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2012 London Marathon Report

British Airways Athletics Club provided a huge team of people to help with the running of this year’s marathon.  149 sector managers, deputies, team leaders and helpers were rostered on marathon day.

In return, we received a score of places from the organisers.  Sadly, three of our entrants had to defer their entries to next year.  Here are the stories of ten of our runners this year…..

Fiona Agyemang

Juan Arias

Jonathan Cox

Ian Cunningham

Janet Cunningham

Louise Goodridge

Ian Haylock

Piers Keenleyside

Leigh-Ann Ketterick

Steve Taylor

Fiona Agyemang

Thank you again for my place, I absolutely loved the day :)

 

I didn't do even close to the time I wanted and came in at 5.24!  I was hoping for about 4.45, but started out too fast (running with a friend who was faster than me, BIG mistake!) and crashed at about mile 17 (or whenever that horrible underpass was).  Wow!  people warned me about that spot and I thought I was prepared for it.  I guess not!  That added a lot of time on as I literally shut down, sat down and was pretty close to tears!  After a lot of talking to myself and a gel, I managed to get back up and carry on.  Once out of the tunnel and away from Canary Wharf, and the crowds were back I was OK again and back cheering and high fiving people!

 

As this was my first marathon, I just wanted to enjoy the day.  I didn't want to put any pressure on myself to get a time and come back injured or worse still hating the experience.  Apart from canary Wharf and the tunnel, I can hand on my herat say I loved it!  The crowds and atmosphere is out of this world!  It was like a big street party, that I was shuffling along to!  Tower Bridge was my high spot, how amazing is that feeling when you cross the bridge?!  Strange, I never realised how beautiful Tower Bridge was until that day.  You really can take London for granted - it is such a beautiful city and what a great way to experience it. 

 

Sadly I didn't spot any celebrities, but I was lapped by a huge pink bagpuss (not a great moment for me!) and sandwiched between two pink lady apples for quite a few miles!  If I am honest with you, I probably wouldn't have recognised anyone even if I was right next to them.  This was my day to lap up and enjoy, I felt like a celeb for a day!

 

I have signed up again for next year - I think I have now got the marathon bug.

 

My marathon started in late January when I received a call asking if I was still interested in running this year, as someone was unable to take up their club place. It was an opportunity too good to miss.

With no previous marathon experience I embarked on my training plan which was based around Saturday morning park run followed by a long run on a Sunday and as much distance as I could cover before 8pm on weeknights.

Everything went well, I managed to complete a few runs over 20 miles and although on a couple of occasions I met the wall, it wasn’t as daunting as I imagined. At Reading Half marathon, although overtaken by an apple, I managed a 20 year best time. From then my legs felt tired but they did enjoy the taper.

The big day finally arrived, and after a virgin marathon magazine recommended breakfast of porridge and two slices toast, I set off to catch the first train from Twickenham to Waterloo and onwards to Greenwich. My carriage quickly filled with other competitors, noticeable by our large red VLM kit bags and firmly clasped bottles lucozade sport.

Juan Arias

The marathon went really well, I managed to complete it in 5hrs 19 minutes. It really was an unforgettable experience and not just in terms of the pain! The atmosphere on the day was unbelievable and I managed to get to the finish line before it rained! I was very surprised at the amount of people supporting the runners and giving you encouragement to continue, I don’t think I would have been able to do it without them. You get offered fruit, food, sweets, hi 5’s and even a can of beer at one point, which of course I had to refuse!

Before I started the marathon, I was truly worried as I had not been able to train for the previous 3 weeks with work commitments and then going down with flue and a throat infection, I had just finished taking antibiotics the previous week. I also started training a little late for this huge physical task (end of December) as I only got the place then. I had drawn up a training plan for 17 weeks and the idea was to be able to reach 18 miles before the event however, the longest run I completed was 14.5 miles, obviously a few miles off the mark! Nonetheless I was feeling good on the day and the weather was fantastic, I started very well and completed half marathon in good time, I wasn’t out of breath and felt in good shape but my right knee started playing up not long after that and I had to continue walking as fast as I could. At some points I was even overtaking people who were supposed to be running! The only disappointing thing was when at mile 16 the rhino man went past!  

