It’s the Thursday night following the marathon on Sunday. For the first time today, I actually walked to work like an everyday commuter (without being asked by old ladies if I required assistance crossing the road). My legs are feeling much better and my feet have started to harden after a seriously disgusting session with some surgical scissors last night.
I’m very lucky that I started a new job last week. Being immersed in work has kept me busy and helped me through the post-marathon blues. That, and the support I received after my incredibly depressing post on Sunday night. I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to message me and pull me out of my slump.
Some of the words of wisdom I received were so good that they really deserve sharing, so here are a few quotes that might help those of you who didn’t quite have the experience you deserved on race day, feel just that little bit better…
I’ve just this second gotten home after completing the Virgin London Marathon 2012 and I’ve decided to write this post while it’s all still fresh in my mind. Actually, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself of what I’ve just been through, so that I’m not tempted to enter again…
First of all, I came in at 3:43:43. That’s not too shabby I think. It’s a PB by 38 minutes, it puts me in the sub-4 hour club and it was within target B from my weird 3-tier target-time system (more on this here). However, I’m in a bad place right now. Here’s why.
The race started badly. I’d managed to blag my way into pen 3 so that I could run with the 8-min/mile pacers (a 3:30:00 target time), but the course was so congested during the first mile that I immediately lost them. In fact, by the end of mile one I was 45 seconds off the pace (after sheer numbers forced the runners to a walking pace). The London Marathon is always busy, but I was so frustrated with people who were clearly running too slowly to be in these early pens. Yes, I had just sneaked my way into the wrong start group, but in my mind I was justified to be there, unlike some people who’d started in pen 2 and were walking by the second mile.
I can’t believe that this’ll be the 4th year in a row that I’ve done this post, but the London marathon media pack is out and once again it’s rammed full of interesting stats about the race. To save you from sifting through 230 pages of information, I’ve highlighted a few tidbits below for you. Enjoy!
817,890 – total number of runners ever to have completed the London Marathon
34,705 – number of finishers in 2011
170,150 – number of applications this year
1,000,000 – estimated number of spectators
$55,000 – prize money for first place (same for men and women) with a bonus scheme involved
101 – the age of the oldest man running(!)
188 – number of runners whose birthday is on race day
600,000 – total number of goody bag items
1,250 – number or portable toilets
7,400 – total number of marshals (superb effort)
2,000 – plasters on hand from Ambulance volunteers
100 – lbs of vaseline
3,450 – number of rubbish bags filled after the race
7,200 – number of runners who write a blog (that’s 20% of all runners!)
18 – number of ‘Ever Presents’ left (someone who has run every single London Marathon – the youngest being Chris Finnill, in his fifties, who ran a 2:51:29 last year!)
Notable celebs running this year (and their predicted times):
James ‘Arg’ Argent – TOWIE (4:30:00)
Tony Audenshaw – Bob Hope from Emmerdale (3:10:00)
Linda Barker – TV presenter (4:30:00)
Calum Best – George Best’s son (5:30:00)
James Cracknell – Olympic gold medalist in rowing (2:50:00)
Jenni Falconer – TV presenter (3:45:00)
Craig Doyle – TV presenter (3:45:00)
Nell McAndrew – TV presenter/model (3:09:00)
Jonathon Pearce – Football commentator (5:30:00)
Gordon Ramsay – Celebrity chef (3:30:00)
Sophie Raworth – News presenter (4:15:00)
Susanna Reid – BBC Breakfast (5:00:00)
Michel Roux – Celebrity chef (3:35:00)
Iwan Thomas – 400m champion (4:00:00)
Chrissie Wellington – World Ironman champion (2:35:00)
Will Young – Singer (3:30:00)
As I finished my last long run this morning, a 21-miler around London, I parked my arse on a park bench and wrote this tweet:
That’s it! Longest training run done. 21 miles in 2:48:31. London Marathon, I’m gonna eat you for breakfast.
— James Barnard (@sirjogalot) March 31, 2012
Ten minutes later, after nearly blacking out, I’d had to call my ex-girlfriend to bring me some chocolate and then give me a lift the half-mile home. This has happened to me before, two years ago during the exact same run (the final long run before the taper to the London Marathon) and you’d think I’d have learned a thing or two. Apparently not. What had actually happened was this.
This last long run was a chance to test my nutrition strategy for the marathon. Apparently, the average number of gels consumed during a marathon is around 5. On the advice of a few colleagues (all marathon veterans) I’d taken one gel after an hour, and another gel every 30 minutes after that. On a target time of 3:30:00, this works out pretty well (the last gel at 3 hours seeing me through to the finish). But during today’s run, I’d only taken three gels with me (don’t ask me why). So having taken my last gel at the 2 hour mark, I was running a further 48 minutes to finish at mile 21. This, coupled with my quickened pace this year, meant that 10 minutes after I’d finished my glucose levels were dangerously depleted.
When I let people know I’m running a marathon, a lot of people ask where they can sponsor me. I guess it’s a reflex that the British public have now, having been exposed to fundraising monsters like the London Marathon and the Great North Run for so many years. You run a marathon, you want sponsorship. And convincing London Marathon entrants who have ballot places (who have their own places and aren’t forced to hit sponsorship targets) is big business for charities. Hence why the VLM news mag is 70% adverts for charities, begging ballot place runners for their sponsorship money.
That being said, some people genuinely feel the need to sponsor people who run the London Marathon. It’s a great way of showing support or rewarding someone for their hard work in training. And it is hard work. So this is the reason I’ve picked a charity to run for this year.
I’ve always been a Newcastle fan. My mam’s side of the family is geordie, through and through. In fact my uncle, Eddie Egdar, is a former Toon player. As is my cousin, David Edgar, who spent some of his transfer money wisely when he sponsored me £1000 two years ago. And when I approached the NUFC Foundation with an offer to show my support, they sent this sexy little number in the post.
I was forced to stand up on the train on Monday morning, following my 20-mile run the day before. I was so incensed that I’ve made this badge to mimic the ‘Baby on board!’ badges that pregnant women wear on the London Underground.
Runners of the world, it’s time we got a little appreciation for our efforts, in the form of a seat on a train!