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|Barry Metcalfe, 3:13|
I'm back in one piece - just!
I started off steady (eight-minute miling) for the first couple of miles to make sure my calf was okay (I had picked up a strain the previous Monday). Then I stepped up, feeling good, and went through halfway in about 1:34.
Just after that, the calf cramped up. I decided to ease back a bit and keep going as far as possible. It eased a little after a couple more miles, until about 18 miles, when it cramped quite badly again. But I wasn't going to let it beat me. I worked out that if I could keep going at eight-minute mile pace, I should get in under the magic 3:15. I kept focusing on each mile at a time, and it was sheer stubbornness for the last mile and a half to get myself across the line in a shade under 3:14. Job Done.
Another great boost was that when I was struggling a bit with my calf, I still managed to pass Gordon Ramsay (not a swear word to be heard). I had a few words with him and then left him in my wake.
What a fantastic day! Beautiful weather, superb crowds.
This was my second marathon. I did it once for the experience in 1999, but trained harder and followed so much RW advice this time. You can't imagine how much the newsletter and web page meant to me. I've knocked 50 minutes off my last time even though I'm now six years older. And I broke four hours....fab!
Best moment: just savouring the roar of the crowd all the way round from Blackheath to Westminster. It makes you so proud of your home city and of course seeing your family and friends cheering you on when they've been so understanding during all the training.
The worst moment was when I was bursting for a wee, desperate to go and then the RW pacer (nine-minute mile pace) runs past me at 13 miles. If I was to have a chance of achieving my goal of a sub-four hour finish I knew I couldn't afford to stop as I'd never catch them again. So I kept my legs crossed, fingers crossed and kept running. I tried not to think about it for the next 13 miles and then by the time I'd finished I didn't want to go any more!
Key to success: for me, it was the RW pacers on the day... thank you so much!; some good hill- and speedwork over the winter, and my MP3 player ! (I recommend Keane, Barry White's 'You're my everything' and Maroon 5)
A golden moment was in the changing tent at the start when someone broke the ice when they asked the male runner getting changed into a fancy dress costume portraying a women giving him a piggy back a la 'Bernie Clifton' and asked how his training runs had gone in the costume?
A final memorable feeling for me was just the unspoken mutual respect you all shared for every other runner. I felt particularly emotional when the 'rhinos' lined up at the start and got an unprompted burst of applause from everyone near them and when all the thousands and thousands in Greenwich Park cheered when the race started. Thank you everyone for such a special day.
|John Halliwell, 3:08|
Back running marathons after they disappeared from Manchester, and after 22 years a new PB - by exactly one minute - I couldn't have chosen a better place to do it!
A fine marathon. I was hoping for sub-3:15, but the RW race calculator indicated I am currently capable of 3:18, and I couldn't prove it wrong. I didn't expect to get sun-burned in April, but have a set of marks on my shoulders!
Best moment: relaxing in the sun before the start with a good book! It's nice to not be huddled in the crowd sheltering from the rain.
Worst and weirdest moments: during the last two miles. Although my pace only faltered slightly, (I dipped from 7:30 miles to just over 8-minute miles), I went very light headed, and then got tunnel vision, and with the crowds roaring and Big Ben ahead, I had an "Apocalypse Now" experience, which was very weird.
I really couldn't hear the crowd for the last mile, though I knew that they were cheering and shouting all around me. That was certainly memorable.
What I would do differently: If I get in next year I shall not be quite so shy about getting to the front of my pen at the start. I prefer to run past people rather than be overtaken for the whole 26 miles, but there are so many runners at London, that you lose too much time. I wish someone would tell the slower runners how depressing it is to be overtaken for four hours solid - and that they really are better off starting further back with their peers.
Secret to my success: "Done it before".
|Andy Brown, 3:46|
A glorious day for it, we all agreed standing at the red start in Greenwich. This was my second venture into the world of marathon running. My first was in 1996, again in London, and like so many others I said those immortal words 'never again'. But there I was again, with 36,000 others.
