On the 4th October 2020 I took part in the Official London Marathon. This was not the London Marathon any of us had planned, and it is very sad that we were not on the start line together, but it is still an experience we can share together. The virtual London Marathon has brought people from around the world together, even though we have not made the list to get in the bubble and race against Kipchoge, we are running together today.
I have a lot of history with the London Marathon, which remains my favourite Marathon. I look at the small handful of amazing people who have ran 40 London Marathons, and I want to achieve this and more, never missing this race. After years of trying to get entry I ran my first marathon at London Marathon 2011 for charity for Save the Rhino.
I messed up dates in 2012, and decided to book my wedding on London Marathon weekend, technically I could have delayed the honeymoon by a day, but apparently that wasn’t acceptable. So in 2013 I ran a ballot entry and managed a PB of 3:08. From 2014 to 2019 I have been an official pacer for runners world, something I would always put ahead of my own race and something I hope to do for many years to come.
I was supposed to be pacing the London Marathon 2020 in April and was so sad when this was postponed. In fact I ran my first ever Virtual marathon on that day, as I decided to run 26.2 miles anyway on my treadmill. It was a tough experience but something I wanted to do, back when we thought we would be back to normal now.
Today I had hoped that I would have been joining you all on the startline, we all hoped to still be running the London Marathon, but it wasn’t meant to be. But when the event was cancelled and made virtual, I looked to Phoenix Running who had their “Not the London Marathon”, I had entered to replace the original date, but these were cancelled, so for me this was second time lucky. I would have just run London Virtually myself, but I am glad I got the opportunity to make it an official event, making it my 57th official marathon (66 towards 100 Marathon Club).
I was determined to have a fun race. I am not in the best shape, my knee hurts, I’ve not ran a lot as I took off the pressure because I had injury in my shin, so for me this was just about having fun. I had one goal, sub 4. I had considered running at my sub 4 #funbus pace, and then I was contacted by Verity who wanted to run 3:30. So I said I would run with her. Nearer the time, with all the bad weather, on the thames Path, Verity did not want the pressure of a PB, it wasn’t the way she wanted to do it. So I told her that we can have a loose target between 3:30 and sub 4, I would let her set the pace at the beginning and I would keep us ticking along at that pace.
I was so rushed at the start. My 5 year old did not have the Jacket she wanted, and long story short I arrived at the start line 1 minute before the start. I was still putting my bib on whilst I got my temperature checked. Then I started my app for London Marathon as we were told to go.
I was not looking forward to this run. On Saturday it was pouring with rain and I looked at the weather forecast at about 23:00 hours and it said it was 100% chance of rain all night and until we finished. It was going to be wet. I was not so concerned about that, but how it would be underfoot.
It was pretty grim, with ankle deep puddles along the whole route, but to be honest its been worse. I’m glad it didn’t rain the day before when there was an event, as I know what this will be like tomorrow. At the start of the event it was deep puddles, so we got wet feet, but towards the end it was getting slippery.
It was lovely running with Verity. We had 8 laps to run, and we knew that our watch would be about half a mile long. We just chatted the whole way around, Verity was surprised after 6 miles with how quickly it was going. Thats the thing I love about running with others. With the company and distraction, you can keep going and the miles tick over quickly.
We ran up and down the Thames path 8 times, for the marathon distance. It was good to see lots of other runners, and also many with their Virtual London Marathon bibs running their own race. What was great to see was a Rhino, because after all, its not the London Marathon without a Rhino.
From early on we were hitting 08:23 min miles. And Verity went through a few moments of self doubt and struggle. We kept at this consistent pace throughout and our average pace remained 08:23 min miles for the entire route, until the last lap when I decided to #pickupthepace. Verity did so well to keep going, and we finished strong.
Our official time for the Phoenix events was 3:43:15, a time we are both really happy with. My London Marathon App recorded me reaching 26.2 in 3:41, and for some reason Verity hit 26.2 in 3:35, despite running with me the whole time. I don’t really care which of the times count, but if its Verity’s that’s a PB for her. Considering she had so much more to give, and it was difficult conditions, she can definitely do 3:30 or quicker.
This time the #funbus was a party of two, but it was still on and I am so pleased to have helped someone to have a happy race.
I have had a great Virtual London Marathon, how was yours. Let me know how you got on… and how did you celebrate?
Enjoy the rewards