This was going to be my 51st marathon/ultra. Perhaps this was one marathon too far for me, but I’d got it into my head that I’d like to do London again (I’d done it previously in 1994). I volunteered in 2014 and got a place for 2015, but gave it up due to injury. I then entered the ballot in 2015 and got a place for 2016. But I deferred running it to 2017 …. due to injury! So it was really now or never.
Unusually for me I started following a 17 week marathon training plan, the first 8 weeks of which got me to the Bramley 20 in late February. I felt tired in this, but my time of just under 3 hours predicted a sub 4 hour marathon. But then I started getting aches and pains in the legs, which resulted in almost no running for the last 6 weeks leading up to London.
Nevertheless I decided to give it a go. My main concern was an injury flaring up during the race, and missing the SJ bus back! Instead there was no injury, just really tired legs, almost from the start. I ran to 19 miles, with almost every mile slower than the previous one, then walked to mile 25, when I decided that I really should run the last 1.2 miles, which I did …. at 10 minute mile pace, one of my quickest miles of the whole race!
I had the pleasure of seeing Ian Watson when he caught me while I was still running (only just). My shuffling must have looked worse than it felt and he showed real concern, but I told him I was fine. Ha! Then Janet Ford came past and gave me some words of encouragement. And then Sarah Boulter passed, walking faster than I was!
The sight of another Sandhurst vest disappearing off into the distance was too much and I started walking more quickly, determined to keep her in sight, which I did, before I started running nearer the end. I took the right hand lane through the finish and was welcomed by Claire Hobson, with her trademark smile and a lovely hug. So my time of 5 hrs 24 mins was 2 hrs 16 mins slower than 1994, but it was never going to be about time. I’m glad I did it and I had a great day out.