Cannot believe it was almost 2 months ago!
Had really been looking forward to London Marathon 2018 ever since my good for age entry was confirmed last summer. The serious training began in the New Year with the weekly mileage averaging around 50/60 miles per week until last few weeks of tapering in early April. Most of this training was undertaken in pretty miserable wintry weather, at the time I was not to know this would be of minimal benefit during the race!
When I arrived in London on Friday afternoon the weather had become tropical in fact it was like being in the Mediterranean! This did not bode well as had not previously run long distances in that heat. I had a feeling this could be a long and tiring day after arriving at the race village in Greenwich Park on Sunday morning dripping in sweat after jogging 2 miles from the hotel. The goal was to finish comfortably inside the 3 hour mark around 2hours 50-55 minutes but that looked a tall order in this heat!
Being in the fast good for age entry meant I was fortunate enough to be placed in quite an advanced starting position behind the elite runners so did not have to worry about congestion at the beginning and I set off at a fairly steady pace passing through the 10k point in just under 43 minutes, however even at this early stage was beginning to feel the heat and having to consume more fluids than normal to stay hydrated. I wanted to push on a bit and increase the pace slightly but found this difficult because of the heat and also the sheer volume of runners in front (around 40,000 runner took part!) which meant overtaking someone was not always easy.
Consequently, I arrived at the halfway point in just over 1 hour and 29 minutes about 3 minutes slower than had planned. By now it was beginning to feel quite hot so I decided the goal now would be to finish in under 3 hours by following the 3 hour pacer. This approach worked well for a while and I was able to gradually up the tempo but at the same time it also felt like a real strenuous effort to stay in touch with the pacer and I was concerned that I would not be able to sustain this pace until the end. I arrived at the 30k (19 mile) mark, outside the tall buildings of Canary Wharf in 2 hours and 8 minutes still on course to break 3 hours if could run 7 minute miles until the finish but at this point things began to slip. Despite taking on plenty of Water and Gels to maintain hydrated and top up energy levels I felt like the pace was beginning to drop and it was fast becoming a real struggle. It even proved too much for the pacer who dropped off around 22 miles and I never saw him again!
As we crossed Tower Bridge for the 2nd time the pace began to drop a bit more rapidly and I realised that the sub 3 hour marathon was looking increasingly unlikely unless I could do something miraculous to reverse the trend! I decided to forget the time and enjoy the last few miles along the Thames Embankment, past Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace until the finish at the Mall.
Crossing the finish line in 3 hours 4 minutes and 48 seconds I was so exhausted that I could barely stand up! Thankfully St James park was nearby so went and chilled there for a while afterwards along with loads of other marathon runners. It would have been nice to run under 3 hours but the heat certainly took its toll in the end, although at least I managed to fulfil the Good for age entry criteria for next year. London marathon was a really enjoyable experience despite the challenging conditions and it was great to see so many spectators come out and support all the runners involved, its definitely in my plans to return and do it again next year.