My family and friends were waiting to cheer me on at mile 25 and this gave me motivation to keep me going, another huge motivating factor was the great support I received from all of you in my charity fund raising page! I didn’t want to disappoint you or myself. Having completed the marathon, I now realize I should have taken longer to train and be in better shape for such a demanding sporting event but it really felt great when the medal was put around my neck at the finish line.

I didn’t feel too bad on the day but I’m glad I had taken the following day off work because I just could not move the morning after. The pain is now fading away but the satisfaction of having completed it remains.
 
Friends thank your great support!

 Jonathan Cox

 

My marathon started in late January when I received a call asking if I was still interested in running this year, as someone was unable to take up their club place. It was an opportunity too good to miss.

With no previous marathon experience I embarked on my training plan which was based around Saturday morning park run followed by a long run on a Sunday and as much distance as I could cover before 8pm on weeknights.

Everything went well, I managed to complete a few runs over 20 miles and although on a couple of occasions I met the wall, it wasn’t as daunting as I imagined. At Reading Half marathon, although overtaken by an apple, I managed a 20 year best time. From then my legs felt tired but they did enjoy the taper.

The big day finally arrived, and after a virgin marathon magazine recommended breakfast of porridge and two slices toast, I set off to catch the first train from Twickenham to Waterloo and onwards to Greenwich. My carriage quickly filled with other competitors, noticeable by our large red VLM kit bags and firmly clasped bottles lucozade sport.

Onwards to Greenwich where I befriended a runner dressed as a St Bernard.  Rescue was not top of my agenda, but you never know when you might need assistance.

I dutifully lined up in my starting pen and then we were off, well the elite athletes were, it took us another 10mins to shuffle to the start line. Finally I was under way, we were out of the park, on to the streets and surrounded by cheering locals.

Everything was great, I clocked up the first kilometres, took refreshments and settled into a steady rhythm. I had decided on a race pace of 5min kms.

Greenwich and the beautifully restored Cutty Sark were soon passed, the weather was better than the BBC forecast, the crowd awesome and I was enjoying myself. We reached Tower Bridge, I chatted to a lady from Seaford Running Club about their horrendous half marathon course. As we arrived on the north bank the crowd erupted as the race leaders passed on their way into town and the finish.

We now entered the second half of the marathon, a long and winding tour of docklands, my legs tired and I started to Garmin watch, how many kilometres, what pace, am I fading. I saw some walkers and then the first casualty being stretchered away by the ever-supportive paramedics. Finally we were back at Tower Bridge, this time it was our turn to run towards the City, Blackfriars and Westminster. The run in was a blur, the incline out of Blackfriars tunnel felt like a mountain but then we were on to the Embankment. I spotted several BA colleagues among the marshals, next I ran past my partner, also on crowd duty. She gave me a huge shout whilst I headed on to the finish. By this time some people, where did they get the energy from, were starting to kick for home, I even spotted my friend from Seaford but for every runner their was a jogger/walker/cramper. Then came the final count down: 800m, 600m, 385yds and finally the finish line. I went for a hard earned lie down in the park. 

I’ve lived in the capital for 30 years, but this was by far my best London experience, all three hours and forty two minutes. So much so, I’m in the ballot to do it all again next year.

Ian Cunningham

 

2012 is the year I graduated from the University of Marathon having completed my 3 year course. Brighton in 2010, London in 2011 and then London again in 2012 seem to have qualified me as a marathon veteran.

Now that I have got into the rhythm of training I think the habit has stuck.. injuries permitting a spring marathon feels “normal” – whatever that is!

