Sunday, 27 January 2019

London Marathon 2018 - report better late than never

2018 will go down as one of those years when the London Marathon was a scorcher. In fact was the hottest ever on record, with the temperature hitting a very high 23.2 Celsius, which is unseasonably hot for 22nd April.

Going into the race, my build-up could not have gone better, off the back of probably my best XC season and a half marathon pb of 67:06. All this indicated that a pb in the London Marathon was on the cards however, due to the temperature, I would need to be very careful not to go off at a crazy pace and over heat.

I decided to aim for around 5:20-5:22 per mile, with the intention to go through halfway somewhere around 70-71 minutes. This would still give me a chance of a pb, but not risk a complete detonation. At this pace, I would expect there to have been a decent group to work together with, however early on, i

t became apparent that either I would have to make a bold move to jump into with a 69 min group or otherwise it was going to be a solo run for home.

I vividly remember looking ahead of me at about 5 miles and already seeing a British contingent a good 45-60s ahead of me, and I knew inside that was where I did not need to be. Lo and behold, many of those guys came back to me later on in the race.

Once the pace had settled down, I found myself running with Bashingile Ndabili who, it turns out, competed in both the Athens and Beijing Olympics, and has a solid pb of about 2:15.  He was happy to lead, and I found myself settled in behind for a number of miles. This certainly helped ease the racing, and I went through halfway in 70:14. 

Coming off Tower Bridge

Unbeknown to me was that, about 10 seconds behind me, James Westlake was tracking me, and moving through the field with me. As is always the case, when it comes to the Isle of Dogs, I really struggle for motivation, and you suddenly feel isolated with very few people around. I was gradually overtaking others, as those that had gone off too fast were succumbing to the heat.

Having gone through Canary Wharf and out the other side, the hairpin allowed me to check where I was in relation to those runners just ahead and behind me. It was only at this point, where I realised that James Westlake was tight on my tail and, when he came along side me, it gave me the motivation to push on. In fact, I proceeded to close the gap on Tony Payne and got to with about 30s of him at one point, only for him to have a cracking last 4 miles and open the gap back up to 1:30. 

Coming in to The Mall, I was spent, dehydrated, covered in water from pouring bottles over me, hot, and ready for this to finish. I had finished in 6th place in the mass race and 21st overall with 2:23:15. 21st out of 40,000! I think the conditions played to my advantage, but I also think that they were responsible for missing a pb. I would say it was one of my best ever performances, and certainly on a par, if not better, that the 2:21 I recorded a few years back. Clearly V35 is proving to be a decent category!

Along with Tony Payne (2:21:53) and Will Green (2:27:02) Serpentine won the British Athletics Team prize – the first time in the club’s history and finally achieved it!

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