London Marathon 2012 – we came, we saw, we ran

Happy St. George’s Day for today – 23rd April.

We’ve done it.  26.2 miles around London town done!  And what an event.  37,500 runners, a huge number of supporters and blue skies for the most part.

Over £2,220 raised for Whizz-Kidz – and donations still coming in – by my friends and family and a staggering £1.5 million raised for Whizz-Kidz by all their runners.  I didn’t make the photo shot before the start but here it is – what a team!  If you still would like to make a small donation, it’s not too late – just go to www.justgiving.com/jasonnoble1.

An early start yesterday for Nobles and the train journey up to town quite something else for a Sunday morning.  So many people going to the marathon to run or support.  The trains were so busy it was like normal rush hour, but with a real buzz in the air.

Perfect weather yesterday morning over London – clear blue skies and not too hot.  It got warmer throughout the morning but the rain and wind didn’t hit until about 3pm – by which time a lot of runners had finished.

After a detour to the wrong start, we made our way back to the red start and the Noble support crew said goodbye and good luck and made their way up to Westminster just after mile 25 to join Nic’s mum and dad and wait (a good few hours) with the banner.

A few toilet stops for me before the gun and then we were off.  Note – not going to the toilet for almost 4 hours is in itself a major achievement for me (and most blokes).  I crossed the start line about 3 minutes after the gun went off, full of high spirits and enjoying the continuing buzz.

My pace started at about 8:30 per mile for the first 2 miles, just with the crowd and trying not to get off too fast.  After about 4-5 miles, pace at 8 minutes per mile, so on track.  The blue and red starts merged at about 3 miles and it’s then that you realised how many people are actually running – a lot.

A trip around the fully restored Cutty Sark at about 6 miles was another high point, with a great crowd.  South of the river the atmosphere was amazing – with bands playing, people out in the street cheering outside their front doors, in pubs with beers in hand at 10:30am and children handing our sweets and all wanting high fives from the runners.  Spotted my cousin Leanne at about mile 11 with the Lyons support crew waiting for Noel and had a huge “Jason” shout from them.  Having your name on the front of your shirt really helps and people all along the route are shouting out your name, helping push you along.

My pace was well on-track up to half-way and 3:30 looked a real possibility.  Then the dreaded Docklands happened.  My pace started gradually slowing down – 8:02 (not too bad can still get back), 8:05 (might need to rethink target time); 8:07 (this is going to be hard), 8:11 (oh crap) and so on…!   Support through the Docklands was great.  From 2009 I remembered it being a bit on the sparse side with people cheering you on, but not this time – they were there in force.

Just before the half-way point, I got to see the eventual winner come sprinting past (literally – 4:43 minutes per mile for 26.2 of them).  An awesome sight and with 6 or 7 miles to go he already had a lead of about 2 minutes.  Saw a few of the other front runners going passed and cheered them on, before almost getting knocked over by a Smurf.

 

Now coming out of the Docklands, with about 6 miles to go, and past Tower Bridge and runners just coming up to half-way and then past The Tower of London.  Getting closer but it’s hurting now.  That infamous carrot (him and his runner bean mate beat me in the 1/2 marathon in 2010) keeps catching up and over taking and then dropping back.  Will he beat me this time?  Yes!

A bride runs past, but Spiderman drops back.  A Roman Centurion overtakes me and gets the crowd up in cheers – he’s fast!  The Embankment now and nearly on the home straight.  Legs hurting but I refuse to stop – it’s a mental thing now to keep pushing!

25.5 miles and the Noble support crew come into sight.  Run up and give little Sophie a high five and nearly go flying – close call.  800m to go – that sounds a lot further that it should.  600m – we’re close.  400m – I can almost feel the finish line.  Less than 400 yards – I can see the finish.  Go go go – a push for a “sprint” finish, nothing left but overtake at least one person, and we’re done!  Finish line crossed.

A hobble now for about a mile to get the area where you meet friends and family – that’s not funny, having to walk that far now!  Medal and bag of goodies picked up and free drinks downed.

My official time was 3:46:54 – a whole 14 seconds faster than my time in 2009.  But a way off my target of 3:30.  Pace and split up to half-way were good and on track (and pretty much spot on what they were in 2009).  Official time and place is…

 

Always an emotional time now and a few hugs with the support crew when I find them.  Then off – very slowly – to the Whizz-Kidz reception and massage.  The massage was very nice but legs very sore today and stairs are my enemy.  Fingers crossed the usual DOMS doesn’t occur where it hurts most 2 days later!

 

 

An amazing experience yet again.  London at its absolute best.  2012 is going to be London’s year!  Perfect weather and a great great atmosphere.  Yes it was very very hard as before – and that’s with all the training.  To crack 3:30 – maybe one day – even more training no doubt needed.  And very emotional.  Plus a parking ticket when we got back to the car – parking on Sunday’s is free normally isn’t it???  I’m in the process of “negotiating” with the council to see if I can donate my fine to Whizz-Kidz instead.  Fingers crossed.

A very fitting quote – “If you want to win something, run 100 meters.  If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” by the great Emil Zatopek.

In the marathon news yesterday, Fauja Singh, believed to be the oldest marathon runner at 101, completed his race in seven hours and 49 minutes. The East Londoner has said this would be his last marathon so he can concentrate on shorter distances and faster times.  What an inspiration.

The day of course was sadden by the news of the death of 30 year old Claire Squires, one mile from the finish.  Very very sad.  Our thoughts go out to all her friends and family.  Claire was running for the Samaritans.  RIP.

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