London marathon 2016 race report
Having unsuccessfully applied for a ballot place on a couple of previous occasions I was finally successful and I secured a place in the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon.
We traveled down from Liverpool on the train (also Virgin) on the Saturday morning. I’d decided to let my wife and daughters go shopping while I’d go to the expo and collect my race details, number and timing tag.
I’d planned on going for a gentle trot in the afternoon to keep the legs ticking over but by the time I’d managed to find the Premier Inn near Shoreditch I couldn’t find the motivation. Besides, as a stranger to London I’m not sure where I could’ve run near to the hotel. So I checked-in and caught up on the footy scores instead.
We had a table booked at the Zizzi restaurant at St Catherine’s Dock for our evening meal. As a bit of pre-race motivation, Steve Cram was dining with Chris Evans a few tables away. On the way back to the hotel, we popped into a Tesco and as we walked in Colin Jackson walked out. Two world record holders in one evening… the omens were good!
An early night and not too bad a sleep considering it was a strange room. Up early in order to get some breakfast before I crossed London on a couple of trains to get to the start area. Well done to Premier Inn for opening the restaurant early to serve runners breakfast and for having porridge on the menu. So fueled with that, a croissant, coffee and orange juice, I got my race kit on and my kit bag ready.
(Photo on timing tag)
I managed to get myself on the right trains to Blackheath which was my designated start zone.
It was really cold and in fact the forecast was hinting at snow. I decided to wear a long sleeve base layer under my running top and a beanie hat.
I got myself into my allotted starting pen (3:15 target) and waited nervously for the start. I’ve never run in anything like the size of London Marathon before so it sooner dawned on me that there’s a heck of a lot of runners to run alongside.
After the start this was very apparent as I pretty much boxed in for about the first 3 miles. I was doing to event to experience a London Marathon as opposed to running for a time, but still that feeling of losing time is frustrating.
Steady pacing to Greenwich and then looking out for the first big landmark, The Cutty Sark. I hadn’t studied the route in detail so for me, the next landmark to run to was Tower Bridge.
Running across Tower Bridge was fantastic. Huge crowds and loads of noise! I purposely took it all in; the views, the bridge itself, the atmosphere… great! Just after the bridge is the half marathon point. Pretty steady pace, but nothing amazing. Still feeling cool and still got my hat on.
The miles pass and I realize that I’ve not drunk that much fluid. I haven’t had an energy gel either, just a few sweets. But my stomach isn’t feeling great so I just sip at the water in the bottle I’m carrying.
Back at the Tower of London with not too far to go now.
Running along the embankment of the River Thames and what a fabulous sight is Big Ben!
Running along Birdcage Walk seems to take ages and it feels way longer than it most probably is. Inexplicably, I fail to see Buckingham Palace. Looking back I still don’t know how I missed it. Turn right in front of the Palace with the finish line in sight on The Mall.
Arms raised as I cross the line. London Marathon done!
London marathon – John C.’s 26.6 mi run