Hansyhobs - great the Olympics have given you a boost. With regards to getting better times and training etc. have you thought of joining a club? The club scene is never as intimidating as people think and not full of Olympic style atheletes. It's a very friendly and supportive group. My times were flat about 4 years ago for half marathon and 10ks then I joined my club Port Talbot Harriers and it's the best thing ever to improve your running. The quality of training was better and even when I felt tired and not up to a session you always give that little bit more than you would on your own. There is always a wealth of experience, advice and knowledge there as well. My coach I call him who has had 30 years plus of running did my first marathon plan and allowed me to get my virgin London marathon good for age entry (under 3.15 guarantees entry) and I did under 3 hours this year. I honestly could have only dreamed of such times before joining the club. Drop your local club/secretary a line and go along and I am sure your running will improve no end.
Alex, how on earth can it be all your fault! I have never know a runner who pays good money to enter a race who intentionally goes the wrong way. Runners do have a responsibility for their safety etc for sure, but surely organisers must share that responsibility by ensuring adequate marshalling and signage is not compromised against profit. I know these things happen and no one for one minute thinks that these things won't occur, it would be niave to think otherwise but surely to say it was your fault is just as niave on their part. They must surely at least regonise that this happend and ensure the same thing does not happen next year. You would think they must have a post race brief to review elements of the race (what went well, what didn't and what can be improved upon). It's ok to take the good comments but we all in life must also accept sometimes the things perhaps we don't like.
Well ive decided () not to do Abo this year.... as I type this I am still not 100% sure but I think one marathon a year is enough for me! So London is the one. I could change my mind by tomorrow. Better decide soon with the etries filling fast!