Posted: 28/04/2015 at 15:03
Thread virgin here - been scared off in the past by the abundance of Champs starters but now's as good a time as any. Context = recent 10K PB of 36:43 in the build up to know I have enough speed for a chunk under 3hrs, but previous Mara PB of 3:04:39 from Autumn 2013 meant play it as safe as possible to get a Sub3 in the bag whilst I was in good shape, and knowing I'd promised the wife and baby that I wouldn't train for another marathon for a while.
Starting middle of Red pen 1 FGFA, at a guess a few hundred people in front of the red sub3 pacer, saw the blue sub3 pacer when the routes first merged then joined PhilPub and his band of green flag followers a little later. Good to meet you and thanks for the encouragement!
Was really crowded mid race when red+blue pacers were close together, had to dodge one faller and got tripped myself at 12 miles but just managed to stay upright - albeit by kicking my right calf with my left foot in the process. So when Phil put on a little surge around Tower Bridge I let him go and was relieved to find myself in a bit more space.
Through halfway in 1:29:25 on target but feeling more tired than expected - my first big city marathon (Pompey doesn't count!) and not used to the extra concentration required to avoid collisions with so many unpredictable people / Buxton bottles / Lucozade minefields.
Had a brief mild panic when the red pacer caught me up around 21 miles when I'd estimated he'd started 30-60s behind me - my splits told me I had lost 40s since halfway, and cramp which had started quite early in the trip-kicked right calf was now starting to spread if I dared to go any faster than 6:52 pace. Lee the red pacer did a great job with encouragement in the final miles - didn't see him at the end to thank him but if you're out there then thanks.
A 6:25 final mile saw me claw back enough to sneak in in 2:59:50 chip time and from the relative states of other people around me after the finish maybe I should have tried harder but I didn't want to risk being greedy and inviting the cramp monkey to spoil the occasion.
First VLM and first Sub3 both ticked off. Unlike several others I did not get to rub shoulders with any celebrities on the day, however I did get the privilege of watching Phil's shorts in action from several angles.
Over final 7.2k passed 238 and passed by 36. I'll take those stats.