My training plan for 2012 was much the same as for last year. I did make a few tweaks:

·         I ran the Valentines 10k in Chessington as it was just a short warm up run from home. Despite the cold it was a decent run and 46 minute clocking.

·         Straight after the Chessington race we headed over to New York for a family shopping holiday but managed to join a group run around Central Park – highly recommended (http://www.therunningcompany.net/nyrc-group-runs)

·         I allowed myself a “rest” week in March for a business trip to India

·         I skipped the scheduled half marathon and ran the Finchley 20 for the first time. Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the 4 lap course, even the sections on suburban paved roads

I was really pleased with my time at Finchley and managed a really quick (for me!) last five miles. This did get me worrying that I had peaked too early and things were going too well. As ever with running my next big lesson was just round the corner, at the Cranleigh 21. The first 15 miles or so felt great and I was running a similar pace to Finchley but the last 6 miles was pretty horrible and I was on the verge of quitting.  When I came to analyse the run – it was obvious the undulating course was tougher than Finchley so the “same” pace was actually that much harder and as a result I left myself no energy for the closing miles. It’s the eternal truth of distance running – if you start too fast you WILL pay for it later!

This made me even more determined to start the marathon conservatively. I had made this mistake doing London in 2011 but the reminder was very timely!

My plan was to run the first 16 miles slightly over 8 minute mile pace and then see how I felt – if things were good I would push on, otherwise settle for enjoying the atmosphere and the crowds a whole lot more than 2011.

With half an eye on my Garmin I set out at my target pace and got to 16 miles roughly where I wanted to be. I did try to up the pace from there but I soon realised there wasn’t much left in the tank so I settled for looking good as I ran past friends and family in the last couple of miles! I finished in 3:33:45 which was 59 seconds slower than last year but a whole lot more enjoyable.

Having had a chance to think back over the race I’m really pleased with my consistency, all 5k splits just over 25 minutes and last split was my fastest of the race. On top of that my second half was just 13 seconds slower than the first.. so close to a negative split. But, most importantly, holding back early on changed the whole atmosphere for me and enabled me to take in so much more of the crowd and the runners around me.

A few votes of thanks:

·         To the marshals I “volunteered” who enabled me to run

·         To all the rest of the BA marshals for being there to cheer me on in the closing miles

·         To everyone I’ve bored talking about running in the last few months

·         To my wife, Janet, for encouraging me to run it again

·         To my training buddy, Lissa, for company on those long slow training runs

·         To the Waterside lunchtime runners for adding a bit of variety

Janet Cunningham

I first ran the London Marathon in 2009 (4 h 5m 44s)  and knew that I would relish the chance to have another crack at it  and aim for sub 4. Having hit the half century last November meant that  would also be “good for age”

I was offered a place by the BA club for 2011 but chose to decline. I was struggling to maintain my times which I put down to recovering from an Achilles  problem brought on by changing my brand of trainer.  This proved to be a wise decision .After Christmas following a drastic weight loss despite the customary seasonal indulgence  I went to my GP who instantly diagnosed an overactive thyroid. My heart rate and blood pressure were through the roof and I was instructed to take beta blockers as a matter of urgency.

As beta blockers prevent an increase in heart rate this meant that any cardio exercise was off the agenda. I did try to run a couple of times but was so disheartened and even struggled to do a Zumba class. However I did manage to continue strength training and became a devotee of body pump classes.

Eventually hospital tests revealed that I had Graves disease, an autoimmune condition and was able to start treatment with anti thyroid drugs. The best news was that I could stop the beta blockers and start running again in July.  

Starting again from scratch was a bit daunting, I was really pleased to manage a couple of miles without stopping. After 4 weeks I felt ready to try the Bushy parkrun - not my best time ever but I was back in business!

In the Autumn I continued to build up to 8 miles, although initially interspersed with walking breaks and I felt confident enough to accept the place I was generously offered by the club. Husband Ian and his colleague Lissa had done the marathon in 2011 and although I enjoyed being involved as a marshal was itching to join the runners. Ian was also offered a place and Lissa having gained her good for age place was in.

