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What a day. After two unsuccessful attempts at sub-4 hour marathon running, a winter of hills and speed sessions paid off for me.
The Best Moment: Realising that I could get a sub 3:45 around the 20-mile mark, I only had to do 10 minute miles. I thought I was well and truly safe. The crowds around Canary Wharf were something I haven’t experienced before in my last marathons.
Worst Moment: Seeing that I had to get from Big Ben to the finish in eight minutes to get under 3:45, and promptly putting in a 7:50 mile. Where that came from I really don’t know. And also hearing over the speaker at the beginning to put your sun block on. It was meant to rain, who brought sun block ?
Biggest Surprise: Gordon Ramsay’s face when upon finishing I proceeded straight to the barrier and threw up my last drink all over the floor just as he was finishing his interview.
What would I do differently: It was a perfect day for me, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.
An excellent day, I set a new pb of 3:48:20 (my previous best was 4:13:52), despite suffering from a cramped-up thigh from 21 miles onwards. Thanks to all those who encouraged me as I struggled for four or so miles.
The organisation, support and the camaraderie was excellent, even if it was a little bit too hot for my liking.
I’ve got sore legs, sore feet............. but bring on next year!
People ask: ‘why does everyone want to run the London Marathon?’ Anyone who witnessed the event, either as a runner or a spectator will know why: it is quite simply the greatest running event in the world!
|Martin Swan, 3:17|
The day started really well when I opened the curtains and saw the weather.
I stayed in Plumstead with friends the night before so I only had a 12-minute train ride to the red start in the morning which eased a few of the worries. Luckily I bumped into four friends from work at the start so we all made a few nervous trips to the loo together laughing and joking about the event that would soon be upon us. I did at this stage wonder how much of an affect the heat would have on me.
The race itself couldn’t have gone any better up to the 20-mile point. My initial target when I started the training was to get under 3:30, this would beat my last time (and only other marathon) in the 2001 FLM quite significantly (4:23), secretly though, and my training runs had suggested it was achievable, I hoped for sub 3:15.
I aimed for 2:25 to get to 20 miles, which I achieved with some nice, even pacing and all felt good. This would leave me 50 minutes to do the last 6.2 miles, which I thought was enough of a tiredness margin (I know I can do 10k in about 42mins) to bring me home in sub-3.15. But something happened in those last few miles, I totally lost my rhythm, pace and strength, the dreaded wall hit and once I had stopped once it seemed that I had given myself license to walk whenever I wanted.
Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was all the extra water I had taken on, maybe the niggling Achilles problem actually slowed me, or maybe the 2:25 for 20 miles took more out of me than I thought it would, but either way that 50 minutes I gave myself to do the last 10k was not enough. I eventually finished in 3:17:47, a time that everyone keeps telling me is excellent.
Looking at my results and finishing position amongst all the other runners 2684th place overall is a fantastic achievement which I am extremely proud of. But I cannot get away from the fact that had I done things a little differently I wouldn’t have weakened at the end. Having only done two 20-mile runs in training I know I will do half a dozen next time.
I will also make sure that I do one, maybe two, runs of full distance. I will also make sure I follow a taper correctly and don’t do 10k in 42 mins on the Friday two days before race.
So to next year, and I will enter for next year, I have even more focus, I have a head start on the training this time and a new goal. Next year I will do it in under three hours. Well, it’s not worth entering just for the sake of the 2 minutes 47 seconds I failed this year’s goal by, is it?
A friend has also asked me if I want to do Comrades in 2006, despite me saying in no uncertain terms after Sunday where he could stick it. On second thoughts, 55 uphill miles in South Africa, now there’s a challenge!
|Daily Llama, 3:53|
I finished my first London Marathon in 3:53 and a handful of seconds. The whole day was an incredible buzz, the weather was perfect for running and the atmosphere was electric.
It was almost a perfect day – Lucozade Sport still tastes like cheap mouthwash, but suppose you can't have everything. Oh, and there's the failure by South Eastern trains to anticipate the slight extra demand the event would place on their "service".
Running across Tower Bridge, at which point the realisation dawned on me that I was running in the London Marathon, is an experience I'll never forget. I broke the race down into stages, first ten miles, then another ten miles, then 10k to finish, which psychologically made it a bit easier.
Next time, I'll start nearer the front - I put down a slower time than I could actually do on the application form, which meant I started in pen 8, but was held up at the start by power-walkers and wombles.
The support from the crowds was amazing, especially approaching the finish along Birdcage Walk, which was absolutely deafening. And I didn't have to take a pee in the street! I will certainly be running London again!
|World Champion, 3:08|
What a great day; after two previous years of disaster due to injury or illness I finished with a PB of 3:08.
I owe a lot of my thanks start with the wife for putting up with the training, followed closely by Mike Gratton for his training help on the forum website.
My best moment - the joy in my wife’s voice when I told her my time.
My worst moment – 18 miles: this is where it went wrong in last two years.
Biggest surprise-the sunshine.
