Alison Jones’ Account of her VLM 2020:
Since Sharon Burfield and I were entered into the London Marathon we signed up for the virtual event, due to take place on 4th October 2020, as luck would have it we were also due to run the Manchester Marathon and signed up to run this as a virtual event, which could be run anytime of the week ending 4th October.
Since we had run a couple of 50K’s one for a virtual Race to the Stones event and one just for fun, I thought I would try and find an actual event we could run, which I did, Saturn Running had an event on 4th October starting at The Thameside Brewery in Staines, or should I say “Staines-on-Thames” as they now like to call themselves! Ali G has a lot to answer for. Result one marathon, 2 t-shirts and 3 medals, whats not to like.
As with all Saturn Running events, this was a 7 Hour event, the idea being you can do as many or as few laps as you want, each lap was 4.4 miles long.
What we could not control was the weather, so after an early start, we pitched up, wearing our London numbers, temperature checked, registration complete and we were off. This is an aspect of Covid regulations I really like, pitch up and run, none of the usual hanging around deciding if you need the toilet, yet again, before you start.
The idea was to run a lap and maybe shed some clothes, but this never happened, the rain stayed constant and the wind was relentless, especially along the riverside where there is no shelter.
As many of you will know, lap marathons are mentally hard work, but we kept each other going whilst sampling every type of terrain known to man, including a new one to me, green hexagonals, I think they were trying to make them look like grass, but Sharon and I were not fooled for a minute, especially when Strava called them the “horrible green hexagonals”
On the return from our first lap, we saw what looked like a homeless man apparently asleep, under a tree, baring in mind the horrible weather and the fact that we were both nurses we were a bit concerned but there was plenty of people around so we presumed he was known to many and maybe had a bit too much of the “falling down water” or even “electric soup” as they call Tennents Super in Glasgow.
On our first lap, Leon was the turnaround point, so we had a nice chat, after this it was a cone at the turnaround and no matter how much we tried it would not engage in conversation!
The old man was being attended to by an ambulance crew on the return from our second lap, so we were happy at least he would have a nice warm bed for a couple of days.
On our outward journey on our last lap we saw another couple of runners coming towards us and one was shouting and waving, Sharon said “is that random person waving at us” I said “that random person is Gloria” who will share her own marathon story with you, so another wee chat was had, sadly she was going the other way, then we met another 2 runners nearing the end of their own marathon and kept them company for the next couple of miles, all of which passed the time until we reached the end, was it worth it for 2 t-shirts and 3 medals, you bet it was.
Gloria Long’s VLM 2020 Account:
Having ran London in 2018, I had experienced injury and didn’t get to run the race as planned so it was always my plan to have one more go. A friend from school had a similar experience, so it was strange that we both again ended up with places for 2020! We decided that we’d run it together.
Lucky for me, we chose to run back where I grew up so Danielle planned the route starting from Sunbury. We started early heading to Bushy Park and Hampton Court. Following the towpath we continued to Walton on Thames where we had a VW camper parked up with a toilet and a change of trainers as we were drenched through.
We just had the second half to run, heading through Shepperton, Chertsey into Staines where we bumped into the lovely Alison and Sharon also running VLM as part of the Saturn run. All was going well, we had lots of support from family and friends, just the last 10k slog back to Sunbury. It was tough but we pushed on as Danielle’s phone was running out battery. It definitely kept us motivated to keep running!
Friends and family created a finish line on The Avenue and we were cheered on with balloons and drinks from the local pub. We had a great race and had the pleasure of running with or being cheered on by lots of old school friends. We also got a PB, so we celebrated with drinks in the pub to end the day.
Vinnette Taylor’s VLM 2020 Journey:
“WARNING” be careful who you run with on a Monday night club run which is my favourite club run of the week. You will get a perfect combination of wit, charm, and lots more. One minute you are having a nice chat about the weather, the next you are agreeing to run The Virtual London Marathon, just for the fun of it!. A big thank you to Patrick “The Machine” and Clare, for allowing me to tag along through one or two small puddles – Yes, I danced around a few puddles but also got my feet a little wet. I really did enjoy the experience and the insight into (friendship of?) the people I am running with.
26.2 miles! Wow! Does size matter? YES, I’m afraid it does. Having concentrated on parkruns 5K and not run a marathon for several years, this virtual run gave me my drive and passion back. Now I know I can still do the distance. Since October I have run several virtual half marathons and agreed to take a look (not registered yet!) at a couple of ultra-marathons. Thanks to everyone at Sandhurst Joggers and especially the “Machine” and “Sandbagger” for Monday night runs.
Jane Bannister’s VLM 2020 Run:
Marathon #6 Virtual VLM2020
I was joined by fellow SJ Polly Harris for a very wet Loop 1 8 miles around Horseshoe Lake and knee deep in water then onto Blackwater and back home to Sandhurst. For Loop 2 I was joined by another running friend, Kay House for a speedy 12 miles along the A30 to Frimley and back home to Sandhurst. The final Loop and I was joined by fellow SJ Sophie Le Saux for 6 miles around Little Sandhurst and Sandhurst. It was great fun seeing other runners out during the day and we had quite a few cheers on route. So all in all a good days work and another marathon completed.