New Year was the start of the RW 16 week schedule. Ian had given me a Garmin for Christmas, mainly to stop me from nicking his, and also giving him the chance to download and analyse 2 sets of data which counts as entertainment in this household. I had opted for the 5 day a week sub 4 hour programme but adjusted the weekly mileage slightly downwards. Experience from last time taught me that I start to crack on 40+ miles per week and a peak of 35 is more sustainable.

I also took the step of doing what I had meant to do a while ago and joined my local running club – the ladies only Epsom Allsorts.  This was mainly because they have a coached speed session at our nearest track. These sessions proved to be pivotal in helping my overall improvement. After the first one I crawled home and went straight to bed. By March I was managing 24 laps, 400m effort,  400m recovery. Ian remarked that I must have lent my Garmin to someone faster

For the lead up races Ian and I opted for the Valentines 10k. As it happened, the last Ladies XC league race at Esher was the day before and the Allsorts persuaded me to join their team. So having done no races for 18 months, I did 2 in one weekend. I was fairly pleased with the 10K time of 52.06

The other 2 races were Finchley 20 (3:05:43) and Cranleigh 21 (3:19:49). I achieved my aim to run Finchley as a training run, not race as I didn’t want to set back training for the next week. Cranleigh with the killer final mile uphill meant that I could hardly walk after crossing the finish line, I did feel rather washed out the following week and cut back accordingly. Added to these were a couple of parkruns at Guildford, the inaugural one at leisurely pace to accompany a friend and another more vigorous , the small field meant I had the distinction of being 1st lady in my age category.

Marathon morning dawned bright and sunny but luckily not too hot. I don’t mind running in winter and rarely get really cold, but the heat really slows me down. Starting in Greenwich Park in pen 5 meant that I didn’t take too long to cross the start. My goal was to not get carried away in the first 10 miles leaving energy for the final ones. Last time I was so overwhelmed with the atmosphere that I spent the first miles whooping and high fiving the crowd and was regretting it by mile 16. This time I was more focussed though did manage to join in the customary booing where the different starts converge.  I forced myself to not go faster than 9 min/mile pace as I knew I would need the energy for later. I aimed to try and stick at around 9.10.

Miles 18 – 20 I found the worst. I was alternately disheartened that I might not break 4 hours then encouraged when I thought I could. I concentrated on maintaining my pace even though a lot of people had started to walk which I found a bit discouraging.  Although I love running to music I would like to see headphones banned at this event as there were runners who were simply not aware of their surroundings and could not hear that someone was trying to pass. I got my shins kicked , was elbowed and in turn I trod on quite a few heels  which is the price you pay for being part of such an iconic race.

Returning to Tower Bridge and the “home strait” I counted off the landmarks. Passing Waterloo Bridge I looked out for my marshals but sadly did not glimpse them. I knew just how busy they would all be so was not surprised. Coming round parliament square was a wonderful feeling as having marshalled previously in Birdcage walk, I could visualise exactly how close to the finish I was. Checking my watch approaching the 800m to go marker, just 4 mins left to get in under 4 hours. That’s just 2 laps of the track – as if! No problem in an interval session but not after 26 miles. Mindful of the times I have seen runners collapse in that final section (we did not of course learn until much later of the tragic death of the young runner  who must have been just a few minutes ahead) I was happy to continue at a steady pace to the finish line in 4hours 1min 28sec.

I was less bothered about not achieving sub 4 than I thought I would be.  I think the elation at having finished and having a pb outdid any negativity.

Thanks to the Club for giving me the opportunity to run and to the marshals especially Kimberley Mc Manus and Lynda Cooper who I “volunteered” . Being accomplished horsewomen, with bucket loads of common sense and practicality I knew they would do a great job.

