London Marathon Race Report
By Gareth David
The hardest run of my life and lots of questions to answer.
I was lucky enough to gain a place for London Marathon, through the ballot, for a second time this year. Personal record mileage in training meant that I was looking forward to putting in a good performance – maybe even a PB!?
As many of you already know, there aren’t many bigger endurance events – this year there were 42,000 runners and enormous crowds. The atmosphere was electric throughout the course – noticeably bigger than my previous appearance in 2015. My personal highlight was crossing Tower Bridge, feeling strong and right on target. I was ready to put in a good second half.
Then my quads started to ache like never before and I quickly deteriorated, from 15 miles onwards I was fighting the urge to walk. My thoughts:
If I stop to stretch that might help……
Maybe another gel or some water…..
This will look bad on Strava…….
I’ll just walk for a few seconds……..
If I keep running then it’ll be over sooner…….
My pace dropped and my quads did not come back (they were still aching several days later). Having spent the first half of the race doing a lot of overtaking, I spent the rest of it being overtaken.
There were still some lovely moments. Having my name printed on my Solihull Triathlon vest meant that I had at least 100 people cheering me personally over the course. I tried my best to seek them out, give them a smile and acknowledge what it meant to me.
The sights and the size of the event make it very special to be a part of. The area around Canary Wharf is deafening with the crowd’s cheers bouncing off the tall buildings. My slower pace meant I saw more fancy dress runners than last time too! I gave Tent Man (from the telly) and the famously tall Big Ben some encouragement as I overtook them. Unfortunately, an Ice Cream that I cruised past in the first half came back to haunt me.
Approaching the Houses of Parliament and then running down the Mall did squeeze the last bit of fight from me but there was no sprint finish and I trudged onwards to collect my medal and devour the food and drink in my goody bag.
What on Earth happened to my legs? Was it the foam rolling? Was it excessive cycling? Too much running? Not enough faster running? I’m not sure yet but I’m determined to not have a run like that again.
I’d highly recommend doing London Marathon at least once but I think that’s it for me.