London Marathon 2016! (part 1)

With 10 LBAC runners in the London Marathon 2016 we thought it best to have a quick report from a few different runners to get the overall and differing views from across the field. One thing we can all agree on though is the excellent performances across the board. From those new to running and the club, to PBs and Club records to those who pushed on despite the difficulties, injuries and everything the course threw at them.

And here is Katie Haylock’s, Andy’s, David’s, Jo’s, Kas’ and Lynn’s take on it!


Katie Haylock – 3:57:00

Rewind two years, when I was supporting the LBAC London Marathon runners of 2014, loving every minute and soaking up the incredible atmosphere.  I left with excitement running through my veins and immediately entered the ballot for 2015 with every hope that I wouldn’t actually get in!  Come on, achieving a place through the ballot is impossible…..isn’t it!?  Well clearly not, my London Marathon magazine finally arrived with Congratulations displayed all across the front, “Oh dam it” I said!

I managed to defer a year so that Adam could run in 2015 but it wasn’t long before the end of the year came round and I had to start thinking about my training.  To my delight Lynn managed to secure a place in the LBAC ballot and being the superstar planner she is we soon had a training plan to boot.  During the week we would train alone but Sunday’s  we came together and began building up the miles.  During these long runs the miles seemed to fly past with all the catching up we needed to do!

It became evident quite early on that training for a Marathon was not going to be easy, especially with a young family and it wasn’t long before my training was interrupted with illness, a sore throat and all the trimmings seemed to rear it’s ugly head a couple of times throughout the few months.  However, putting the violins away and moving on, race day soon arrived.  Alarm was set for 4:30am, I had managed to have a solid 5 hours sleep so was pretty happy with that.  I was surprisingly hungry so had some cereal and made some porridge to take with me and eat on route.  Lynn arrived at 5:20 am to pick me up and on we went to collect Jo before heading to Leighton Buzzard to catch the Leighton Fun Runners coach.  We were the cool bunch who took over the back seat!  The bus seemed to have an air of nervous excitement and it was quite a surreal journey in that it didn’t feel like I was actually off to London to run the Marathon.  My tummy was in knots but I knew I needed to eat something so I took out my porridge and attempted to eat it, after a few comments about the look of it I took about 45 minutes to get it down.  I’d just about finished when we finally arrived at Blackheath, we piled out of the coach and after a quick photo myself, Lynn and David said our good luck’s to Laura and Jo and headed to the start.  We had about 2 hours to kill before we were off and a lot of this was taken up with trips to the porta loo’s, however these were broken up by a couple of visits from Tom and Graham who were patrolling the area for wheels!

Kit bags in the lorry and it was one last loo stop before making our way to the starting pens, Lynn and I said our goodbyes and filtered into the crowds of fellow runners.  It wasn’t a long wait before I was off and as I ran up to the start line and past the grandstand full of supporters I flung my arms in the air and promptly gave myself stich, not the best of starts!  Things didn’t really improve from then on, I felt uncomfortable from the beginning which meant that I didn’t really enjoy the whole experience.  Highlights however were Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and seeing Big Ben as I knew I was so nearly at the finish.  The support was out of this world, spectators everywhere, I had great support from Adam and Lynn’s family at miles 9, 17 and 20 and thank you to the two Stuarts for their shout outs along the way.  Just after 17 miles I was very ready to find an escape route from the pain and discomfort I was feeling, Lynn ran past me with the 3.45 pacer and I blurted out that I was going to give up, she told me to just get to mile 18 and another lady next to her shouted ‘don’t give up, don’t do it’.  I made it to mile 18 and carried on to mile 20 where I knew I would see Adam, I also saw my father-in-law who was armed with Jelly Babies and mini mars bars for me.  By now I had given up on getting anywhere near the time I had hoped for but suddenly something changed and I started to believe in myself again, I knew that run or walk I could make it to the finish so I kept going.  The last few miles are tough in that you see a lot of people walking and in a bad way, I made it to mile 25 where I saw my sister-in-law and family which was lovely and gave me a real boost which spurred me on, I looked at my watch at this point too and realised that I could actually make it in under 4 hours ‘Woo Hoo’ this gave me all the energy I needed and I managed to finish in 3 hours 57 minutes!  Absolute relief was the emotion I encountered when I finished followed with immense pride, it was time to don my medal and head to meet friends and family to celebrate.

David, Lynn and Katie keep warm at the start

David, Lynn and Katie keep warm at the start

Andy Inchley – 3:01:51

My marathon running “career” is something of a tale of woe. In nine previous attempts there was really only one that I was genuinely pleased with – Amsterdam 2011 – and five previous London’s had never gone to plan but 2016 was going to be different! I’d had my best cross-country season for years, done five 20 mile training runs plus another four over 15, got a new PB in a 20 mile race and still had the speed for a good Stag time. All of the ingredients were there, surely?