I have signed up for Brighton next year so that I can enjoy London again as a marshal.

Louise Goodridge

I realise in hindsight that I had an amazing experience at the London Marathon on 22nd April 2012, however at the time I thought it was hell. 

It all started so well.  I had prepared myself to stand out from the crowd and had bright pink hair, a pink Jo’s Trust charity t-shirt and multi-coloured tights.  I had my name printed on the front of my t-shirt and my Twitter name printed on the back.

The weather was brilliant; cool, but sunny. I made my way to Pen 9 and found the Runner’s World run/walk pacer.  Everyone was chatting and wishing each other luck.  The claxon went to start and we all cheered and then waited until it was our turn to move.  It took us 27 minutes to cross the start line and all the while we were chatting, listening to the announcer and watching the helicopter high up in the sky.  We crossed the start line at 10.12 and the first 5 miles were great.  I was easily keeping up with the pacer and enjoying myself.  Thousands of spectators were clapping and cheering, the volume rising outside pubs for some reason.  Unfortunately, I felt the call of nature before I reached the first set of toilets so had to stop when I got to them and waited 10 minutes in the queue for the 6 available toilets so lost my pacer and my mojo to some extent.  I continued on my own, but started to feel unwell shortly afterwards, being sick and needing to visit almost every set of toilets between mile 5 and 20. 

The support was absolutely amazing and even when I was feeling very ill people were still shouting my name and encouraging me on, the children holding out their hands for high fives and the many offers of jelly babies, sweets and treats (which I avoided). The music along the way spurred me on and at some points I was dancing and singing along, shouting at the spectators and waving.

I saw my husband and daughter at 10k and they were having an amazing time watching everyone running by.  At mile 10 I wanted to give up and if someone had come along side me and offered me a lift I would have taken it.  But I am a stubborn woman and would not allow myself to give in, so I continued slowly, jogging along.  Going over Tower Bridge was quite an experience and spurred me on for a bit longer, but I was quite disappointed not to see any TV cameras as they had already gone.  At 13 miles I saw all the runners going in the opposite direction, knowing that it was going to be at least 2 hours before I would be going along the same way and I had Docklands to go round which I knew would be quiet. The buildings in Docklands are impressive from a distance and I was excited to be running around this area which I had never been to before.  I also saw the Jo’s Trust team who shouted and waved at me as I ran past.  I was spurred on again by their support.

By mile 20 I had stopped feeling ill and was beginning to enjoy myself again.  It was approaching 4pm and the clean-up operation had started so all the runners found themselves in the middle of coaches, vans, tractors and workmen with brooms.  I knew from checking the weather forecast that rain had been predicted at 3pm so when the clouds started to gather and the sky darkened I knew we were about to get wet.  However, I don’t think anyone expected the very strong winds and the violent downpour that we got.  A lot of very cold rain came down in a very short time causing the spectators to scatter for shelter.  The marshals were amazing and were handing out space blankets to the runners most of whom were now walking.  I felt quite happy at that point and was still jogging along although it seemed like a very long road.  My husband and daughter were at 22 miles and I almost missed them even though they were shouting like mad at me because I was so focussed on keeping going.  A coach was travelling alongside me at that point too so I was using it as a shelter from the wind.  I was so pleased to see them that I turned around and ran back towards them for a hug. 

4 miles to go – only an hour left. I began passing lots of walkers.  According to the info breakdown from the London Marathon website, in the final 7km I passed 103 runners and 5 passed me. Although there were a lot less spectators I was still getting lots of shouts and encouragement.  It was definitely worth having my name on my Jo’s Trust charity t-shirt.  Passing pubs was amazing because the noise level increased dramatically and really gave me a push.

