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|Sub 5.00 Jaq, 4:58|
I had the best day possible. I woke up feeling calm and rested, with no niggles. The sun shone all the way and I ran with a great guy from Woking. We kept each other going with songs, jokes and quotes from Star Wars!
I wanted to come in under five hours, and made it by a whisker, sprinting the last 200 yards with energy I didn't know I had left.
It was everything I wanted it to be and most of all I have made my friends and family proud as well as raising lots of money for my charity. I wouldn't change a thing!
An unforgettable day. It was my second marathon, and I was able to enjoy this one so much more. I high-fived the kids and waved at the DJs, clapped and sang along with the bands, felt like I was at a huge party...
The crowds were amazing; the advice to put my name on the front of my vest was the best ever. I didn't run more than a hundred yards without someone calling my name and cheering me on. I felt like a star for a day. I couldn't believe the number of people who stayed so long to cheer and shout for total strangers. I could never have done it without them.
The worst moment came around 21 miles when I just seemed to grind to a halt. My legs felt so heavy and my hip was hurting. I had to walk but again the crowds convinced me I could keep going and got me running again.
The last two miles were among the fastest I ran... I didn't run my target time but realise now it doesn't really matter, I did it and I enjoyed it.
My most memorable moment came under the bridge onto the Embankment, when I was chatting to a girl running her first marathon and she said she never believed it could be so special. She said it was the most amazing day she'd ever had, she couldn't believe the support everybody gave, and for me she summed up the FLM. It really is the people's marathon, not about getting PBs or elite running, but something for everyone.
I learnt to respect the distance more than I had the first time and train better. But more than anything I learnt to enjoy the day and soak up the unique atmosphere. I didnt know running a marathon could be such an emotional experience.
|Jonathan Joseph, 4:24|
A marvellous day is the only way to describe it.
It was my first marathon, and I was really nervous getting ready. I got the train to Blackheath from Charing Cross to get there about 8.30am, and a good job too, I only just managed to get on. The poor buggers at Waterloo must have felt desperate seeing the train leave without them.
The atmosphere amongst the runners is something unique. The crowds were immense; the only areas with no support were underground! Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge were by far the highlights for me.
In terms of the race, the wheels came off at mile 16. I guess I started too hard, even though this was well within my training pace. The heat was something I do not get on with. Judging by the sunburn on my back at the end it must have been really nice watching.
I run-walked to the end, in a respectable 4:24. Thanks to something I had read in RW I knew you could put in a good time by run-walking, so I did not feel desperate with 10 miles to go.
Finishing was a really emotional experience, something I guess you only feel having been there. I was knackered but elated. I will be entering again next year, and guess with greater disappointment should I not get in through the ballot. I am hooked!
|Ali Baptiste, 4:51|
It was an amazing day - I remember thinking several times, "I am really enjoying this!" and that was up to mile 18 or so. Then it was hard - really hard - for about four or five miles. Everything in my body was saying - "stop, walk!" but I just kept going and then of course the last mile or so was great!
I finished in 4:51, which I was delighted with. Bronchitis five weeks before marathon day took three weeks out of my training, including my last two long runs, and then I had a sore throat on marathon day itself, so I decided to take it very gently.
The key to my success was the RW pacemaker, Ross. I stayed within sight of him all the way: he stopped me from going too fast at the start and gave me the focus I needed to keep running during the hard miles later on. I know I would have been a lot slower without him. My half-marathon time shows I did the second half one minute faster than I did the first half - a perfect split!
|Tara Emery, 4:31|
Best moment: was just after the Cutty Sark when I saw a whole group of Sunflower Hospice supporters - I was a real show off!
Worst moment: 23 miles was a real killer, it just seemed to go on and on and on and on.........
Biggest surprise: having run London before, my biggest surprise was how much pain I was in over the two days after the race - everything has been painful, legs, back, bum, chest and stomach.
What I would do differently: I would train even harder next time. I have done two marathons before and each time I have knocked off 20 minutes. If I can keep on going, I will be chasing Paula's tail in a few years' time!
|Old but slow, 4:18|
I was expecting 3:40-3:45, but knew I'd blown that when my knee went at 14 miles. It was a grim old slog after that, with several walk breaks while I tried to massage bits of cartilage back in.
The only thing that kept me going was the good humour of the supporters, not to mention their endless supply of Bassett's Jelly Babies, which I now know are responsible for getting so many people through the last few miles.
Bertie Bassett, we salute you.
What a wonderful event!
My preparation was not ideal, having picked up shin splints three weeks before and having to rest (something I found very difficult to do!) Thanks to Shan, my sports therapist, and ultrasound I got to the start line.
This was my sixth marathon and second London. By mile 16, despite the efforts of my club colleague, I knew any hope of achieving a PB was out of sight.
Once I decided to stop focusing on the time, I felt I was running in a totally different race. The crowd support was wonderful, even better than in 2003, with support all along the way. My particular thanks to the crowd who egged me on to run when I would have loved to keep walking! The marshals did a wonderful job in keeping the supporters off the road at Canary Wharf (in 2003 we had to walk parts of this section due to crowd encroachment).
Spotting my husband at mile 25 gave me such a buzz that I even managed to keep running right until the end. The support by Westminster Abbey was unbelieveable. On Birdcage Walk I stumbled; the collective sigh from the crowd as I tripped, and then the massive cheer I received when I managed to keep myself off the tarmac will remain with me forever.
