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Race report: VLM 2015 – 38,000 Inspirational Moments

So as our marathon season special draws to a close, it makes sense to finish with a race report from the biggest marathon in the UK. The 35th London Marathon took place on Sunday 26 April 2015 and as always it was well attended by the club, who took part in the race, cheered from the side lines and volunteered at numerous timing mats and the finish line. Royston Crandley agreed to be our London Marathon correspondent and has written a beautifully inspiring account of the race below. Whilst I can’t believe there is anyone in the club that doesn’t know Royston, for the odd runner who doesn’t – Royston attends most of our club sessions can be seen at all of the socials as well. He also happens to have a rather nifty sprinting skill – so watch out for him in the 100m at the club track night in the summer!  Over to you Royston…

Well Done Royston!

Well Done Royston!

38,000 Inspirational moments.

The moment had arrived, after several months of planning and copious amount of miles ground out on cold early mornings alongside my fellow joggers, we are about to embark on a journey through the streets of London. A journey of self discovery, an emotional rollercoaster for all 38,000 runners who are all on their own journey’s.

Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or this is your first experience, the London Marathon, is a unique experience, love or hate it, it’s something that will stay with you forever.  Each mile will be etched in the memories of all 38,000 people,  It’s a small percentage of people who get the chance to run the marathon, as we all know its very difficult to gain a place, so I feel privileged to once again have the opportunity to share the streets of London with everyone, thankfully all going in the same direction.

As we left the coach, I said my farewells to those heading to the red start, then felt strangely lonely as I waved them goodbye.  The rain, was more a drizzle than anything major as had been predicted, so I head slowly along to the blue start via a drinks van for that last cup of tea to warm the cockles. I had prepared pretty well so I remained warm, an old hoodie and a bin liner that I had planned to throw to the side as the gun went.  A quick visit to the loo’s and I head to the large marquees to find not only Debra Harris is inside but several thousand people, warmth, bliss. We find a spare bit of grass to park ourselves down on and relax, well we try, I am strangely calm, or this was the calm before the storm. I start preparing, doing things I generally never do on other races, we place so much pressure on ourselves on these big occasions. Both of us take our bags to the luggage trucks and feel ready to start, but we head back to the tent to stay warm for a bit longer, and we’re amazed that people don’t seem in too much of hurry to off load their belongings.  Ok, it’s time, I say farewell to Debra and head towards my pen for a warm up. I align myself to the appropriate pacer, whom I intend to run alongside and hopefully stay on plan. For some bizarre reason I take my pulse, something to take my mind off the impending pain. 60 BPM, calm before the storm like I said.

Somewhere a gun goes, we trundle off on our merry way,

steadily we go.

Photo taken at 30k by Smiffy

Photo taken at 30k by Smiffy

The first few miles go to plan, the pacer doing his job, plus I refrain from trying anything fancy so early on, discipline, I feel comfortable and in the zone, then from the side-lines I hear Paul Alexander shouting above everyone else. I’m glad he’s not my boss. I wave and smile and feel boosted and continue to run on plan. Then we enter the part of the course where we see the elite runners heading home, when I suddenly think if I’m going to see Paula Radcliffe it will be along here, so my focus completely moves to the other side, and I spy a motorbike with camera on the back, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, there she is floating along like it’s a walk in the park, and then she’s gone, another boost and I trundle along with a smile on my face, the pacer looking at me like ‘what are you on’.

The legend that is Paula - taken by Smiffy at 30k

The legend that is Paula – taken by Smiffy at 30k

The best thing about being apart of such a great club is that I know I’m going to see some friendly faces along the way, an essential part to keeping you motivated and energised. It was great to see our legend that is Smiffy, then I knew I had to keep moving forward, how ever much it hurts. At 22 miles my marathon starts to fall apart, that’s probably a harsh description as illness had lost me around 4 weeks training and my longest run had been 16 miles on a few occasions.  My mental ability to keep moving forward came to juddering halt, and a walk followed, but unlike last year I had conserved energy and was able to get going again, counting in my head 50s and then a walk. Stomach cramps followed, a feeling of sickness, so my body starts to win and the legs grind to halt, walking follows. The kindness and sometimes annoyance of other runners, tapping you on the back to keep you going, on reflection it’s great.

Homeward bound, Birdcage walk, the end is in sight. I round the bend past the palace and head right, I spot our wonderful SJ’ers and hugs follow. I cross the line in around 4:16 so missed a pb but  being welcomed by friends at the finish is a massive highlight and makes you realise how much you have achieved after exploring the streets of London and witnessing 38,000 people achieve their dreams and goals. It’s not all about pb’s but pushing yourself to believe and achieve.

Royston (still standing) at the finish

Royston (still standing) at the finish

The marathon is and will always be a battle and as I sit here and say never again, you’ve all heard that before, I will be back no doubt for more mentally challenging, pain inducing, tear filling experiences that is the London Marathon………….. see you in 201?

Congratulations to everyone involved.

A huge thank you and well done to Royston. I really love to read about what everyone has been up to,as it makes me want to get my trainers on and get back out there! Please keep race reports coming in – especially if you’ve taken part in a race with a difference recently. Look out for the final entry in our marathon special later this week, which will be a summary of all the marathon photographs taken over the past few weeks.- Nikki


About Nikki

General member for Thursday runs at Sandhurst Joggers

One comment on “Race report: VLM 2015 – 38,000 Inspirational Moments

  1. Great report Royston. At the same time both very personal yet gives a good flavour of the event as experienced by everyone who does it (or might want to).


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