The last three weeks however, went a long way from the plan. Bad blisters at Oakley, some heart rate issues on a couple of training runs, a bit of a ‘mare at the Sandy 10 and subsequent cold all went a long way to ruining the confidence I had built up. I approached the day looking at my original 2:50 target in hope rather than expectation as I swallowed a couple of Beechams tablets on the morning of the race.

To be fair the weather couldn’t have been much better for running and so as Chris and I set-off together from the red start we felt pretty confident about the run. However, even in the first mile as we ran along just over our desired pace I knew that my legs weren’t up to a fast one. As Chris ran off in mile two I adjusted my sights and decided to just run how I felt and target a sub-3 and to run all the way, neither of which was something I’d achieved at London before.

Over the course of the next 20 miles it was quite a nice experience really. I saw and chatted to ten or fifteen other runners from local clubs who I was mostly overtaking main and whilst I didn’t have a huge amount of time in hand I felt pretty confident of ducking under three hours. I’d had loads of support along the course from all sorts of friends who were out supporting and my pace was really consistent to about 22 miles.

At 22 suddenly the top of my hamstrings and groin started to tire and tighten and I was looking for an excuse to stop, but I saw our friend Julie screaming at me at the top of her voice from the side of the road and I gave myself a real talking to and dug in. I changed my focus and even said to myself; “Just hang-on to 25 and then go for it in the last mile.” For the first time in the race though people who I knew were coming past me, giving me encouragement rather than the other way around and my legs were really struggling.

At around 24.5 miles I suddenly felt a wave of energy approach from behind as a group of 100 or so runners surged past following the 3-hour pacers and as they moved steadily away the energy drained from my legs and I felt like there was nothing there. I stepped to the side and tried to stretch some energy back, but all that did was give me a sharp cramp. The last mile or so was hideous with lots of stopping and starting and I crossed the line in just under 3:02. There was no exhilaration, but equally no massive disappointment either. I had probably run the most sensible race I could have run and just didn’t have it in my legs (and maybe my head too) on the day.

I’ve certainly had less enjoyable marathons as the support and camaraderie was immense, I wasn’t my usual slave to the watch and there were a few lessons that I  learnt too. With a new family member on the way and Amy planning on doing London next year I will leave marathons for a while and look at new running targets. One day I’ll get there, just not quite yet!

Andy spots the camera

Andy spots the camera

David Killick – 3:32:50

London 2016 was 4 years since my last Marathon and given my form in 2015, I thought I could take on the longer distance challenge, beat my PB of 3.52 and feeling lucky try to dip under 3.30.  That was the idea until 5 weeks before the Marathon I suffered a bad achillies/calf injury and only decided to run a week before with only one testing 10 mile and half marathon training run done in the 2 weeks before the marathon plus a lot
of bike work to see me through.
On the day it didn’t quite come off, The first half went well, if not at a bit of a crazy pace (2nd fastest half marathon time at 1.34) and on good training I would have probably held that but the last 6 miles I didnt have any legs left and the injuries kicked.  I still came in at 3.32 which I will take.
Memories of the day:
  • Being in front of Dame Kelly Holmes group for 10 miles
  • the crowds
  • going through the pain barrier and beyond
  • great support from LBAC
  • being taken by so many fancy dress costumes in the last mile,
  • seeing Laura and Jo leave me for dust at various points of the course which shows what a strong female section we have in the club.
Will I do it again…? I have 3.30 now in my head but first I have the Ride 100 cycle race to train for once I can move my legs again!

Johanna Sharples – 03:18:02

The London Marathon for me was all about completing a childhood dream. After spending many a year idolising Paula run (even trying out her head bob), I thought one day I want a part of London.
I had luckily got a good for age time at my first marathon in Brighton 2014, 3hr44m48s was my finishing time, meaning I was 12s under the qualifying time! Which was absolute luck!
So January came and I started training, a plan that Andy had done for Amy the previous year and kindly sent me. I altered it to fit in my races but kept the majority the same. Overall I  loved the training and except for 2 weeks disrupted by illness and a knee injury it went okay.
On the day, I woke up and was shaking with nerves and excitement! I travelled on the LFR bus with Laura, Lynn, Katie and David, where we all enjoyed our cold stodgy porridge. Soon enough we were there and before no time at all in the starting pens!
It was suddenly just me and a pocket full of jelly babies. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we were off… (Well 2mins later I was) I battled through the first 2 miles, the volume of people was incredible- this was where my ‘elbows out’ running style came in handy. The first few miles felt easy, however my knee started to niggle at mile 4 and I thought there’s still a hell of a way to go, so ignore it. The first 10 miles went by very quickly, helped by seeing people I knew in the crowd. I was deafened going over tower bridge and ended up running with a massive smile on my face. I felt like I was holding a fairly consistent pace as my knee pain had slightly subsided, but I had started to get a sharp hip flexor pain in the other leg. I had split the race into 4x5M and 2x parkruns so at 20 I knew what I had to do.
Everything started to hurt a lot more from 20 onwards. I focused on just trying not to slow too much, as I could feel the field fading, people walking, people stretching, people gradually getting slower. I concentrated on the next person ahead of me and soon had just a parkrun to go. All my mental distraction tactics were in play now but I was desperate to see the 25M mark! The last mile was by far the most painful but also my most enjoyable, 800m to go, then 600m, then suddenly I was turning the corner on the mall and heard ‘come on Jo Sharples’ from Tom. I could then see the finish and tried as much as I could for a sprint finish. I had been told to sign a 1 as I crossed the finish, I just about managed to raise my tired arm and stop my watch. I HAD DONE IT! 3hr18min02s, way quicker then my target sub 3.30 and 26min quicker than Brighton.
After concentrating on not being sick I could feel the tears starting, I was shattered and embarrassingly started hysterically crying. A man came over to see if I was okay and I remember saying ‘Yes I’m just so happy’ – all I can say is thank god I was alone!
So my London experience was amazing and definitely not my last, I could talk for ages about the inclusiveness and greatness of running, but I won’t bore you, and I think all of us at LBAC epitomise this!!
Jo is all smiles at mile 9!

