Last autumn, we launched a nationwide search for six Virgin London Marathon hopefuls, in partnership with Lucozade Sport. After a long marathon journey for our six lucky winners (and their mentors), five of our Virgin London Marathon contenders lined up in London.
For all sixteen weeks of their marathon training, they recorded all their training and highs and lows live in the forums - and you joined us in droves for stacks of training and nutrition tips from our panel of experts as well as a unique - and interactive - insight into the demands of marathon training.
The results you've all been waiting for are below - and you can catch the team in action in this video report.
Meet The Team | Meet The Experts | Get Involved
MEET THE TEAM
Christina (aka just back from a run)
Target Time: sub-3:00 Finish time: 3:20:37
Christina says: The marathon is such a tough event, and I was reminded of that on Sunday. It was a real struggle to keep going and to top it off, my world record was beaten.Being part of the Super Six has been great. Now I need some reflection time…
Paul says: Unfortunately sometimes the mind is willing but the body is not, but Christina showed the same courage and determination that she has shown over the last four months and kept going to post a time most athletes would be very proud of. (Updated April 30) Read more
Richard (aka Matchstick Man)
Target Time: sub-3:15 Finish time: 3:32:56
Richard says: My worst nightmare came true. I said at the start that it’d be awful to get all the way through and then pick up a bug, but what can you do? It just went wrong. I have loved being part of the Super Six. I would do it all again in a heartbeat and wouldn't change anything if I had my chance again.
Liz says: The marathon distance finds out any niggle, illness or lack of fitness, and unfortunately it seems Richard may have picked up a virus in race week.There is nothing Richard could have done, it was out of his control and I am gutted for Richard. (Updated April 30) Read more
Andy (aka AndyV)
Target Time: sub-4:00 Finish time: 3:44:22
Andy says: I totally stormed it! I can barely walk now and I'm sunburnt but none of that matters - I'm a marathon runner now! Being in the Super Six has really set me up – I’m already thinking about 3:30 for next year.
Steve says: As soon as I saw Andy run for the first time, I thought he was capable of a sub-4, and he duly delivered with some ease. This was a brilliant first marathon off such interrupted preparation.
I have no doubt as long as he stays injury-free, Andy will break 3:30. (Updated April 30) Read more
Vicky (aka Hashette)
Target Time: sub-4:30 Finish time: Didn't run due to injury
Vicky says: There are times when you just need to be realistic, and I've waved my VLM dream goodbye - I won't be ready to run 26 miles in six weeks’ time without doing even more damage.Liz says: It is with a lot of tears and disappointment that Vicky has withdrawn from this year’s Virgin London Marathon. It is the best way forward for her long-term health and running , but naturally Vicky is gutted and I am gutted for her. (Updated March 19) Read more
Kim (aka Evil Pixie)
Target Time: sub-5:00 Finish time: 6:09:14
Kim says: If it hadn't have been for the support of the thread, the RW crowds and Hash who ran part of the way with me, I think I would have just sat on the curb crying on Sunday.
Although I was absolutely slaughtering my PB, I was just so focused on sub-5 that it one little problem became a mountain. It was a real struggle.
Steve says: Kim did everything in her marathon training that could have been asked of her. Kim was in her best ever shape. However, the marathon didn’t go to plan. It rarely does! Kim will hopefully break 5 hours another day and she was a fantastic host to the thread. (Updated April 30) Read more
Lucy (aka spinkletoes)
Target Time: sub-5:30 Finish time: 7:46:33
Lucy says: When I’m in a tough situation I like to come up with three words to sum it up. Sunday’s are: mortified, frustrated but unbowed. I really don't know what went wrong - I did the training and I had great support. But I have got a shiny medal - and Gordon Ramsey hasn't.
Paul says: I never ever doubted that Lucy would cross the finish line in London.
But Lucy was dogged from day one with injuries and illness, and with the training she missed though injury and illness she did well to complete the race.
(Updated April 30) Read more
On December 5, all six winners travelled to London to meet and run with their mentors, get advice from the Lucozade Sport science team and be fitted out in their new kit. Find out what they had to say about being selected and the challenge ahead in this exclusive video of the meet-and-greet seminar.
MEET THE EXPERTS
| Steve Smythe
Steve worked at Runner's World for 10 years and took over the marathon schedules from Bruce Tulloh. Steve has run more than 60 marathons (26 Londons) and as well as holding a PB of 2:29, he has also won a British marathon title in his age group. As far as his coaching record goes - he's helped one runner to British international level over the marathon distance and another to a British age-group record.
Liz has been competing as a top international athlete for more than 15 years. In 2006, she won the Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and she has twice represented Great Britain in the Olympics (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008). In 2007, she also won the British Half-Marathon and Marathon titles, and is a Lucozade Sport Running Ambassador.
Paul was a finalist in the 10,000m in both the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and Atlanta Olympics in 1996. He then went on to win the Chicago Marathon in 1996 with a career best of 2:08:51 - a time that, to this day, consolidates his place in the UK Marathon All Time Top 4. Paul is a UKA Level 4 Performance Coach and now works as an Athletics Development Officer for Active Norfolk.
|Emma Kingzett (Lucozade Sport Sport Scientist)
Emma studied Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University and has a MSc in Physical Activity and Health. Emma is also running the Virgin London Marathon 2010.
|Gareth Turner (Lucozade Sport Sport Scientist)
Gareth studied and gained a Masters at the University of Brighton. A keen sportsman himself, Gareth also plays rugby and is a regular runner.
Wondering how to juggle your own 2010 marathon preparations? Don't struggle alone: pop into the forums and join one of our team's training threads. We promise you'll be warmly welcomed, and our forums are the ideal place to meet like-minded runners, exchange training tips and find encouragement when the going gets tough.
You can also download the schedules that they'll be using as a basis for their marathon preparations. Following a programme will help you build your fitness progressively and is a great way to know you're on a tried-and-tested route to reaching your race-day goal.
Don't forget to sign up to our free, weekly marathon newsletter too -your chance to have day-by-day training sessions, nutrition tips and motivational pep talks delivered straight to your inbox every Friday from December until April.
Of course, you don't need to be targeting a Spring marathon to make the most of everything we have planned for our team over the next few months. They'll be racing across a variety of distances between now and race day so there promises to be stacks of training and nutrition advice available whatever your 2010 running goals.
Quiz The Experts
Although our mentoring team will be focusing their attentions on the team when they come on board in January, they'll also be doing their best to answer your questions too - don't be afraid to pose your puzzlers directly to the panel.
In the New Year, we'll also be running a series of live forum Q+A sessions with key training and nutrition themes. Stay tuned for further details and if you'd like to see a particular topic addressed in more depth,just drop us a line.