This was my third consecutive London Marathon and I was better prepared than ever before. I was hoping to beat my previous time of 5:12 but was more than a bit dismayed by the weather report! As I got my pacing horribly wrong in my first marathon I had decided to join the Runner's World Run/Walk pacer as I had done the previous year.
Joining the back of Pen 9 at the Blue start I was feeling quietly confident that I was going to run under 5:00 which was my target. We crossed the start line at 10am and already it was very warm. I kept running ahead of the pace group but didn't want to get carried away by the atmosphere so always made sure I was not too far ahead and kept the group in sight. This all went very well until about mile 10 when already a lot of people were walking and it became difficult to pass people, so I stopped looking out for the pacer and ploughed on through weaving in and out of a lot of people safe in the knowledge that if I stayed ahead of my pacer then I was on target. The atmosphere was brilliant with crowds lining the whole route and going over Tower Bridge was incredible! I was running for Children with Leukaemia and always got a lift passing their cheering points.
Feeling good halfway I was taking on plenty of fluids and was grateful for all the well-placed water stations however the amount of 'bottle dodging' I had to do was boring and I spent a lot of time just looking at the ground to avoid tripping on discarded bottles!
By mile 15 the amount of walkers had increased and getting past them proved very tiring - why can't people use their commen sense and just move over?! My pace slowed right down over the next six miles but I was still ahead of my pace group.
Getting to the Embankment was such a relief and going through the tunnel provided some welcome respite from the heat and noise. I had a walk through this and finished my energy bar and drank some water then started off feeling relatively refreshed which was lucky because at that point I spotted my pacer running past rather quickly and had to sprint to catch up with him! It was clear now how much time I had lost and I was not going to go under 5hrs. Feeling a loss of motivation I had to dig deep to carry on and at least beat last year's time.
The last three miles were tough. I had come so far and was starting to tire along they part of the course I desperately wanted to run. Again the crowd were amazing and keeping up with the pacer helped enormously, it was a great feeling to still be able to run (even if not very fast) and I managed to cross the finish line knocking four minutes off my time!
Overall a great day, very good organisation and a big, big thank you to the Runners World pacers!