So, it's all over for another year and the build up starts all over again on the 4th May, when the online entry for 2011 opens, so we have a solitary week of looking back, before we look to next years race.
On what started as a dreary and somewhat damp day in Blackheath, seven LBAC members crossed the finish line of the 30th London Marathon in The Mall around lunchtime. They all finished within 30 minutes of each other, and were pretty much all pleased with their respective results. Form books, training and estimated times all went out of the window as few would have selected the order they came home in.
Throughout the race, the leading pair were Joby Hobbs and Joe Hurley, who were rarely more than one minute apart from the moment the blue and red starts met around the three mile marker. Everyone knew that Joby intended to go off at a quick pace, but we also knew he hadn't run more than 13 miles in training so surely it was just a matter of time before he smashed into "The Wall"! Joe has huge experience of the race and so when he found himself a few yards in front of the boy in just his second marathon, around 23 miles, all the sensible money was on him. Joby, however, ignored the rules that say you have to do lots of long runs and finished the last two or three miles at a stronger pace, to come home in a PB of 3:07:43 with Joe chasing him home and completing a very respectable run in 3:08:48, so both have qualifying times for next year!
Simon Lathwell runs every year in his LBAC club kit, despite living in Poole and proudly joins us in the pub for a drink after running round in what is normally a very good time for a V50. This year he professed to doing the miles in training but having no speed to get around quickly. As a result he was third back for the team in 3:15:39 and will undoubtedly be back for another go next year.
The next two home were Gary Stratford and Tom May, who have both done a few marathons over the last few years and know how to run under three hours. This time around, neither had quite done the training they'd hoped for and so settled for their own personal battle. Tom went through the halfway marker 45 seconds up on Gary, but by the time they reached 30K, Gary was 6 seconds up on Tom, according to the official timing. Gary then pulled away over the last 12K and reached Buckingham Palace a couple of minutes in front of Tom with them recording 3:21:34 & 3:23:38 respectively.
Next home was a very rare occurence, as Stuart Blofeld managed the unusual distinction of a negative split (second half faster than the first). With loads of ultra running experience, Stuart decided that a watch distracts from the run he's doing, and so didn't wear one on the day. Clearly it helped as far as pacing goes, but he may also be a touch frustrated as he missed the 3:30 barrier by just six seconds after going through halfway in 1:45:49! Surely he'll get more than six seconds back next time around.
The final finisher was Fred Watt who was feeling distinctly negative about the whole thing a week ago and didn't think he'd be under 3:45. But as our only V60 representative, he showed that he's still got the strength in him to power round the 26.2 miles and finished in a very creditable 3:34:22. There is however, some controversy over Fred's time, as he was the final finisher in the predict your time competition and as it turned out, his selection of 20 hours and 6 minutes was spot on! He's taken the £21, but there is a stewards inquiry going on to find out if he was checking the other finishing times on route!
For those of you that have not heard, Ruth Conquest was unable to finish the race, having got to 16 miles, but can take great pride in the distance she has come since first starting running a year ago and we wish her well in her future events.
Lloyd Milliken, one our successful U13's from the recent cross-country season was selected to represent the East region in the minimarathon on Sunday morning and thoroughly enjoyed the experience have got to run along part of the famous course and through the official finish line. Lloyd finished in 111th out of the 238 U13 boys that took part. Maybe in another 10 years or so he'll be doing the full course and finishing in a similar position!
Other points of note were that both Joby and Gary got on TV for a while as they were cruising around the course and so did a couple of heroic marshalls! There has also been a new standard set in post race drinking with Joe Hurley's nine pints of Landlord the target to beat for anyone who fancies the challenge in the Princess of Wales next year. So a final congratulations to all those that ran. It was a great day and the club was extremely well represented, so we look forward to seeing all the runners on Wednesday, either trotting a couple of miles or in the pub to recount your tales.