Coming along Victoria Embankment the spectator numbers increased again.  The rain had stopped and it had warmed up once more.  I saw the London Eye and knew I was nearly there. As I passed Big Ben it struck 5 o’clock which was absolutely awesome but I also knew that my friends were marshalling at Bird Cage Walk at the 800m to go point. I knew they were going home at 5pm and I was just hoping that they hadn’t gone yet and I would see them.  I turned the corner, passed the Parliament buildings and jogged towards Bird Cage Walk looking for the 800m marker and there they were.  My 4 friends were there in their marshals tabards and red caps standing in the middle of the road.  I was so pleased to see that they had waited for me. They were clapping me and cheering.  I stopped and gave them all a hug and then carried on jogging toward the finish.  Buckingham Palace looked so great and turning the corner to see 385yds to go, I felt choked up and nearly cried.

With the red finish arch in front of me I started to run faster and sprinted under the arch raising my arms in triumph at the end of this fantastic adventure.  The walk to get my bag seemed such a long way, but I was quite glad of a walk where I didn’t feel like I was being timed!  I met a lovely lady as we were getting our bags who was also on her own and she asked me to take her photo.  She took one of me too and emailed it to me later.  It was this photo that the newspaper included in their article the next week.

Final finish time was 7:00:50.

I met my husband and daughter in Horse Guards Parade, cried, hugged them and vowed never to do another marathon again.  I drank my milkshake, had more photos taken and was ready for a treat so we wandered off to McDonalds.

Since we were so close to Downing Street we took a wander around to look through the gates at Number 10 and then got on the train home.  Wearing funky tights and my medal meant I had a lot of people smiling at me on the tube and saying well done.

People have asked me since “How was it?” and I have to say that I enjoyed it, but I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t beat my previous marathon time and that I felt so ill during it.  However, the experience was amazing, the support was inspiring and the organisation and marshalling was the best I have ever seen. I am very proud to have been a part of if all.  I had my medal in my pocket for a week afterwards and showed it to everyone I saw.  My daughter also took it to school and showed it off in Show and Tell time.

Thank you to BAAC for this amazing opportunity to be part of this adventure.  I also raised a few hundred pounds for Jo’s Trust which will help them to help women and their families to deal with the issues that arise from diagnosis of cervical cancer.  All round a brilliant experience.

 

Ian Haylock

Many thanks for your organising this and all the help from the marshals.

 

I saw the marathon as a game of 2 halves. I set out at 8 minute pace which I was comfortable with getting me half way in 1:46. One thing though I think caught me out was the heat which wasn't in the script. This took me by surprise. The second half was hard. I hit the wall at 16-17 miles but got through it. By mile 22 though my chassis was falling apart as old injuries resurfaced ( Ham and glutes ). At this stage I was reduced to 9 minute pace and was knackered. I felt like walking but managed to keep going. These 4 miles seem the longest 4 miles of my life but I took a mile at a time. I finished in 3:42 in the end. Overall I was quite happy with my time, all things considered. The tank was empty by the end. I think I can go closer to 3:30 but that means the chassis holding up on the day. A key takeaway I learnt from the day is miles under your belt. Its a catch 22 - the more miles you do the higher the injury risk, especially once you go 15 miles plus in training. But, I think you need time on your feet and more 3 hour plus runs as this is what the marathon is all about and this is where the race starts and sorts people out. So I think the idea for me going forward is to think time on my feet in training, more 3 hour runs ( built up gradually ) but at a slower pace ( read 9 minute - i.e. 1 min below race pace ) to reduce the injury risk.

  

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for giving me the opportunity to run.

 

Many Thanks

 

Ian

 Piers Keenleyside

As reported previously, compared with other years, my training was going very well with most weeks seeing me out running on 6 days and covering 50+ miles.

With 3 weeks to go I travelled up to Newcastle to run the Allendale Challenge Fell Race. This is a 25 mile off-road race ‘taking in some of the finest bogs in the North of England’. As pre-warned the terrain was very hilly, lumpy and boggy and I finished in a rather long 5 hours and 14 minutes – but was about half-way up the field of finishers so did not do too badly.