Biggest surprise: to me, it was how good I felt having endured a month off training in February due to a hamstring pull.
Most memorable moment: collecting a Lucozade from our lord and saviour Mr Jonny Wilkinson. God bless him.
What I would do differently: to stop training the second any sign of injury rears its ugly head. Don't try to run it off. It doesn't work. I found out the hard way.
I joined a local running club in January and that proved invaluable. Not only did I find running in a group much easier than solitary training, but I was also able to pick up lots of advice from some of the more experienced runners within the club. I also consulted a podiatrist who videod my running style and advised me on what shoes would suit my action. That advice also proved to be a godsend as I had suffered terribly in my first marathon with blisters. This time round not a blister in sight. Big hand for my podiatrist!
This year I ran the FLM half an hour faster than I did back in 1996, which I was amazed by. I put it down to correct footwear, an immense amount of pasta and jacket spuds in the lead up to the big day and kicking my Guinness and chicken tikka masala diet into touch for a few months.
I learnt that a bit of hard work and sweat can and does pay off in the end.
The race, the build-up, the aftermath, was, and is, an emotional experience. Running 26.2 is like living a mini-lifetime. You are born into the race, full of excitement and blundering, cumbersome movements as you feel your way towards a rhythm. You mature towards the mid-section, the energy systems of your body working in balance, your muscles and tendons moving fluidly as you cruise forward with purpose. You work harder in the last third to achieve what you once found easy early on, and at the end you struggle against debilitating physiological limitations.
And then you cross the finish line, stifle a few tears, and go have a pint of Guinness!
|Eimear Curtin, 3:56|
It was such an amazing day, one I will never forget. The weather was really hot, great for spectators but tough for us athletes, but the atmosphere carried me though. The crowds were awesome and gave us runners such a lift, so thank you all very much. You might not believe me but I literally smiled my way though the whole 26.2 miles, I loved it so much, as I said myself after the race: 'I enjoyed every single second of it, would love to do it all over again.'
I completed the marathon in 3:56, so as a first-timer I am pretty impressed with myself... I had prepared very well for it which I think is the key. All the training definitely paid off both during and after the race, no major injuries, aches or pains at all and still feeling great after three days!
I'm looking forward to taking part again next year. The other most rewarding aspect is the fact that most of the people that took part raised £1000s for various charities. I raised just under £2000 for Whizz-Kidz, which in itself is an achievement!
I have to say that of all the sporting events I have attending and participated in, the London Marathon beats them all hands down...
|Carle Green, 3:26|
As a non-runner before this, and as it was the first event I'd ever entered, I was a little unsure as to what to expect - but WOW, what an amazing day!
The atmosphere and crowd were absolutely unbelievable right from mile one through to the end... I managed 3:26 in my first marathon which I am over the moon with, but most of the credit for that has to go to the crowd who get you through with more smiles and encouragement than I thought was possible. I'll be back next year...
It was one of the best days of my life!
My favourite part of the race this year were the crowds, who were out in force. I stopped running at 22 miles and started to walk, but the crowd started shouting at me to run and this gave me the impetus I needed to start up again and carry on running. The heat was a big minus factor; you do all your training in the winter and then on the day you are faced with a beautiful summer day - perfect for spectators; not so good for runners.
The best part of the day for me was going back to my hotel in Oxford Street. The number of people who stopped to congratulate me or shouted well done after seeing my T-shirt and medal... and a big thanks to the staff in Starbucks who gave me my coffee for free. I felt like a star.
|Annie K 3:50|
The best bit had to be seeing Jonny Wilkinson giving out drinks at the 23/24 mile mark (location a bit hazy!) - what a boost that was!
Also, I beat my last time (2002 and pre-baby) by a minute - to the exact second - how weird is that?
And I can't believe I forgot how HARD the last five miles is - but the crowds were fab and provided great support.
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