Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Big Day

This is what my preparation looked like....

I was quite worried about the weather prospects for the day of the race as all week I have had concerned people saying it was looking like it would be sunny and warm for race day. I tried to avoid any hint of a forecast myself as there would be no difference in preparation and only risk of increased nerves. As it turned out, the morning of the race was grey and reasonably cool and there was some rain for 20 minutes or so before the start. Thanks to my trusty bin bag I managed to stay reasonably dry and warm and lined up in Pen 4 in time for the start. I seemed to be much closer to the big gates in the park than in previous years and there did not appear to the same sense of excitement amongst the runners. I took only a couple of minutes to cross the line and was very soon into easy running. The roads were a little slick with rain but it did not cause too many problems.

Sadly, most of the race is just one big blur of crowd and noise. I remember turning round to look back up the one big hill in the race (somewhere in the first few miles) and seeing thousands of runners poring down the roads. There was the customary booing as the three starts merged into one race. I saw a few characters on the way round. For a mile or two i was running next to a chap dressed in his university cap and gown and a little later ran for 30 minutes or so next to Superman and a man dressed as a baby. I was conscious that I was running ahead of schedule (around 8 minute miles rather than 8.10) but I think the very flat course had me simply bowling along at my usual pace but without being hindered by hills. I reached Tower Bridge in around 1.44 and was a little worried I was pushing too much. I began to feel the running in my legs at around 16 miles, which seemed to early but I managed to talk myself through it and got to 20 miles still feeling OK, but trying to steady myself pace-wise as I did not want to blow up. As it turned out, I was to run (almost) my quickest mile at mile 19 and probably began to pay for that by starting to run out of steam. Some of the pace in that lap was no doubt caused by looking for the Dogs Trust team by the roadside and sprinting towards them screaming my head off and trying to get them shouting encouragement. The miles seemed, however, to flow past and the race was going incredibly quickly. Mile 23 seemed to be on me before I knew it and I began to really work hard mentally to keep going. I began to tire considerably at mile 24 and the wheels really started to come loose at 25 miles, but by this time I was so excited about my time that I knew I just had to keep rolling along at 10 mins per mile and I would smash my PB. Somhow, the adrenalin and excitement must have really kicked in and a few deep breaths saw me clock 7.17 for that mile. I can obnly assume that the speed of it was what made me feel so bad, but also incredibly proud to have that time for mile 25. I really began to choke up as I approached The Mall and could not summon a sprint for the line.

I had a dizzy spell and acute shortness of breath at the finish and had to stop and steady myself. I was also getting signs of cramp in my calves. A couple of chewy sweets and some stretching sorted that out and I managed to get dressed and find my way out of the finishing area. I was just looking at the daunting set of steps out to Pall Mall when I saw Lynne and Will waiting to meet me. We walked the few hundred yards to the IOD and up to the Dogs Trust room where I was amazed to see that I was the first of their runners home. As it turned out, I had the second fastest time as the first chap had simply taken longer to make his way up from the finish. A very welcome, but painful, massage sorted out my cramping legs and after an hour of chat we headed for home and a day of rest.

For the record, the race went as follows:

Mile 1: 8.28
Mile 2: 7.55
Mile 3: 7.51
Mile 4: 7.52
Mile 5: 8.21 (not sure why that was slow, possibly crowds round Cutty Sark)
Mile 6: 8.00
Mile 7: 8.05
Mile 8: 7.55
Mile 9: 8.04
Mile 10: 8.05
Mile 11: 7.59
Mile 12: 7.57
Mile 13: 7.57
Mile 14: 8.00
Mile 15: 8.02
Mile 16: 7.43
Mile 17: 8.19 (again, crowds if i remember correctly)
Mile 18: 8.11
Mile 19: 7.18 (I don't remember having a fast mile here but it could simply have been a downhill stretch)
Mile 20: 8.18
Mile 21: 8.47
Mile 22: 9.00
Mile 23: 9.09
Mile 24: 9.23
Mile 25: 7.17
Mile 26: 9.19
Final bit: 1.53

Thank god that's over. 3 hours 35 minutes 20 seconds.

And this is what it was all for....

....and, of course, the fundraising...I promised I would donate £1 to Dogs Trust for every "Come on Matt" i heard on the way round and now owe them £171! It's all worth it and my fundraising total now stands at £2337 this morning. Another PB!


  1. Congratulations Marley and Lola's Dad! What a great race, and to have such a fast time! Brilliant. All us doggies were 'metaphorically' running with you. My Pa really impressed with your time. You booked for next year yet? BOL! Have a great day and take it easy even tho' Marley is mentioning 'other plans' Woof woof woof! BOL

  2. Wel done Mafew! Is fantastic@I Marley and Lola must be very proud of you and also Willium! Hooray for Dogs Trust xxx

  3. I'm blown away by Ur achievement ! Teary eyes as I read Ur story, knowing the battle you fought and won !! Such a great story of "pushing thru" your own barriers....and just doing it !
    Congratulations !!! You trained for it....and you did it !!! Good on U !!

  4. Seems you are very prepared to the fight. Update us to your great run!!!