The London Marathon holds a place as one of the World Marathon Majors. It draws a huge field of elite athletes, sub-elite, everyday joggers and 100’s of charity runners.
With a field of about 35,000 people it was an event I have heard so much about, and was really looking forward to competing in. The 3 month immediately leading up to London, I was posted out to Spain for work. This was a great opportunity and gave me a great base and routine for training. Although it did take a lot away from my personal life and experiencing the winter training with friends and my running club Clapham Chasers. But when training needs to be done, it needs to be done.
I completed my second marathon in Edinburgh in 2012 with a time 2hr 54min, which gave me a good for age place in London for 2013. Entry into this run is almost as hard as ticking off 26.2 miles. Naturally I had a couple of goals for London, one was simply to experience and enjoy such a well know and prestigious race, the second was to break 2hrs 45min for the marathon distance.
As I mentioned, I was based in Spain for 12 weeks of a 16 week training program. I was working 7 days/ week which created a very intense routine for training, working, eating, training, working and sleeping. I really focused a lot on building a strong base leading into London, as well as increasing my mileage, having consistent training weeks and focusing on pacing.
In the lead up to London I ran the Clapham Chasers Thames Path 20 miler, one weekend back in the UK. This was a great tester about 4 weeks out from the main event; I managed to take 2nd place for that run and had a great day running with good mates from the club. I then went and built a bike shed that afternoon. It wasn’t because I dislike resting!
Feeling great leading up to the main event, having completed a strong 16weeks of training and adhering to a good taper, something from the past came up. Whilst travelling Europe a few years ago I was struck down with a bad infection in my leg and for some unknown reason this had a tendency to surface every year since, forcing me to take it very easy. 10 days prior to the big event, this issue arose and put me in hospital. I was pretty pissed off. I took a course of antibiotics and was very well cared for by some good friends and just kept my mind off the possible implication of this. Looking back it probably enhanced my taper and made me realize that this is another obstacle that could be over come if I did the right thing. I was lucky that after the 10days, it was cleared up and I was ready to race (so I told myself).
The day of the race, kicks off early with a big trip across London, from West to East. This is where running in one of the World Marathon Majors is unreal. The atmosphere, sheer number of people, and the great attitudes of people is a race day special. Hydration, nervous tension and train times were top 3 on my think list. The organization for such a big event was spot on and its now that I have to mention, if you every get the opportunity to run London Marathon, don’t think twice, accept it and then worry about getting to the start.
The race itself went great, taking it easy on the first half and aiming for a negative split and a 2hr 44min finish. I was lucky enough to be running with some great guys from the club, namely Darren, Biscuits, Toby and James. And we had a great support crew that was incomparable to any I have had since thanks Lush, Sarah and Leanne.
Running for a London Club and doing the London Marathon also has a huge perk. You draw support from so many people yelling out your name and club that continually get spurred on.
At the end of the day I managed to achieve the sub 2:45 Marathon goal… the final couple of miles were very painful as I left cut it very fine with my negative split plan of attack! But I got there and it was great!
The celebrations that followed the day were again something I will never forget. Everyone is happy on race day. The group was full of inspiration and achievement that day Lindsey knocked off her 10th marathon, Biscuits went sub 2:40, Dave went sub 2:35 and I managed a sub 2:45. All whilst being supported by the best on course support crew in London, who brought it to the celebration after.
London Marathon=unreal. Go give it a crack.