Monday, 26 April 2010

Running the London Marathon 2010

So I must point out the two weeks before the marathon I problems with my right achilles heal - I rested it for a few days then took it some runs and all seemed well. Also a few days before the run I got a sore throat / blocked nose and had been shifting that also.
On the day I felt fine - body felt in excellent shape and although a bit stuffed up first thing, my cold wasn't an issue.. great news!! We go to Greenwich in plenty on time but had to wait nearly an hour for the toilet.. As relaxed as i was I didn't worry too much however only left myself 5 minutes to get to my starting point..
I went into my starting pen (3) but the field was already moving up to the start line - result: I was back with slower runners when the gun went and took about 2 minutes to cross the start line.. when i had I was constricted by other peoples pace and had to zig-zag by them ..This meant my first Km was 5.07 and the second 4.43.. much slower than my 4.30 time I had wanted to do.. I had two choices - stick with it until you gained pace or speed up and catch you time... Now i'm no good at running negative splits so I decided to catch my time up by running faster.. So the next few kilometers went like this:


before long i had caught my pace up but used an awful lot of energy... Everything seemed to be going well so I kept my pace at about 4.30 (as planned) until the half way stage - Tower Bridge.. My official splits show this:


I weather was great - a cloudy sky and hardly any wind - however it did pick up a little on Canary Wharf - but I'd expect that because of the high rise buildings... What i did not expect was breathing problems.. I think this started at the 30km mark going under the skyscrapers on the Wharf. Thinking about it this was probably my cold not coping with the huge breaths i was taking.. one way or the other it slowed me down - I wanted to stop but thought dropping my pace was a better thing to do with such a long way to go... Slowing down worked however, my pace times dropped from 4.40 per km to well over 5 minutes... my dream time of 3:15 at the finish was slipping away and there was nothing I could do about it... I felt upset but plodded on thinking a good time could still be achieved. I didn't expect the next bombshell either..

As I came off Canary Wharf on a small downhill section I felt my achilles strain under pressure.. this was not good - and this now made me panic a little putting fear in my mind that i wouldn't even complete the course. My breathing got worse at this point and there was nothing I could do but walk.. So walk I did, for about a minute when I had got my breath back. My heal was throbing and my pace was slow due to my breathing - I felt uncomfortable but the crowd seeing this were shouting my name and giving me loads of encouragement.. amazing! After 33 and 34 KM marks I picked up a bit but as soon as i did my breathing got worse and I had to walk again!! This was not in the script but was really necessary... running again I went by my charity support group - The Meningitis Trust at about mile 23 - they were SO LOUD! Excellent - I picked up the pace again but breathing once more got the better of me - Blackfriars Underpass approached and I knew my friends were waiting on the other side.. So I walked again for about a minute to get my breath back and to run in front of my mates - lol.. well, you have to eh?!

Out of the underpass I looked to the left to see my friends and low and behold they were not there! I was really upset at this point - but I tried to focus as there were only 2 miles left until the end. (Later I found out they were shouting their heads off on the other side of the road ) I really did have to dig deep at this point - my earlier push to catch my time up was a really stupid thing to do - however, no complaining now - what's the time? I looked at my watch.. I worked out I could still get under 3hours 30 mins if I kept going at my current pace.. But my heal was killing me now - its severity made me walk again on the Embankment - once more peoples encouragement made me run again and although in pain managed to pick up the pace... Birdcage Walk was my last slow low when I walked for about half a minute before throwing myself into a final push under the 800m sign and round the top - past Buckingham Palace - under the 385 yards to go marker and into the Mall.. I was in real pain and probably looked bad but again my charity girls from the stand lept up to give my the biggest cheer I have ever witnessed.. with a smile and a wave and picked up again to the finish line with a tear in my eye.

My official times for the second part of the race looked like this:

30K 02:17:40
40K 03:14:14
place (total) 3834
place (gender) 3415
place (cat) 531
finish time 03:26:54


In summery - I need more discipline if I can expect to get better, and I know i can. However, I'm really pleased with my time - it is after all a personal best. I have found out I can dig deep when it counts - and listen to my body enough to know when to slow down.


  1. Dude. First off. THREE HOURS TWENTY SIX!!!!!!

    Second. You are one of THE most disciplined people I have the pleasure of knowing. You did amazingly well to get through given the circumstances and still came off with a PB!!

    Amazing effort, great time, pleasure following your training and you're totally an inspiration and always encouraging even when I know you could walk faster than I run, you STILL value my effort and support my training.

    Being up there yesterday totally made me want to have a go and I know it's going to be amazing, as I have a sneaky feeling they'll be a few people up there I know... :o)


    Second: You're one of the MOST disciplined people I have the pleasure of knowing and all things considered (the crowd, the heel, the coldy chest) its a bloody good time. Hell, even WITHOUT all things considered its STILL a bloody good time.

    This whole week has been amazing for me as a spectator, with coming to see you, Karen & James at Expo and just being able to follow all your training and feel part of something really very cool. It was emotional getting all your times coming through and hearing how you all got on so actually completing the course, you must feel absolutely out of your tree!!

    All of you have totally inspired me and given me a new lease of concentration on what I have to do now if I want to get round the 26.2 next year.

    Who knew Twitter was going to be such a cool thing. My sister gave me a crash course at Christmas (I was bored) and now I know I have an online running club that will no doubt be at every race competing or supporting me and those running it.

    Thank you for all your patience and support following my training, I know I'll need it over the next year for sure, but watching you all go through it (although I now know how tough it is) has totally made me want to be able to say 'I ran the London Marathon'.

    You're a very cool bunch and I'm happy to be associated with each and every one of you.

    Well done Ray, fantastic effort.

  3. Typical. The first one doesn't show up so I post it again and NOW there's two.


    I *love* technology. Not.

  4. Ray - you put a lot of effort in. You did really well - having done the course now myself I could visualise where and when you were struggeling! I can't believe you still managed to pull off such a great time despite injury and walking! Top marks!!!
    Valine - I'm going to post on you fb wall, u deserve your own mention. But I am so with you with the Twitter thing!

  5. Amazing journey, you did so well, congratulations. I wouldn't even make 1km!

  6. FANTASTIC! Well done Ray. That's a great time and I love your blog/commentary.

    All the best for Brighton, hope the Achilles heals fast & well.

    Ash & Corina

  7. Amazing job! Congrats! I also loved reading about your race! Thanks for the comment about mine.

  8. Congrats Ray! Incredible time considering your struggles. I am training for the Montreal Marathon in September (my first) and will be happy to just finish! Well done!

  9. Great job Ray! All the best with the next marathon.