I don’t think I’ve ever checked the weather forecast so much in all my life! The weather during the build up to Sunday was getting hotter and hotter and the report for race day was pretty grim reading, well for marathoners anyway. If you were planning on heading to the beach it was absolutely perfect!
Still, there is nothing you can do to control the weather, so it was a case of getting everything prepared as best as we could. That meant extra electrolytes, stocking up on suncream and squeezing in a few easy runs during the hottest parts of the day in the build up.
The expo was the usual buzz of excitement, so many familiar faces to catch up with and it was good to meet other runners from Instagram and Strava who were there to collect their numbers as well.
Suddenly race day morning was here, luckily for me it only takes 10 minutes to walk to the start line from home. Walking up through Greenwich park on London Marathon morning is always such a treat, seeing all the excitement, nervous energy and colour everywhere is such an amazing sight. Completely unique to London, you’ll never see anything like it at any other race.
The championship area was buzzing with chatter about what was going to be possible on the day, how much would the heat effect everyone and after all the months and months of training would it all be for nothing?
Then like a flash it was time to get going, the national anthem played and the Queen hit the starting button. Even on Championship the start can be quite busy, but after the first km it quickly evens out and you’re running free. Early on I could quickly tell something wasn’t quite right, the pace was a bit quick, but the effort was far too high.
5k came up in 17:22, which given the long downhill section through Woolwich was ok.. a bit quick for sure, but I was becoming overly worried about the heat. The long drag into Greenwich is always very speedy, it’s so flat and you’ve normally still got lots of energy. As we got to Cutty Sark and the 10k point the watch clicked over in 34:52.
Quite simply I’d been pushing it too much for the heat and now everything was starting to slow down. On the run up to Surrey Quays my pace was slowing, I was trying my best to cool myself with water, but I think the damage had been done. My heart rate was dropping as was my pace and now it was into damage limitation mode already.
Tower Bridge was incredible of course, the support around this part of the route is unbelievable, you’ll never experience anything like it ever, just amazing. It couldn’t heal my demise though, although everything was becoming slightly more stable. There was no point in getting down about it, there was nothing I could do. The time goals had long gone out the window, but I still wanted to push on and do as well as I could. I’ve never been one to quit, I always want to give my best.
35 - 40k came up in 21:37, obviously well down on goal pace, but still managing to tick over. I was sick in my mouth 3 times during the final 5k, it was an odd sensation as I wasn’t feeling that bad.. but wasn’t right for sure.
I knew I’d have to push a bit during the final km to to get under 2:50 and managed to click that off in 3mins 30, so crossed the finish line at 2:49:33.
A tough day out for sure. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. Even with the heat it was a poor time for me, but you can’t win them all and I’ll be back to carry on the quest shortly.
Looking back of course I wished I’d gone off a little slower and respected the heat a bit more, however I think it would have only slightly prolonged the inevitable. It was never going to be a PB day, but would rather go for it and fail, than never try at all.
It was still a fantastic day, a real sense of runners coming together to do battle with the weather. And while the weather certainly took a lot of PB’s away, the running spirit won with smiles and such a huge sense of achievement amongst everyone that crossed the finish line.
It does raise a lot of issues over the mental side of running, when you train for months and months, only for the weather to take any quick time away from you at the last second. However you can’t think too much about it. You can only train smarter, learn from it and take all that extra knowledge into the next race.
Remember if you want some help with your running and achieving your goals, then check out my coaching pages here, where you can get tailor made training and support to get that PB your deserve. Get in touch if you have any questions!
Such sad news to learn about the passing of one of the runners, Matt Campbell just 3.7 miles from the finish. His page to learn more is here.
So what’s next? Well the small issue of the Thames Path 100 mile in just over a week!! A completely different type of challenge, 100 miles in one day, bring it on!