Monday, 26 April 2010

London Marathon 2010

I sit here on the train returning home from completing my 3rd london marathon and my best yet. I say this for a number of reasons and will get straight to the point. I got a PB by 12mins over my 2009 time but more pleasing than this I ran my most even pace for a marathon. In fact I went one better than that by getting a negative spilt. But this only tells half the story of a race which whilst not full of incident there were a few significant points to note.

Firstly it was the hardest race and at the same time the easiest race I have run. This sounds weird and I cant really explain it other than to say that i felt i gave it absolutely everything i had whilst at the same time I felt (quite) comfortable throughout. I say 'comfortable' which should be qualified... meaning full on constant effort and at times moderate pain but nothing major. The ultra running paying off there then!

The first 15 miles were certainly nothing to write home about. The first couple of miles from the blue start were very slow mainly because it was so congested. You just couldnt move freely. One a half minutes lost in just 2 miles. It felt ordinary and was off the planned 8 minute miling pace (i had hoped for even quicker but it soon became apparent that this wasnt going to be possible). The miles wore on and i maintained the pace along with my friend and colleague Chris Scott. We worked together well but I was still not feeling particularly great. By halfway we were just off the pace for a 3:30 finish but this relied on maintaining the same pace for a further 13 miles and it was only going to get harder (all but impossible then).

But at around 16 miles I came alive and felt the best I had all day. Hooray finally the race had started for me. Time to crack on and claw back some time I thought. I pushed on and passed runner after runner after runner. This felt great and only motivated me to push more. Perhaps a 3.30 finish was still on. But toilet issues came into play and perhaps ruin my day. I was hydrating well, but perhaps too well! At this point i was on the Isle of Dogs around canary wharf which is very built up with no convenient places to stop for and quick pee (e.g. a tree!). I finally got to an official loo stop. A big relief. A minute lost and back on the course. I continued to pass more runners. Some i had passed before. I continued to take on water as well as energy gels provided on course and lucozade sport. All Pretty sickly stuff but they do the trick. Whilst i had no real idea of my pace or time (I wasnt wearing a watch) it felt good so I continued to rack up the miles at a sub 8 pace. Then a real blow to my plans - stomach issues... if u know what i mean :-( I wasnt feeling great all race but could ignore the signs as it wasnt too much of an issue early on... It was now! And not a loo in site. Oh s*** (almost literally)...sorry about that. Eventually i saw a sign [TOILETS <-- ] in the distance. This was at 23 miles. However it was off course and I had to take a detour around the back of a building. Another 3 minutes lost at least! Argh :-( I was starting to make a habit of this now.

I continued to chase still with no idea of my actual time. I gave it everything and enjoyed every bit of those last few miles blasting along... 'bring on the pain' and it almost felt effortless. Without a watch I had no way of knowing if i could do it. Tick tock, tick tock... Soon I was at Big Ben and then around the corner onto birdcage walk. My wife, daughter and parents cheered on from the sidelines of St James park as I steamed past. Then around the next corner and another and the finishing line was in sight. Glorious. I pushed on and crossed the line. The time on the clock was 3:31:XX so it was very close (The delay in crossing the start line meant that the finish clock was 1 or 2 minutes out). Would it be enough?... It turns out that it was and it wasnt depending on how you look at it. I found out in the pub later that my chip time was 3:30:06!! So just 7 seconds outside going under 3:30 but still 3:30 nevertheless. I can't grumble and my 5 km splits below tell the full story. Even pacing throughout and a negative split to boot which I never thought possible so well chuffed with that. If only I didnt have that Big Mac the day before!! :-)

           Time            Splits
5K      00:26:11      00:26:11
10K    00:50:59      00:24:48
15K    01:15:48      00:24:49
20K    01:40:28      00:24:40
HALF 01:45:49
25K    02:05:03      00:24:35
30K    02:29:23      00:24:20
35K    02:54:49      00:25:26
40K    03:20:30      00:25:41
Finish  03:30:06

2nd Half (01:44:17)

That's it for road running for a while. Back to what i really enjoy on the trails starting with the Fellsman 60miler in just 2 weeks time :-) bring it on!


  1. Nice work, Disco Stu!!!!! That's quite a beard you've got going there! Congrats on the new PB!

    All Day!

  2. Nice work Stu! Great result mate. Very envious you are doing the Fellsman! What else is on your race schedule?

  3. Stu, your consistent splits never cease to impress, especially in view of the later 'diversions'. Your finishing time was equally impressive. You are a machine.
    See you soon for The Fellsman. You have wings and you will fly.

  4. Thanks chaps! you're all too kind.

    Richard - not too many races lined up after the fellsman. the only other race I have registered is the Adidas 24hr Thunder Run in July. Looking forward to that one! (hoping it will be my first 100 if all goes well) I expect I will get in another ultra or 2 between now and then as prep for it. any recommendations?

    Ken - that was my lucky beard, but its gone now. I also wanted to look a little different on the official VLM photos. something to look back on a laugh...

    Nick - See you in a weeks time :-D