3:26:57 – 834 M45-49, 6,003 overall
I had meant to run the London Marathon last year but during a trip to visit my sister in Los Angeles my nephew Isaiah was taken very ill and was in hospital for over a week whilst they figured out he had severe aplastic anaemia. I decided to extend my stay and help out looking after my other nephew as my sister was living at the hospital with Isaiah. With virtually no training done I decided to defer my marathon place.
A year on and Isaiah is going well though it’s still a long way to go. I decided that I would raise money for The Aplastic Anaemia Trust. This is a small UK charity and given I got my spot on the ballot they would get all the money raise. There’s still time to add to the total !!
For a while I had big plans for getting a good time but eventually the reality of studying for a masters and getting fit enough for our EverydayTraining annual Lanzarote training camp hit home. Specific marathon training just didn’t happen and with my finals currently taking place I did very little running post HVAR as revision took precedence.
I still felt pretty optimistic that I was in better shape than 2017 and decided to try to have a similarly enjoyable race whilst trying to go a little quicker.
With this in mind the gun went (though we couldn’t hear it), the race started and I waited over 5 minutes to cross the line despite being in the front pen. Half a km in I was going rather too easy and had to speed up. Through the first 5k I had to consciously push to get to the 4:50 per KM pace I was aiming for. The idea being if it felt OK I would try and bring it down to 4:45 for a sub 3:20.
Through 5k I was feeling a bit better but it still felt like hard work. The crowds seemed bigger than ever. I concentrate on trying not to zig zag too much but slowly my Garmin was showing more distance than the course markers. (By the end I had 42.6km on my Garmin). After 10k I still wasn’t feeling the best and wondered if I’d gone off too hard. I tried to relax and my mood improved a lot. From 15k I was trying to run well as I was expecting to see Rachel, Darren and Albert along that stretch. I must have spent 5k running scanning the crowd but didn’t see them. I came upon the guy trying for the World Record running as Big Ben – I went by right next to him and asked if he was on target. Later I find out that Albert had joked that perhaps they missed me when they’d been looking at Big Ben ! (We think thats exactly what happened).
Across Tower Bridge the crowds are awesome. I thought of Isaiah and running for the charity. That brought thoughts of racing many years a go (when I was fast) racing money for Alzeihmers and remembering dad as I ran across Tower Bridge.
Every time I’ve done this marathon the same thing happens. Hit halfway feeling good and then immediately feel crap. I reckon it must be because halfway is such a target, you forget how daunting half will feel at that point. Again I focussed on relaxing and it really worked. By far the best I felt all race was between km 22 and 32. After that it went a little downhill. I told myself to relax and get to 35km at which point I should try to push. Two years ago this resulted in an increase in pace. This year quite the opposite. I had nothing left to push harder. Now was hanging on. Initially hanging on still seemed to keep me very low 5 min Ks but by 3km to go when I knew I had sub 3:30 in the bag I couldn’t push any more at all. The splits crept up but not too much.
Again a very enjoyable race though I can tell you racing like I did in 2017 where I was very conservative in the first half and managed a negative split is a lot nice than what I did today. A lot more effort for less that 3 minutes quicker !!
For those that are interested here are some splits and graphs.