London Marathon 2017 – Part 1

London Marathon – Part 1


Stuart Read 2:57:51


I’ve been very fortunate to get into the London marathon twice through the public ballot (feel free to punch me), with the last time being in 2008.  At that time, I was in my late twenties and thought I could get away without training much.  I certainly got what was due to me in last 6 miles of that race.  This time it was going to be different and I felt confident I could get a big PB on my 4.18 time.

With a fairly solid bulk of training over winter and a couple of good marathon paced long runs behind me I was feeling confident heading into a three week taper.

I had read the taper period could be tough mentally but boy!!! By the end I was coughing like a seal, eating junk, walking like a 90 year man and questioning where it had all gone wrong!!  Finally race day came and I was desperate to get on with it.

I can only assume my adrenaline must have been pumping as I had one the worst night sleeps the night before. However by the time I’d got breakfast and caffeine down me on the coach in, I was starting to get excited for day ahead.

My sister was also fortunate to get a ballot place and we were due to start from the same area. We choose a spot, took the obligatory selfie and took in the atmosphere.  All was calm till 9.45 when I think panic hit the toilet queue and people started to drop their pants at every corner. It felt like being at a festival

Bags loaded I headed to the front of my pen and thanks to a handy tip from Nick, I managed to sneak up a pen and get nearer to the 3.15 pacer and we were soon off. I could see the 3 hour pacer up ahead.

After mile 4, I’d lost track of him, but I was comfortable with my pace and tried to focus on taking in some of my nutrition and drinking some water.  It certainly felt a lot warmer than forecast.

I managed to spot a couple of Work friends plus a few LBAC supporters on my way up to Canada Water where I was expecting to see a large LBAC contingent and my wife and family. This spot seems to get busier and busier every year and it was so hard to spot anyone with lines 4 or 5 deep at points.  Note to self, send supporters to a different area next time.  Fortunately I did spot a group of LBAC supporters (thanks to the purple jumper) and feeling uplifted I focused on getting over to half way.

I caught up with the 3 hours pacer by this point and ran with the masses surrounding him until just after half way.  I had to elbow my way through to get ahead of them and soon hit the wharf.  This is an all familiar territory to me so it seemed to pass relatively quickly and I felt ok by the 20 mile marker.

My plan was get to 20 at sub 3 pace and see what I’ve got left to give.  My legs were starting to feel the distance but energy levels were good so I just tried to take it mile by mile and maintain the pace. As I got to 25, I was starting break the distance into smaller chunks. This seemed to be the longest mile and bit of the whole race but finally I could see the finish line and I made sure I dipped under 2:58.

As I crossed the line my legs could barely move and the walk to get my bag was horrendous. A few comments from the marshals pointing me in the direction of the medical area told me I must look at good as I felt. Fortunately I caught up with Tom and we found an area to collapses into and check how everyone was doing.

I was thrilled with my time and pacing.  Support from LBAC on race day was fantastic and a real uplift.  Time for a beer to celebrate.