My only moan is about having to stand so long to get through the crowds into Horseguards Parade and the repatriation area. My legs were cramping badly and you just couldn't move - more signs to show the other exits were needed!
|Chris Monks, 4:38|
Having been a mediocre cross-country team runner at school and spending a good deal of my 30s doing half-marathons, I had always hankered after doing a full marathon before getting too old. I thought about it coming up to my 40th birthday, the marathon in that year being on the day of my birthday, but didn't get my act together to apply. I think I was pretty busy at that time going through what others might describe as a mid-life crisis.
I secured a 2005 place though, even though in September the distances that I had been running were nowhere near the 20 miles per week which were the prerequisite for the start of the marathon training schedule that I had put myself on to go under four hours in the FLM.
I did start with the best intentions. I wanted to complete as many of the mid-week runs as possible, but would make sure that I did at least the distance specified for the long run on the Sunday. For the first few weeks I stuck to this, but was finding it hard to get more than two runs in mid-week. However, at that time the Sunday long runs were going well.
Unfortunately, at about week nine, I started having problems with my left knee. I eventually had the choice of pulling out of the marathon, or keeping myself fit by other means and going for it in the day. As I had been waiting a considerable part of my life for the chance to take part in this fantastic event, I decided to go for option two. I was going to go for it and I knew that I would suffer on the day.
On the morning of the race Carol and I were out of bed at 6.30am and I made porridge. On the train I met a fellow runner (Hardeep) who was also looking for a sub-four hour time but I think was a lot better prepared than me. After a change of trains my new friend and I boarded an extremely crowded train heading for Greenwich.
As I stepped from the train onto the platform of Greenwich station I could feel the excitement in the air. The atmosphere was electric. So many people all there to achieve something for themselves and their charity. There were two or three spectators for each runner disembarking from the train.
The start itself was great fun, if a little slow. As the crowd started to move forward and eventually out of the gates of Greenwich park in front of the television cameras, I was thinking about the small matter of the 26 miles ahead and was more than a little concerned.
It was difficult to keep an even pace. There were people weaving about, pushing though, and some stopping directly in front of me. There were plenty of people running using their mobile phones to let their friends know how they were doing.
I didn't really notice the miles going by at this stage. I was preoccupied with the other runners, the drinks stations and the cheering of the crowds. I was pleasantly surprised to see the eight-mile marker go by and the pain in my knees was still at a reasonable level. By mile 11 I felt really good. This lasted until well over Tower Bridge and to over the halfway mark. It was then that the lack of training started to show.
I had it in my mind that if I could reach mile 17 I would stand a good chance of reaching the end of the race. I don't know why I though this, because when I did reach that point, I felt completely differently. I was getting quite lethargic and the running style had almost completely disappeared. Despite that fact that I was taking on board energy drinks and trying to stay focussed I continued to deteriorate until mile 21.
I remember thinking that I was being silly. It was only another five miles to go! At that point I realised that I was running slower than some people who were walking next to me, so I decided to walk to try to rekindle some energy and style.
I started to feel slightly human again and able to run, if but slowly, but with reasonable style when I emerged from the tunnel onto the Victoria Embankment. The crowds there were amazing. They just made me want to run. I was hurting a lot, but kept going. Nobody seemed to know quite how far the finish was, but once I saw the London Eye, I knew that I wasn't too far away.
The last mile was incredibly emotional. The crowd was so loud, I realised that I was really going to make it. Even though my legs were shot, I felt strong in myself. As I rounded the corner into Parliament Square I was wiping the tears from my eyes. Mile 26, only another 385 yards to go, but they seemed to stretch for miles. Then I finally reached the finishing arch. I went for the middle one and managed a half smile to the camera. What a feeling - I had done it !
When Carol and I got home, she laid me on the sofa and plied me with tea. I eventually managed to take a shower and then climbed the stairs, rather wearily to bed. Needless to say, I slept extremely well. I did have a small Guinness to celebrate. And what did I dream of? Next Year!
Sunday was my first marathon and my 40th birthday. It was the best birthday I've ever had.
Training had been erratic since Christmas, due to colds and knee problems so my goal changed from sub-4:30 to 'run all the way', which I did. I'm delighted with my time.
I was very excited about the race all week and I had the biggest grin on my face most of the way round. I'm still on a complete high. The atmosphere was phenomenal and the encouragement from other runners and spectators was fantastic.
The high points were seeing my family and friends around the course, especially when my daughter got herself up on a scaffold tower in Poplar with a fireman's microphone to wish me happy birthday.
At the end I couldn't quite believe I'd done it. I met up with my friends and family in Green Park for a picnic afterwards which was the perfect end to the day.
I don't think I'll ever do London again. I'll never repeat that special first marathon feeling. There are others though. Now how many air miles do I have?
My first marathon, after the disappointment of having to defer last year, it was a surreal experience to actually be there, and I still can't quite believe it was me running around London.
My proudest moment is to say that I ran the whole way and didn't stop once. I saw the RW supporters at 17 miles but by then I was on a roll and couldn't stop, but they all screamed my name as I ran past.
Seeing my mum and daughter at mile 22 was very emotional.
The worst moment was when a stupid spectator ran in front of me and I had to push her so I didn't collide with her.
The whole day was magical, the weather, the crowds and support, but as I ran the last three miles and my quads were screaming at me I thought 'I have to do this again in three months in the Swiss Ironman after a big swim and big bike ride!' GULP!
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