pacer. I knew that if I let him go I wouldn’t be able to get back to him and that my best chance for a sub 3 finish (as I was still on pace at this point) would disappear down the road in front of me. At this point I gave myself a massive internal (I hope!) talking to and reminded myself of all the P&D MP & LT pace runs I had completed and that this was what it was all for – to give me the tools to keep going at this point in the race. So I clenched my teeth, drove my legs forward and told myself NOT to lose the pacer’s side (I distinctly remember at a couple of points physically increasing my pace to close the gap between us) and that it would all be over soon (just 30 mins more etc)
Coming out of Blackfriars underpass and seeing Big Ben in the distance was a massive boost for me as I knew that’s where all my family were. I seemed to be struggling less with the pace at this point and was reasonably confident of making it, particularly as we went through mile 24 & I checked my (manual) lap split of 6:28 – I knew at this point I wasn’t going to let it slip so close to the finish. Hit mile 25 and could see the turn @ Big Ben up ahead – got a massive boost from my (screaming) family as I turned into Parliement Square & onward to Birdcage walk (which at that point seemed to stretch into the ever receding distance!) It was literally just a case of hanging on at this point. I hit mile 26 with a 6:45 mile and saw the ‘385 Yards To Go’ sign (really?!) and then it was another right turn into The Mall and there was the finish! I can honestly say that I could not raise even the slightest of sprints, I was going flat out & must have looked a right sight! Anyway the finish finally came and I stopped the clock @ 02:59:05 with a celebratory punch of the air, job done!
The organisation at the finish (& the start & all the way round to be fair) was fantastic and so slick. Chip removal, medal presentation, finish photo, goody bag issue & baggage retrieval all within the space of 5 minutes or so – excellent. Sat down for a few minutes to change my shoes & have a drink before walking (slowly) down to Horse Guards to meet the waiting family. As I was making my way down I bumped into Ivan (the guy I travelled to the start with) He was a bit upset (but still happy) as he finished just outside 3 hrs (03:00:43 I think) & said that he saw the 2:59 pacer (with me next to him) pass him in the final mile – he said he tried to pick his pace up to hook up with us but just didn’t have it in him – anyway we both congratulated each other & went our separate ways when I then met up with all my family at the ‘P’ meet & greet point where I had a lovely lie down on the grass in the sun to start my recovery
It was an amazing day and one I’ll never forget. The atmosphere and crowd support (all the way round) was unbelievable and was a massive help so thank you to each & every spectator/supporter that took the time to cheer us all on. As amazing as it was and as much as I ‘enjoyed’ it I can honestly say I have no intention of running it again next year (despite running a FGFA qualifying time) – for me the goal was always a sub 3 marathon PB and now that I’ve achieved it I leave London and the Marathon challenge a very happy and satisfied bunny
I have to finish by thanking the P&D schedule as well. By following it and in less than 12 months I’ve reduced my Marathon PB by a massive 14:33 from my last effort of 03:13:38 to 02:59:05 (and I thought I’d trained hard for the last one!) – I’d say that it works!!
(sorry for the overly long post btw - hope it wasn't too boring!!)
AG - Hope you feel better soon and have a great run on Monday, I ran MK last April and have some particularly wet & windy memories of that race! (Chris hope you feel better quickly as well)
Sorry for my lack of activity but I've actually been laid up for nearly two weeks (immediately after the VLM really) with a rather nasty foot infection (at one Doctor's visit he was actually talking about Gout and a 'worse case' scenario of losing toes - I kid you not!) Anyway luckily things seem to be settling down down now and I can at least walk again (can't even think about running ATM)
For what it's worth and apologising for the delay (due to the above) I thought I’d report in with my VLM 2013 experience
As some of you may know my aim for the race had always been a Sub 3 finish having run 3:13:38 at last years Milton Keynes Marathon (which I was pretty disappointed with at the time but at least gave me the qualifying time to enter the VLM)
Anyway I live in Devon so decided to combine the race with a visit to my wife’s family who live just north of the M25. We travelled up the Wednesday before & my brother in law & I visited the Excel on Thursday in order for me to register (we had the obligatory mooch around the Expo as well which was quite interesting) Thursday was also my last pre marathon run with a gentle 5m effort @ 8m/m pace. Saturday my wife & I travelled down to our pre-booked hotel in central London to minimise travelling on race morning
Race day dawned cold & bright & l was downing a large bowl of porridge @ 6:15am prior to travelling to the start. Got to London Bridge via the tube then onto the train to Maze Hill where I met a guy called Ivan from North London who was also hoping for a Sub 3 finish. We were on the same start (Green) so enjoyed the walk from the station to the assembly area chatting about previous races/hopes for the day etc. With all the pre race stuff out the way (baggage, toilets, drinks, stretching etc) I was in my pen & ready to go @ about 9:50
I have to say the the 30 sec silence observed prior to the race starting was quite moving & impeccably observed so well done to everybody – then it was the final countdown, the gun fired and we’re off!
The first few miles were pretty uneventful for me (apart from mile 1 being off target pace @ 7:22 due to the congestion) and I soon settled into a ‘comfortable’ 6:45 pace. I was amazed at about mile 4 to recognise a bloke I know up ahead (a guy called Jamie who runs for my local running club so we often see each other out training) I cruised up alongside him & said hello – we then spent the next 7 or 8 miles running together (he was also hoping for sub 3) & swapped a few stories – certainly helped to while away the early miles!
The approach and run over Tower Bridge is a point that will stick in my memory for a long time as the support (& noise) was incredible, definitely a high point of the race for me. After the bridge a right turn and through half way in 1:29:15 so bang on target pace (feeling OK as well) I’d lost touch with Jamie by this point who had fallen behind me & I didn’t see him again (I later found out he finished in 3:20) but had now picked up the 2:59 pacer so decided to stick with him till the latter stages and see if I had anything left once 20M had been & gone. I did exactly that all around the Isle Of Dogs/Canary Wharf loop but was beginning to feel the effort by about mile 19, but was still on target pace though and not feeling too bad so all in all OK
The last 6 miles were a tough time for me. As we went through 20M I had a strong sensation of wanting to slow down and, for the 1st time, was struggling to keep up with the p
Just thought I'd report in with my race result for anyone who's interested - I ran 2:59:05 (Race No 29870 starting from the Green Start) so acheived my sub 3 target. My plan all along was to maintain sub 3 pace to mile 20 and then push the last 6 if I had anything left. in the end I was just glad to be able to maintain the 6:50 pace as I found it really tough from 19 miles onward. I ran my last 5k split in the exact same time as my first (21:08) so was pleased that my pacing was consistent, and all in all a great day with unbelievable support the whole way round)
As an aside my previous marathon PB was 3:13:38 so to beat it by over 14 minutes is a massive testament to the P&D system (I followed it religiously) I think.
Many congrats to all the other great times ran by everybody today, I hope you all now take a well earned rest (I'm drinking beer @ the moment for the 1st time in 5 months and boy dose it taste good!)