Archive for the ‘London Marathon’ Category

Feeling Better…

Thanks for all your support.

Thanks for all your support.

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…

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London Marathon 2012 – Is This The End?

A bitter-sweet race

A bitter-sweet race

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.

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London Marathon Facts 2012:

Virgin London Marathon 2012

Click here for the full 2012 media pack.

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)

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TOON TOON!

Pacing the Hastings Half Marathon 2012

Pacing the Hastings Half Marathon 2012

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.

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Baby on board!

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!

SJAL x

Stand up. Yes... I'm talking to you!

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Upping the Pace:

20-miler

20.1 miles in 2:41:40

March is always a big month in training for the London Marathon. It’s the month that the majority of the longer training runs are completed and it’s usually at around this point that I’ll get a feel for how the training is progressing, and whether I’ll need to adjust my target or not.

When I first attempted the marathon in 2009, I was aiming for a sub-4 hour marathon. Ah, the blissful ignorance! Swanning from gym to gym, treadmill running through the colder months and doing absolutely no speed or interval training whatsoever. And when I ran a 19-miler on March 21st 2009 in 3:20:00 and realised that a 4-hour marathon wasn’t going to be achievable, I was bitterly disappointed. It was a tough truth to face, knowing that I hadn’t done enough and I remember feeling very naive. That year I completed London in 4:45:51.

In contrast, today I ran 20-miles in 2:41:40.

Over the last month I’ve put in some good mileage at pace. I’ve been running 5 and 7 mile loops around Hyde Park with a chap who’s running the MDS (sponsor him here) and I’ve kept up my twice weekly speed sessions. During these sessions, my short distance times have improved dramatically. In training, I’m running 7-miles at a 7:25-min/mile pace and managing to keep up with the editor of Runner’s World magazine during our not-quite-5K handicap race (a man who last year ran a 3:08 marathon in Boston). And after a 16-miler a few weeks ago produced a surprising result, I decided to adjust my marathon target-time again.

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Ain’t nothing like a bit of competition:

ARSE Award

Me winning the A.R.S.E award for the handicap race in 2011 (Award for Runner's Season of Excellence)

If you follow me on twitter (and let’s face it, you should), you’ll probably have seen me pipe-up on Thursdays with something like,

“Another 11 secs off the (not quite) 5K PB today (paced round by the bull that is @RW_ed_Andy).”

…or…

“Paced to a 5K PB today by the determined Deputy Editor @runnersworlduk. Now down to 18:30 (18 seconds off last week). #shapeofmylife”

So what the hell am I talking about? Well, working for the UK’s #1 running title has its perks. Every Thursday, myself and a few colleagues do a little warm-up jog south of the river (London) to meet up with the team who organise the Virgin London Marathon. These guys, very kindly, run a 5K handicap race for us. Equipped with stopwatches and a spreadsheet, two guys will set 15+ runners off on a course around Central London.

The course, which actually works out at about 2.95 miles, crosses a fairly major road (twice) and is positively teaming with tourists. And the field is made up of all sorts of runners, with varying abilities (from just under half-an-hour to a chap who can do it in 14 minutes!). If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a handicap race, because the abilities of the competitors varies so much, the start of the race is staggered so that people end up finishing at roughly the same time. While this makes the timekeeper’s job hard, it makes for very entertaining racing (with a lot of gut-busting sprint finishes involved).

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