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How to do your first marathon:
Do the Flora London Marathon, on its 25th anniversary - the best race in the world.
Ten days before the race, buy a new pair of running shoes due to the old ones rubbing against an ankle injury.
During the week leading up to the event, get woken up at 4 in the morning by your 3-year-old daughter who has been sleeping perfectly through the night for several months.
On Wednesday, get a phone call from the wife telling you she has set fire to the kitchen. Arrive home to find family alive (thank God!) and spend afternoon separating burned clothes from melted laundry basket.
Travel to Bedfordshire for mother-in-law's 50th birthday. Wake up at 4 in the morning after dreaming about missing the start of the marathon.
Stub little toe on right foot prior to birthday meal. Curse the evil nature of inanimate objects as toe swells to twice its normal size and assumes vivid purple colour.
Get driven to London by wife on Saturday morning. On arrival at brother's flat, immerse swollen toe in bucket of iced water for the rest of the day. Go for a walk to Tower Bridge before dinner and get slightly nauseous and overwhelmed by prospect of running over the landmark (or not, depending on toe) tomorrow. Go to sleep at midnight.
Wake up on race day without nerves. Toe feels bearable. Head off to Greenwich. Many trips to the loo. "Water" the flowers as start time gets closer - even saw a lady crouching down, and it wouldn't be the last time !
Run like a dream. Squeeze past that tricky Runner's World 8-minute/mile pace group! Get encouraged by all thanks to having your name written on your vest !
Have the time of your life before, during and after.
|Brett Garratt, 3:50|
First marathon... off to a flying start with 1:30 at 13 miles, feeling great and wondering what all the fuss was about. I hit the 22-mile mark at 2:45 then my legs where taken over by an alien from planet cramp! I ran/walked the last 4 miles and finally finished in 3:50.
The moral of the story: you cant run 26 miles without enough water!
Bring on London Marathon 2006!
I completed the race in a record 3:40, which was 24 minutes better than my previous best! I wore an RW pace band for 3:45 and found myself up on all the times by 17 mins... but at 20 miles my thighs were killing and I slowed down. I didn't walk because I knew I wouldn't be able to start again.
I stuck to the 3:45 training programme religiously and tapered for 2 weeks, stuffing my face with pasta at every opportunity.On the day, the crowds just made me go like the clappers and although I can't walk normally at the moment, I definitely will do it next year. The Children With Leukemia reception party was amazing: massages, food, drink, everything... they really looked after me post-race.
Well done to all my fellow runners ,miss you already!
|Scott Wheeldon, 3:48|
The whole day was unbelievable! The crowds were awe-inspiring and the support simply inspiring!
Worst moment: At 6 miles, feeling the return of a hamstring strain I had suffered 4 weeks previously and feeling that I would have to drop out with every step after that.
Best moment: every step I did take after that, and actually finishing 30 minutes faster than my last marathon even in a world of pain!!!
Most memorable moment: a stage at 24 miles when I had to stop and walk, but a spectator began chanting my name and dozens of others joined in and gave a huge cheer when I continued running: simply an unbelievable energy boost!!
Biggest surprise: Being handed a Lucozade pouch by Jonny Wilkinson! The race itself was a nightmare after 6 miles when I started feeling that injury, but with the crowd and some sheer determination I managed to finish and will definitely be back next year!!!
|Puddle Jumper, 3:10:10|
What a fantastic day! After 13 years and six attempts I am finally "good for my age"! Thanks to all the Team Macmillan supporters: they were like an extra pair of legs. I must admit I despaired at the start: so many slower runners were clearly jumping the gates and making it so hard to get a steady pace going that I nearly gave up all hope. But I remembered all those cold winter nights of training and hung in there to finally achieve my goal.
Each time I have followed the RW training schedule and it has never failed me. I followed the sub 3:15 this time and that's exactly what happened. I recommend it to anyone.
Thanks guys for all your help, I shall eventually land back on earth sometime!
|The Flying Scotsman, 3:23:05|
I've just got round my 14th London in 3:23:05 - a PB. I ran for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. Great weather, great crowds, great encouragement from fellow runners and great organisation.
My children and I will not forget the Friday I collected my number. Paula Radcliffe gave a talk at the Nike stand about her training and recovery schedules. She was signing copies of her book after her talk and I bought a copy which she signed. Paula also signed my running number ('Good Luck Bernard, Paula Radcliffe'). This made my day and made all those months of training over the years I've ran London worthwhile!!!
What a memento.
The best moment was finishing in under 4 hours. My time of 3:55:50 was 5 seconds quicker than last year, which I found amazingly close and I had to sprint the last 200m. I couldn't believe it was so close! I was really pleased that it was dry and sunny after last year's cold and rain !
Last year my calf really hurt from 11 miles and I had calf trouble in training so I was worried it would hurt again. When I reached and passed mile 11 and my calf was okay, I felt brilliant and all my worries disappeared.
If I can get through a season of training without getting injured and can get more than one 20-mile run under my belt, I'm convinced I can get under 3 :30 !!
My first London Marathon! After trying for years, I finally got in. After all the cold, dark months running in the rain and cold, Sunday morning turned out to be a scorcher!!
I was so excited I thought I would burst! I think the most outstanding moment for me (apart from the finish!) was when I climbed up and then onto Tower Bridge (the noise of the cheering crowds was deafening!)
I never thought I would cry in the middle of a race through emotion but i just couldn't stop myself (it's VERY difficult to cry when you are out of breath and sweating like mad!!).
I had managed to do a 22-mile training run, but I never thought that the last four miles could be so long (and at mile 23 the bottoms of my feet decided to blister-nasty! I've never had a blister before, so this was a whole new experience!). I have to say that the crowds lifted me and virtually carried me the last few miles - I didn't know so many people knew my name (it was on the front of my shirt!).
Then all of a sudden it was over. I'd done it! I had my medal and slowly I began to breathe properly again!! I think I felt every emotion known to man (and woman) on Sunday-it really was unforgettable and well worth waiting for!!
Would I do it again? If you'd asked me yesterday I'd have said NO WAY! But now... I'd do it all again in a heartbeat!! I've got sore legs, blistered feet, sunburned arms and legs - but most importantly, I've got my finishers medal and my time and the knowledge that I ran like a loony around London on Sunday 17th April 2005 and loved every second of it!!
|Cherie Hipkins, 3:50:24|
This was my first marathon and I was pleased to finish under 4 hours (3:50:24) despite pulling a muscle in my foot at 13 miles or so. I started in Blackheath and was surprised how relaxed the atmosphere seemed.
The organisation throughout was great and I couldn't believe I got my kitbag so quickly at the end.
The crowds were amazing (as was the pain!) and I'll never forgot the mental strength needed to keep going.
Tower Bridge, Embankment and turning into Buckingham Palace were memories I'll never forget. I told myself at the finish that I would never put myself under stress or pain again under my own volition. One day later I would do it all again and plan to beat my time...
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