johnny - can't see why? It's just an honest post and I'd appreciate useful, constructive and reasoned comments whether people are for or against. I've applied 10 years through the ballot when I've been capable of running it as injury free, and finally I get a place but can't run because of injury. I'm just trying to keep my hopes up that I could participate in it again as it's such a great event. But if you'd said it's a ridiculous idea because of a, b, c etc then that would be more helpful.
05/10/2011 at 19:14
@LoftusRR thanks. I'd never really thought about lots of people walking it as any friends and family who've done it were all runners (and aiming sub 4!). I will try and have a look on the VLM website to get an idea of times. I'd googled the idea and the sites I'd found seemed quite negative about walking, mainly based on problem of finish lines and spectators being long gone. But perhaps London is a good choice of marathon to walk as this is less likely to be an issue.
05/10/2011 at 19:28
  I can assure you,you will not be last.Not even in the last 800 unless your looking at 8hrs plus.Don't worry about other people,VLM website will tow the party line,London is definitely suited for you.Good luck with whatever you decided to do.
cougie    pirate
05/10/2011 at 21:40

Plenty of people walk it.  I'd stil train for it though. Having a bad day in London shouldnt be the experience  you go with.

Good luck. 

seren nos    pirate
05/10/2011 at 21:46

definitely train for it...

have you tried a different doctor for advice.................did you see a physio to give you exercises to sort out the PF................unless the experts are sports people then they often just write running off without good reason.............but there again maybe they are sports specialised and you are unlucky...........

good luck and i hope you manage it without pain.........see you there

05/10/2011 at 21:52
If I were you I'd get a second opinion about the PF. Are your doctor and podiatrist sports specialists? How closely have they looked into what the cause is? Although it sounds like you have had a bad case, it seems a bit defeatist just to tell you never to run again. The causes can come from all sorts of posture, gait and lifestyle factors.
05/10/2011 at 21:53
Cross post !
05/10/2011 at 23:00

Maybe you could walk it backwards.

06/10/2011 at 08:23

Hi MrsPB, 

First the marathon - walking will take you 6-8 hours and you will most certainly not be the last finisher. You will need to train for it just as if you were running it - bear this in mind with your PF though, it is probably going to be pretty sore after longer walks.  

Seren and RR are right though, you need to see a different podiatrist or physiotherapist -  the opinion you were given is pretty defeatist - just because they can't help you it doesn't mean someone else can.

You CAN recover. I had PF in my left foot for 9 months and despaired of ever running again, then I had custom orthotics made by a podiatrist (I was NEVER advised not to run). This sorted out the problem for seven or eight months until it came back in my right. That time I discovered and tried trigger point  therapy and it was gone in three. It has never returned in either foot. 

Edited: 06/10/2011 at 08:24
06/10/2011 at 11:26
Can't you just join in in some parade somewhere and walk that?
06/10/2011 at 11:48

Ofcourse it is feasible, people are even known to run the whole thing... the main question is, would it be a waste of an entry? The arguments to that are, its a place someone who would be training hard to run it could have. The flip side is you can't transfer it to anyone else so it doesn't matter now anyway and plenty of people will be travelling even slower than walking pace... if you have a place and want to be there then go and do it. You wont be last by a long was providing you maintain any form of leg movement for the duration.

I do agree with previous posts, get to a sports specialist and get your injury sorted or at least a solid 2nd opinion. You could always grab a pair of theses bad boys and run it! http://www.hokaoneone.com/en/technology.html 

06/10/2011 at 11:57
No you will turn into stone at 18 miles
06/10/2011 at 12:08
I have a friend who can't run (due to a car accident) but she does the speed walk thing and was gutted to finish London in just over 5 hours - she had been aiming for under 5.  You should be fine as long as you don't intend to stroll it!
06/10/2011 at 12:15
Why can't she stroll it?
06/10/2011 at 13:43
It's your place and down to you how you get from point A to B 26.2 miles later
Some will argue that a run/walk strategy is wrong as the whole point of a Marathon is to run it
My personal view is a Marathon is a personal challenge and in the end if you are happy that's all that counts Run,Walk or Crawl
06/10/2011 at 13:53
You are entitled to that opinion Warkie. I hold the opinion that if you walk you should be forced to drop out. Unfortunately the organisers go along with your opinion.
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