A couple of days later we set off to Cuba for a two week family holiday where the weather was somewhat hotter than the UK. Far too hot and humid for long fast runs but it was about time to start my taper so I reckoned it would not upset my marathon preparations. However I nearly had a disaster on my first long slow jog in Cuba around the ‘Malecon’ (sea front) in Havanna when I tripped and fell heavily hitting my head on the pavement opening up a gash on my temple! Blood everywhere! I managed to stagger back to the hotel (45 minutes jogging away) with blood streaming down my face and all over my t-shirt. Luckily it looked a lot worse than it actually was and after a shower and applying a plaster I was OK.

I only ran 4 or 5 more times whilst on holiday and so was slightly surprised to find that I had actually lost 3 or 4 lbs in weight by the time I got home – must have been the food which was not brilliant and the fact we did a fair amount of walking in the hills.

Once back in London it was soon time to register for the race at the Excel where I learnt later that they were showing a picture of me from last year’s marathon during talks to first-timers as an example of what not to wear!

I was rather worried by the weather forecasts for the race and on the day packed 2 lots of kit – one to wear if it was cold and wet (ie normal running kit) and one to wear if it was dry and hopefully sunny.

With 20 minutes to go before the start I decided on the minimal kit option and went to the tent to get changed emerging a few minutes later in sweat-shirt and track-suit bottoms which I would keep on, to save embarrassment, until a couple of minutes before the off! I had been assigned pen 3 for the Red start but managed to sneak into the back of pen 2. The gun went and I was across the start line after about 45 seconds.

The first few miles felt very easy and I was managing a pace of around 7:15 minutes/mile. The reaction from the crowd seemed even better than last year and sometimes the cheers were almost deafening! It was not long before we reached the Cutty Sark – the restored ship and the revamped setting looked brilliant. Definitely worth a trip to see it in the summer.

As is usual for me in marathons my pace began to slow a little but I managed to reach the half way point in 1:40 – about 7:30 m/m. A little while after this the leading ladies sailed by on the other side of the road followed a little while later by the leading men who looked as if they were in a sprint!

At around 16 miles I began to actually notice the effort I had to put in to maintain a decent speed and I could tell I was slowing even more. The crowd was still giving me a great reaction and at one point two West Indian ladies chased me down the rod trying to slap my bum!

Some time after the 20 mile mark Ian Cunningham raced past me – the first and only BA person I saw during the race although earlier I had seen the other PK (Paul) at the start in pen 2. Ian was running a very even pace – he was 7 minutes behind me at half way but beat me by 6 minutes at the end. I found out later that he ran 5:05 m/Km from the first to the 42nd kilometre!

At about 23.5 miles I got a big cheer from the guys in my second club, Ealing Eagles, who were out in force cheering the 15 of us in the race. They had come prepared for a long but comfortable day out bringing straw bales from Ealing on the tube to use as seats!

Just before reaching the BA manned crossing points and familiar faces I high-fived David Bedford who was out on the course with a couple of the other officials! (last year I did this with Richard Branson!) As I went past the crossing points I managed a bit of a spurt and lifted my feet a bit to disguise my discomfort – it seemed to work as the shown by the attached picture that Mike Thorn took.

As I approached the finish line I started my usual sprint to make up a few places in the last 100 metres of the race. This turned out not to be a good idea and as with just 25 metres to go I felt my legs beginning to cramp – luckily it subsided as I quickly decided to play safe and went back to jogging and crossed the line in 3:39:12. I was very pleased with this time – a full 40 minutes quicker than last year. Training does have its rewards!

A week after the marathon I was contacted by a TV production company who had seen pictures of me running in the mankini and they wanted me to appear on Russell Howards Good News comedy show. After ensuring they did not want me to go in costume I went up to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith where the show was recorded and I had my 2 minutes of fame! It is due to be shown (on BBC3) some time in June.

