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|Jon Hull, 4:00|
What an amazing event
The best part: every single mile, where spectators are cheering and routing for you. A truly democratic sport - what a feeling.
The worst moment: about 22 miles. But you had to keep going because of what is at stake.
I managed four hours - to break that a few more miles in the bank and I think add more speed sessions, but I'm pretty pleased with it for a first.
The organisation was superb shows that London quite easily could manage the Olympics: good luck for 2012.
I ran London for the first time, for the Runner's World Forum Tsunami Team, and did 3:58 (well pleased!)
I REALLY don't like crowds - I hate all the jostling and bumping. Euston was packed, the tube was packed, Kings Cross was packed and so the Marathon Expo on Saturday afternoon was a bit of a trial for me. The restaurant ran out of pasta...then suddenly it was Sunday morning and I was on a packed platform at Kings Cross waiting for a packed train to take me to another packed train.
The waiting area was packed, the loo queues were packed and the starting pens were packed.
We started moving... it was packed. We all stopped again by the first portaloos... it was packed.
Then, suddenly at about three miles someone in the crowd shouted MY name: "Come on Chippy, we're all with you"... he really meant it, too. I was nearly in tears: someone I've never met and never will meet REALLY wanted ME to do well. All the jostling and people suddenly changed from stress to help and I started to enjoy it. I never looked back after that.
I apologise to anyone I got in the way of, or snatched the bottle of water they were heading for... none of it was meant. I want thank the marshals, the water people, the RW nine-minute pacers, my fellow Tsunami Team members and especially the fantastic crowds who cheered everyone on.
I'll be back next year, determined to enjoy it even more.
Thank you London.
Best bit: the whole week of the marathon, from NO more long runs, to registering at Excel on Friday, to going up to London on Saturday with friends and staying on the Isle of Dogs - eating pasta and enjoying two pints of Guinness in the evening....
...Getting to the start just in time. Running without a watch - soaking up the atmosphere and sunshine, enjoying the crowds, support and music, chatting with others along the route, spotting supporting friends at mile 22 and 25.5. Getting a PB. Laying in the park in the sunshine waiting for friends afterwards. Having a lovely massage from the Cancer Research Team and a wonderful cup of tea! Strangers coming up and congratulating me personally in the streets afterwards! Guinness in the pub after and my Mum having a roast ready for me for when I finally got home!
Worst bit: getting up and out of the house by 5.30am for training runs in the dark, cold, wind and rainy mornings, before work (and nearly getting drowned by a lorry driving through a big puddle on one occasion). My calves starting to hurt at 23 miles.
Most surprising bit: Action Photo took a nice photo of me smiling!
Key to my success: achieving a PB (would it have been better without the guinness the night before?)
My legs have stopped aching now, but I'll stay off running for at least another week! Then my plans are: The Thame 10K in June, and some other local races including the Otmoor Challenge (half-marathon) in July and then a September/October marathon - and I will be back to London in 2006!
To quote from Lock, Stock: "It's been emotional". This was my first marathon and what an amazing experience it was. After months of various injuries, weekly physio sessions, reduced training and a lot of worry, I finished in 3:55. I couldn't stop crying after I got my medal and all the way through to the repatriation area to meet up with my husband, who was worried something terrible had happened because of my emotional state!
There are some bits of the course where my memories are hazy - I must have been 'in the zone'. However, I will never forget the fantastic feeling of running round Cutty Sark - the atmosphere was unbelievable and provided my first of many 'emotional' moments during the day!
The worst part of the day was getting punched in the stomach at around 20 miles by a fellow runner who was over-eager to meet up with people he had spotted back in the crowd and so he did an impromptu 'about-turn' back into the runners in the middle of the road behind him without moving over to the kerb! This didn't help my nauseous state, which I'm sure was caused by my over-zealous consumption of Lucozade Sport!
Two things I will do differently in my next marathon: stop worrying so much about 'hitting the wall' and therefore getting over-excited about my energy drink consumption to the point of nausea, and I won't wear a GPS watch - I lost the signal so many times that it was telling me I was at 20.8 miles, when I was only at 19.5 - soul-destroying!
I know it begins to sound like a cliché, but the support from both the spectators and FLM helpers really was fantastic - everyone who runs in the London Marathon is treated like a celebrity!
I sincerely hope I can do it all over again next year!
|Lee Cantrill, 4:00|
My first marathon - wow what a day!
Having spent the whole week leading up to the day fighting off a heavy cold, and Saturday wandering round the Expo with my head pounding from an ear infection, it was a relief when race day finally arrived and I was able to take my place at the start. I wasn't looking forward to the warm, sunny conditions though.
That said, I don't think the conditions affected my performance too much - it was more down to the crowds of slower runners, which were frustrating to say the least. I started from pen 7 and it took 10 minutes to cross the start line.
Best and worst moment combined was looking at my watch with a mile to go and realising that despite everything, a sub-four hour time was still possible if I could just summon a quick final mile. I missed out, but only just - if only the finish line hadn't been so far down the Mall!
