Some reports are coming in from this year’s London Marathon. Feel free to submit yours and we’ll post it up. Here are Mike Scotney’s and Sarah Rock’s views of the day:
Sarah Rock: Three months ago, following a recurring IT band injury that forced me to pull out of the 2010 VLM, I wasn’t sure whether I’d make it to race day given the short space of time I had to build up significant training miles to get me through the marathon.
With the physio’s advice of lots of boring monotonous exercises and stretching, I managed to get some 50mile training weeks under my belt before I stood on the start line. However, the only fly in the ointment was an injury to my healthy thigh sustained a week before the big day, which meant I had spent the last 48hrs icing and taking ibuprofen.
I was pleasantly surprised to be on the smaller green good for age start, and knew that there would be no waiting to cross the start line. As we got going, there was some surprising congestion in front of me and that’s when I realised the celebrities start in a pen in front of us irrespective of their speed, and so I dodged round Cheryl Baker plus a few others that I didn’t recognise!
To start with every step was painful in my thigh and I thought that pulling out when the pain became too much was a realistic, albeit sad, option. The first six miles saw the locals out in support and I was high fiving kids and listening to the stereos blasting out of pubs to keep my mind off my leg which was still hurting with every step, but not slowing me down (I ran along with the chef Michel Roux for a few minutes before overtaking him!).
I had been debating whether I could possibly hope to sustain 8min miling and get somewhere near the 3.30 mark, and given that I thought my leg may give up at any point, I decided I might as well try. My parents were surprised to see me so soon at the 10mile point – as my mum scrambled in her handbag to find the gel to pass to me! Last time I ran the marathon, I took on too much lucozade sport and water, with my stomach not being able to handle it. This year I was sticking to my plan – water every 6 miles and two gels, nothing more.
As we hit 16 miles, the sun came out and was beating down unbearably upon us – I threw most of the water over my head, supplemented by showers en route. The miles seemed to tick away quickly with adrenaline numbing the pain in my leg – at the 20 mile point, I realised I was faster than the pb I had set at Oakley 3 weeks ago. I couldn’t quite believe it and wondered whether my risky strategy of going for a fast time would result in a blow up. I had hit the wall at 18 miles last time, but this time, it just never came.
I missed all my other supporters in the latter miles but they saw me and told me afterwards I looked strong. I kept passing people and expecting my luck to run out –as I ran up the last stretch of the embankment up to the Houses of Parliament, I didn’t even notice it was a hill and knew 3.30 was in sight. I hate those signs on Birdcage Walk that say ’800m to go’ as it is impossible to work out how long it will take you to run that distance and it sounds like a short distance but its not! I thought it would never end and just kept putting one foot in front of the other to smash my PB by 14mins coming across the line in 3.28.45.
Aaron, who has recently had a significant birthday and had been trying to work out if he was now a vet and therefore would get an extra 5mins to get good for age, came home in a brilliant mere 47seconds over 3 hours. I’d like to think that it was the big mileage, running lots of cross country this season, or my fuelling strategy that got me round, but today has taught me that the marathon is a complete mystery – I took a risk and it paid off, I was so lucky that it was obviously my day (or perhaps it was the teal laces which brought me luck!)
Mike Scotney: Congratulations to all those BVH’ers who completed the marathon yesterday in testing conditions, particularly those who managed to achieve their goals
I came into the race expecting a Personal Best but left with a Personal Worst! Preparation had been excellent – I’ve never trained as hard and managed some decent PB pre-marathon races and felt good on the day as well, but the course (and the heat) again beat me! I’ve been picking the bones to work out what went wrong and have concluded that I just don’t seem to able to run in any kind of heat.
It all started well. No real pre-race nerves and after bumping into Dave Harte at the start I was surprised to cross the start line in just under a minute, quickly getting in to a 7.40 min per mile stride. There was even a slight breeze which was pleasant for the first few miles. When the different starts merged it was great to meet with Dan Wilson and as we had done a fair few training miles during races together it seemed natural to run together again. Felt fresh at both 10 miles and half way, and with a 1.41 half, I was on course for a 3.20 (or thereabouts), which was the intention.
History repeated itself though going into the Docklands. At about 17 miles I started feeling light headed and after collapsing at a race a couple of years back in the heat, I think self preservation kicked in. I wasn’t going to risk losing the next 2 or 3 months of running by passing out here, particularly as the course was already taking a few casualties by the roadside. I decided it was better to walk / run the rest of the race (at about 13 minute miling), with an emphasis on the walk! With this in mind I gave up on achieving any kind of time and relaxed. At the risk of sounding a misery, I did find that the unrelenting shouting of the crowd was actually an irritant rather than a motivator, and I’ve concluded that big mass participation and mass supported events are just not not for me.
On a positive note, I kind of enjoyed the last few miles and spotting the landmarks. Very disappointed with myself though after I finished, but I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes. I’m now looking forward to putting all those 50+ mile weeks into good effect for the months ahead.
Results (this may not capture every BvH runner. Put your time in the comments if you are missing from the list and ran):