STOP PRESS – I have just completed the Richmond Park Marathon (20th May) in a time of 3:45:50

Photos...

Leigh-Ann Ketterick

 My time 6hrs 28mins.

I was really pleased waiting to start the sun was shining and I was receiving lots of messages from family and friends wishing me luck. The other runners also waiting to start were so friendly and couple of us stayed together.

I was feeling good and excited to see the cutty sark and soon after tower bridge. This I found really exciting because I only ever watch it on the highlights after a long day marshalling and it felt so surreal being one of the many thousands of runners.

Passing the runners who were way in front at the half way mark, was a reality check of how far I still had to go but I knew this was the time to really get stuck in.

Around the 17 mile mark, my knee was starting to niggle and I knew I was slowing so the guys I'd stayed with continued on, it felt a bit lonely around canary wharf so was great to see my friends in the crowd who had come to support me.

By around mile 22 my legs had turned to jelly and I was finding it really tough, but my goal was to reach the embankment because I knew then I'd start seeing familiar faces and eventually my parents and the rest of my family and friends. So when I eventually made it to 24 miles the heavens opened and I could no longer run but the determination was there.

It was quite emotional for me when I got to birdcage walk, and I was pleased to see everyone, but honestly was even more excited to see 800 meters to go!

I am so happy I completed the marathon on 25th birthday! I cant imagine i would of achieved it without the support from spectators and other runners they were amazing. And of course my family and friends!

Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Best Wishes
Leigh-Ann

Steve Taylor

 From This …

                   

To This …

 In 4 months (and 4 hours, 7 minutes)

 

The day after I picked up my marathon entry form from Steve Hillier I sprained my ankle playing basketball. My daughter says that oldies like me shouldn’t play energetic sports like basketball. Either way it’s probably the worst way to start your marathon training. After three weeks of hobbling around and complete rest from anything remotely sporting I started swimming, cycling and some short sessions on the cross trainer.

By the middle of January I could introduce some short runs on the treadmill and in the third week of January I took my first venture outside the gym for a 5k run. From then on it was a rapid increase in weekly mileage that breaks all of the 10% rules by a long shot. I used a training plan that had three runs a week with cross training in between and modified the plan to shorten it as much I thought was possible. I squeezed the scheduled week down to 6 days so that I could fit one more long slow run in over the schedule period and never ran two days on the trot to try and avoid injury. It meant that I missed some of the 5 mile handicaps and other club runs but I needed to stick to my plan as much as possible to be in with a chance of getting to the start line in reasonable shape. My ankle would twinge at the start of most runs and be sore afterwards but with a rest day or cross training in between it was usually just about ready for the next run when the time came. The consistent running was working though as March and April saw me achieve both a 5K and 10K PB with a comfortable run at the rather wet Berkhamsted half marathon.

So with a 19-mile and 20-mile run in the bank and after a well earned taper I knew I was in good shape for the marathon, provided the ankle would hold out for the distance.

Marathon day came after forecasts of rain had gradually been withdrawn, with what turned out to be a dry and slightly warm run. Almost perfect conditions for running. I met my wife at mile 11 and the half marathon point came and went with ease. I missed the second meet point at mile 20 and tried to hold on to the pace for the latter stages of the run. In the back of my mind I had hoped that a sub 4 hours might be possible but in reality it was quite hard to keep up the pace. As usual the support from the crowds all the way round and some cheers from fellow BA friends in the last few miles was uplifting. I finished in 4:07:31 which is a PB beating last year’s previous best time by 17 minutes. I’m really dead chuffed with the result and how the run went, especially considering where I was at the start of the year. Recovery after the run has gone well and I’m already back up and running again with some shorter runs to get back in to training.

I also used the opportunity of running the marathon to raise money for charity and this year raised around £1,000 for the charity Five Talents.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s marathon, particularly as the sub 4 hour target beckons.

 

Steve

 

PS: Now I just need a half marathon PB to complete the full set for this year.


 

      

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