Bit more detail, upon reflection, as I found everyone else's so informative:
I was once again permitted in the “Celebrity” start area, but avoided the gaze of all the GFA's (unlike the soap stars and Gordon Ramsay, who seem to positively encourage it).
The first half of the race went according to plan, and I passed halfway in 1:44. I had already realised that this wasn't going to be as enjoyable as my previous London Marathons because the heat had made it a lot harder.
At 16, when the air ran out through Docklands, I started to struggle. No energy to acknowledge the fantastic crowd support as much as I normally would.
At 20, the RW 8 m/mile pacing group came past, and I latched onto them for a few miles. As they headed off into the distance at 22, I realised the game was up for sub-3:30. The legs were gone, and I just had to dig in and hope for a PB. Actually, I didn’t give a damn by then, I just wanted it to be over. Stupid bloody race, ridiculous bloody distance, etc, etc
As I turned down Birdcage Walk, I got an eleventh wind and waved my way towards the finish with a euphoria that may well have alerted the medical personnel into thinking I was about to have a convulsion or two.
As I ran past the stands, the crowd were all dancing to “YMCA”, and I joined them in the actions. This drew the attention of the BBC cameras, who broadcast me on live TV as I finished, namechecking my charity SPARKS, who were delighted. (I can only assume, therefore, that it wasn’t along the lines of “What’s that numpty in the SPARKS vest playing at?”)
I was rushed straight to the media area by two Flora London Marathon officials “for interviews”. They sat me on a chair in a tent with lots of cakes, and then gently retreated elsewhere, clearly embarrassed that they didn’t recognise me. They had a bit of a wait for Gordon Ramsay, but he came in eventually. Ho ho.
So, 3:36:52. A PB by over 3 minutes. I blame The Village People for not getting under 3:36. The sub 3:30 will come next year with more speedwork, more runs at MP and an improved diet (no booze!) making me at least half a stone lighter.
Well done everybody and thanks for all your support on the thread.