Jo is all smiles at mile 9!

Kassia Gardner – 3:35:13

I stood on the start line of the London Marathon just six days after running the Boston Marathon. Having ran 3:37 and got a new PB by over 3 mins (or 17 mins now my Manchester Marathon time isn’t for a full marathon) surely this should be a leisurely run? No. A few days before at the Expo Laura Brine had asked if I was going for another PB, I’d said no, just a leisurely run. But it sowed a seed, I had nothing to lose so standing on the start line the plan was to go out at marathon effort and see what happened – if I imploded at six miles and walked the rest then so be it.

I settled into marathon effort fairly quickly, the legs responding better than I thought they would with Boston still in them. By the time I got to 10k in I realised I was on for a time in the upper 3:34s, I just needed to keep going.

Past the 12 mile point and it was time for Tower Bridge. I love running over Tower Bridge, and I slowed down a little to make sure I was able to look up as I crossed it, and then it was onto half way still on upper 3:34 pace.

In that space where my Garmin had beeped to say I’ve ran 17 miles but I’d not quite reached the 17 mile marker my legs started to object, wanting me to back off. My mantra became, “Just get to the next mile marker” and when I got there I repeat the same thing again, and again, and again.

Just before 20 miles I got shoulder barged by another runner trying to squeeze through a gap and I ended up sprawled out on the road with other runners trying not to trip over me. The adrenaline was now pumping and I shot off leaving the runners who’d seen it happen and checked I was alright for dust, although a few minutes later the hip and knee pain kicked in adding to the voices in my head telling me to walk. But I repeated my “Just get to the next mile marker” mantra and soon there was just a parkrun to go.

I knew at the 40km mark that an upper 3:34 time was gone, I worked out it would be about the middle of 3:35 but I kept pushing as I’d have rather of missed 3:34 by a second than not try.

Running up The Mall was brilliant, and I finished in 3:35:13. While I’m ecstatic with taking two and a bit minutes off my Boston Marathon PB, I’m slightly irritated to miss 3:34:59 by losing 30-35 seconds in mile 24 (I don’t know what happened there), but perhaps that’s just the nature of us runners, always trying to better ourselves.

I love the incredible crowds at the London Marathon. Seeing and hearing all the LBACers (I’m sure they heard Amy Inchley all the way back in my home town of Sunderland) around the course really helped me when the going was tough. I was an amazing day to finish an awesome week, and I even beat British astronaut Tim Peake by 8 seconds!

Thank you LBAC and London, see you again next year?

Kas even featured in Purple & Gold on the telly!

Kas even featured in Purple & Gold on the telly!

Lynn Boddy – 3:50:39

Well, after years of saying it’s not for me,

I was persuaded to enter the ballot by Katie,

With relief I didn’t get in and thought I’m happy with that,

But then found myself placed in the club draw hat.


One cold cross country afternoon Jordan’s name got called,

And when he chose not to do it, my name was next, oh Lord!

So after joining the gym, upping miles and doing sit ups galore,

I found myself running through Greenwich to a crowd’s mighty roar.


At 3 miles I didn’t feel great and my legs felt tired,

So my plan of 3.42 was quickly re-wired.

I decided to stick with the 3.45 team,

Which took the pressure off pace watching, but now to be mean…


It was too busy, my shoes got trod on and I got knocked about,

I thought I’d slip on a bottle and kept waiting for the “mind the bollard” shout.

The 3.45 team had to make up for the first miles being slow,

So a fast 19 and 20 miles followed which was a bit of a blow.


Therefore by mile 21 my plans had to change and adjust,

My legs were getting heavy and slowing down was a must.

I just wanted to keep going and not hit the wall,

Definitely the hardest 5 miles I have ever run at all.


Finishing my first marathon in 3.50 wasn’t so bad,

I was just so pleased it was over to start feeling sad.

I wanted a hug, and hobbled to the meet and greet,

Pleased I could keep moving and proud to be able to stay on my feet.