Key to my success- Mike Gratton. What a STAR.
|Jason Campbell, 3:38|
This was my first ever marathon and I would just like to say a big 'THANK YOU' to the 8-minute/mile pacer from the Blue Start.
Although he lost his watch when the strap broke, and was tripped by another runner, he got me to the 20-mile mark in 2:40, unfortunately my legs gave in then, and after every corner I could see the flag he was carrying disappearing further into the distance. BUT I still got home in 3:38, and have no doubt I would not have been able to do that time without the pacer there to follow.
Worst moment: pulling up with hamstring cramp just after the 25-mile marker - it felt like I had been shot and I really didn't think I could make it home.
Best moment: the support of the crowds in the last mile and a bit, as they could see I was in pain, but were continuing to lift my spirits by calling out my name and giving me the energy to reach the finish line.
Most memorable moment: seeing people I knew in the crowd just after Blackfriars, gave me an adrenalin rush as I was just over 2 miles from the end and tiring rapidly.
As soon as I crossed the line I vowed never to do another marathon again, but now, just 36 hours later, I cannot wait for the entry forms for next year’s event to come out.
An amazing day, in an amazing city full of amazing people. A day to feel truly proud and totally humble at the same time. So much emotion: elation, disappointment, courage, agony and ecstasy, 35,000 people all with a common goal - to cross that finish line.
The best moment for me (aside from seeing my supporters at miles 14 and 25) was crossing the start line and feeling that frisson of excitement as all the hopes, fears and dreams of the past few months' training crystallised into reality.
I was almost overcome with the emotion of it all when I saw Tower Bridge ahead of me, and as I rounded the corner into the Mall and saw Buckingham Palace up ahead I felt truly proud to be British and especially to be a Londoner. The roar of the crowds was deafening and it felt as though their cheering was all for me.
The most memorable moment for me was meeting nrg-b (fellow forumite) with 500 metres to go and hearing that he had been struggling to catch me for the past three miles! We first started communicating by email a good year or so ago when we were both marathon virgins and had similar goals. Crossing the line together against what must have been incredible odds amongst all those runners made the whole experience even more amazing than it already was.
My only low point was the miles around the Isle of Dogs. Why do the organisers insist on cordoning off half the road to contain the crowds when there are virtually no crowds in this area? It made trying to keep to target pace quite difficult and it was almost impossible to avoid abandoned water bottles and other obstacles. I trod on a water bottle and nearly sprained my ankle - by some miracle the pain was temporary and I was able to carry on but if it had ruined my race I would have been devastated.
All I'd do differently next time would be even more mileage in training. My increase in mileage from my first FLM last year led to a 21-minute improvement in my time, so I have no complaints, only curiosity as to how much more is yet to come. If I can get up to 50-60 miles a week next time I reckon sub-3:30 is on the cards... And my personal race tactic is to take 2-3 good swigs of Lucozade Sport religiously every two miles - I swear this kept The Wall at bay!
This was my first marathon and it really was an incredible experience. I started training on my own in January using an RW sub-4 schedule, so was very pleased that I made it just within my goal!
My best moment excluding the finish was coming up to Tower Bridge feeling in great shape and knowing that my family and friends were going to be just around the corner cheering me on. I think that the most challenging point was about 21 miles onwards when I had to keep telling myself that it is supposed to be tough and that means that I'm running well.
I also found it hard trying to find the balance between running as hard as I could but also wanting to be careful, as having only run up to 21 miles in training - and not at race pace - 21 + was a bit unknown. Having seen a few people collapse in front of me, I didn't want to end up doing the same!
On reflection, I think if I could do one thing differently, I would push myself harder on the last few miles and also do a proper stretch afterwards instead of deciding that I couldn't be bothered and just meeting up with my family - silly silly! My quads are punishing me for that!
My worst moment was taking my shoes off at home afterwards and being confronted with the most horrific blisters on two of my toes and a nail coming off....... nice!
All in all I loved it and was amazed by the crowds and the atmosphere........ Already thinking about doing it next year!
|Mister W, 3:57|
The worst moment came early on as I realised the high temperature was causing blisters across my arches. I had to stop several times in the first six miles to try to sort them out. Eventually, I realised that I couldn't do anything about them so I just had to get on with it.
The best moment was the look of surprise on my supporters' faces as I emerged from a sea of runners at mile 7, hugged them and disappeared off down the course. They were all carrying balloons (including two huge ladybird shaped balloons) so I spotted them easily.
The biggest surprise for me was the number of runners and how hard it is to run a steady pace with so many people around you. I didn't settle into a pace I was happy with until half way and even then I was having to slow down and speed up more than I wanted to.
They key to my success was the advice given by Keith Anderson and his team on the Trailplus training weekend in January. Not only his training plan but also his advice on clothing, nutrition, hydration and pre-race planning. I would recommend the weekend to anyone who is training for a marathon.
What would I do differently? I would have changed my socks just before the start and I would have been less focussed on my time. The London Marathon is a great event but unless you are a championship runner (i.e. starting from the front) it is no place to run a good marathon time. I'm fairly sure I'll race the distance again, but I don't think I'll be back to London as a runner.
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