I’m not really where to start on this one and to be honest last weekend was all a bit surreal; I still can’t believe that I was quite so very fortunate to run the marathon on Sunday. However my good fortunate was a direct result of somebody else’s misfortune, more of that at a later date.
I ended staying in rented house in Feltham with a group from the running club which was ideal. Close to shops, restaurants and most importantly the railway station. We headed to the Excel on the Saturday morning which was busy but still comfortable and the sense of nervous excitement in around is so special. Had a mooch around for an hour or so and bought a few bits and pieces but from what I could see the days of grabbing yourself a bargain are long gone.
After the Excel and trying to strike a balance between sitting in the house going stir crazy and over doing things on the tourist trail we headed to the college at Greenwich. What a place, very impressive and a great place to get something to eat and a coffee and watch the world go by. If you haven’t been I can highly recommend it and of course we fitted in a wander around the Cutty Sark. Then it was back to the house for an evening of carb loading either in the form of the by now dreaded pasta or the more popular cake. Not surprisingly the talk was dominated by plans for the Sunday who was going to be where and more importantly given the ever changing and differing weather forecast what to wear.
After a pretty restless night I was up at 06:30 and pretty soon the old fb sprang into life. I’d just like to take this oppourtunity to thank everybody for their comments and support and whilst I don’t run with a phone but knowing that you crazy bunch were out there tracking and supporting is such a powerful weapon to have up my sleeve and was used especially in the darker times of the run. We got to Blackheath just as it stopped raining at about 08:30. By now the atmosphere and excitement was building, unfortunately the temperatures weren’t. I must have of spent a full 45 minutes uming, aahing and removing and adding layers. I finally settled for the rb Snowdon t-shirt, club vest and sleeves combination. All too quickly the bag was ditched and I was heading off to pen 6, not ideal but I was just so unbelievably lucky to be there I still couldn’t quite believe it.
Then we were off walking slowly at first before breaking into a trot and then 4 ½ minutes after the off I was crossing the start line. The first couple of miles were as always pretty chaotic and slow we even came to a stop after ½ mile but at least this stopped me going off to quickly. Plenty of swerving and even resorted to running on the pavement for various sections. Before I knew it we were passing through Greenwich and where we were less than 24 hours earlier how different and how brilliant the crowds, the Cutty Sark
and onto mile 7. Time for a systems check all seemed to be ok just a little off where I wanted to be and time to turn the sleeves into sweat bands. And on we go the section from mile 8 to mile 10 appeared to be the only section where the crowd wasn’t 3 or 4 deep. Then its on to Tower Bridge and words just simply cannot describe the welcome where else in the world would a balding middle aged civil servant from Plymouth receive such support and yes I did slow down and yes I did milk it. Unfortunately I missed Kat. I hit the half way point at 1:45:21 on track at last and all systems were doing ok. Tried to spot Vickie, Hobs and Jim but I missed them in the masses but I was fortunate to see the leaders, just incredible so graceful so easy I just wish they could at least look as if they were making some sort of effort. Mile 15 to mile 18 are normally where the all the demons and traditionally come into play. Although it got really busy, the crowds were constantly being asked to keep back, the demons seemed to have gone missing. However according to Mr G mile 15 was my slowest mile not sure why unless was something to do with losing the signal in the tunnel. I had a chat with myself at mile 19 I knew if I kept working as I was that a pb and a sub 3:30 was on the cards. Time to go dark, time to go deep, time to get in the zone. The next few miles were a bit of a blur to honest a blur of colour, a blur of noise this is when the mind focuses on home, on the long lonely nights on the road to hell, and on the unbelievable support network that’s here, you’re brilliant you are. All of sudden its real again as I spot Gaelle what a huge lift and just at the right time. Then just as I’m wilting again and I spot Vickie, Hobs and Jim sorry I didn’t stop guys but I got what I needed, the look and a absolutely massive cheer. It certainly worked mile 24 was the quickest of the day. Out onto the Embankment and couldn’t believe someone had only gone a nicked Big Ben I could have sworn that you could see her as you come out of the underpass but obviously not. Not long now and still feeling good and I became aware that I was passing people. As I headed along Bird Cage Walk it dawned on me that my calculations over the later miles had been worked out on only running 26.2 miles. The targets were still achievable but that last 800 metres were going to hurt and hurt they did the last turn done and there’s the finish line that just gets further and further away. Then it’s done, job done I’m one very lucky individual to have got this chance. The Kenyan finish really took it out me and ended up drapying myself over one of the barriers as soon as I done this one of the first aiders came over to check I was ok, which I was, I was just feeling so sick but it soon passed. Sorry Manchester runners but my bag was waiting for me before I got to the collection point. Brilliant.
Then it was time to meet up with the others. By now I was so cold it was a case of putting every item of clothing I had with me coffee and food before heading back to the house and great evening of beer, beer, food, some fizzy winey stuff and yet more beer.
Now I’m having a bit of a recovery week before all thoughts are focussing on the next challenge which will be on me before I know it. Once again thanks very much for all your support and understanding it what were far from the normal circumstances.
Final stats 26.49 miles in 3.29.34 at 7.56 pace at last a sub 3.30 at the third time of trying and a 4 year wait for a pb
Finally I couldn’t finish this without mentioning Capt David Seath such a terrible tragedy to lose someone doing so much for those so much less fortunate than himself. RIP Sir a true hero.
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