And what more can be said about the support from the spectators, particularly when I was feeling sorry for myself along the Embankment. My thanks to an unknown lady for those precious few last Jelly Babies!
|Charles Howard, 3:35|
Best moment: Hitting the split times spot on schedule one by one was the most pleasurable running I had ever done, up until the 12-mile point. The schedule remained intact to 15 miles, it was uncomfortable, but that was what I expected. Running for me has always been about times: tapping along nicely in a group at what I consider to be a fast pace. The marathon was to be no different. The "No Walking in a Race" rule has been intact since I introduced it in 1990. Dropping off pace has always meant the race was a failure.
At 18 miles, the engine stopped and I was forced to walk into the realisation of what running is really about. A wall of noise came from my left hand side: 40 to 50 people screaming my name, telling me to get moving, not to give up. I could not look at them because I would have cried. That gesture was repeated countless times in the next eight miles all the way to the finish, and was the best running experience of my life. I was 25 minutes off schedule, but I finally realised that running is not about split times on a watch.
|Kevin Collins, 3:30|
I followed the 3:30 schedule from day one, and apart from a 10-day injury break due to training too hard after the Wymondham 20, and seven days altitude training (well, a ski holiday really) I managed to stick very close to it.
I found that this year's programme with longer sessions for the weekend seemed to work for me. In my five previous marathons I found that I had run out of legs in the latter stages. I was conscious of this and welcomed the extra longer runs and a slightly shorter weekday total.
I ran steady eight-minutes miles, but had a bad time around 20-23 miles. I took my second carbo gel and recovered so well that I managed an excellent (for me anyway) 11 minutes for the last 2km. My only problems now seem to be sunburn and three small blisters on my toes.
I can thoroughly recommend the Wymondham 20 for those in the Eastern/London regions as a Pre London warm-up race.
London once again came up trumps with a superb new course taking out those horrible cobbles and the mini Mount Everest as you came out onto the road by Billingsgate Market.
Thanks for all the advice and helpful tips over a rewarding 16 weeks of hard training.
This was my first London Marathon and I could not believe the noise and support from the crowds. It was amazing; rounding the Cutty Sark was one of the most memorable bits for me. It had my name on the front and back of my T- shirt and got cheered on the whole way.
The excitement pushed my on to a slightly fast first half-marathon at 1:24, and by about 19 miles I was paying for it with stitch and tired legs, though I was still on target to come in around three hours. At 21 miles I got cramp and had to be helped off as my right leg seized up! I finished in 3:17.
Best moment: having a leg massage by a medic to get rid of the cramp.
Worst moment: knowing that I was not going to make my three-hour target as a result.
Next year I will aim to pace myself a bit better and follow the RW sub-three-hour schedule more closely.
I had the best preparation for what was going to be my 15th and fastest marathon: no injuries, coughs or colds. I was able to get out and train regularly, I managed to run just over 400 miles between January and April and ran a couple of PBs over shorter distances.
Everything went well; I stayed in London for two nights before, rested, no sight-seeing, ate well, drank lots, no alcohol, got to the start on time - found that I didn't need my Helly, gloves etc. crossed the start line very soon after the start and straight into my pace.
I had aimed to run just under eight-minute mile pace; my second mile was 7:50 and comfortable so I endeavoured to hold that pace. It was much warmer than I thought, so I drank at each drink station.
At mile three I overtook a rival, at mile four was joined by a fellow club member who ran with me and chatted for a mile before running off "to do a few fast miles". I held myself back!
At mile 10 the aforementioned rival overtook me and was not seen again.
At mile 16 the Runner's World eight-minute mile pace team overtook, panicking me as I was still two minutes ahead of schedule, and thought they should be behind me. I stayed with them until the next water stop when I got hemmed in and they gradually pulled away.
The crowd support was fantastic - my ears are still ringing, they really carried me along. The crowds have always been great but this year were exceptional. It also helped to run near two other runners with the same name as me (clever enough to put their names on their T-shirts) because all their encouragement I thought was meant for me.
I had slowed a little by 21 miles, but 3:30 was still achievable - but when I got to 23 miles I could not run any further. I did not slow down, feel more tired, develop any cramps or aches: I just had to stop.
Luckily I was just before a water station so I took a bottle and walked with it, I walked to the next water station and then tried to run again but couldn't, walked for 200 yards then broke into a jog!
I was then able to keep this going and gradually increased the pace (I had my supporters along the Embankment so had to look good).
The last mile was surprisingly my fastest but I did not manage to smile when I crossed the finish time in a PB (by 30 seconds), as I was 11 mins slower than my target!
Looking back now it was a great event. The highs were the crowd, the camaraderie, the PB and Paula winning. The lows were the number of people collapsed/collapsing in the later stages, the wall (if that's what it was), the fact that I'll have to wait at least a year to do it again, and lastly no cheese and tomato sandwich in the goody bag!
Sunny but not too hot, crowd better than ever (I still feel emotional when I think about the support we received).
Well done London - how could we not come back!
|Shachar's Dad, 3:44|
The whole weekend was superb, from the extremely well-organised exhibition and number collection, to the meeting points in Horseguards Parade.
The lowest point: hitting the wall at seven miles through dehydration, though couple of bottles of water later and I was fine.
High point: getting to 20 miles and realising that I was going to finish, and would raise the money for my chosen charity ELF.
I went to the Charlton-Bolton game on the Saturday and spoke with a couple of Bolton supporters who were so impressed that I was running 26.2 miles that they gave me some sponsorship. Only London can capture the public's imagination like this.
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