London Marathon Report – May 2014

Well done to our 5 club members who completed the London Marathon, Leonie, David, Laura, Andrew and Alex. It was a very warm day, not the best for running, but a lovely day for spectating. Terry and Chris were at the 15 mile mark waving our club banner proudly in the breeze and with a rucksack full of bananas and drinks. Having got there early around 10 o’clock, we managed to get a place near the front, but still found it difficult to spot individual runners (see the non-photo of Mo Farah!). But nevertheless we saw Laura, Leonie and Alex, but missed David and Andrew, and got to see Leonie and Alex at the 18 and 20.5 mile marks too – Laura was too quick for us.

Ron Burgundy aka Alex Penny

Ron Burgundy aka Alex Penny


A special mention to Alex, who was dressed up as Ron Burgundy from the film Anchorman. He had a burgundy suit, shirt and sponsor’s vest together with a wig and fake moustache and sadly, an Aston Villa tie. No wonder he struggled when virtually everyone else was wearing the bare minimum.


Official Times:

David Nodwell  4h 09m

Laura Penny      4h 27m

Leonie Usher     4h 54m

Andrew MacGarvey  5h 06m

Alex Penny          5h 20m

All 5 runners have been invited to write a few words, we’ve received these comments so far …

Leonie taking on fuel!

Leonie taking on fuel!

Leonie says:

This was my third marathon attempt (having done London in 2010 and Berlin in 2012). Although my training didn’t go too well and I felt I

hadn’t done enough, I felt quietly confident that I could finally break the 5 hour mark as I was starting injury free. I did start to worry when I hit the wall at mile 7!!!! However, I seemed to come out the other side (albeit around mile 12) and managed to complete the race in 4 hours and 54 minutes (despite also missing the running club banner and running back on myself to obtain some fuel)! It was another great experience that I would love to do again due to the amazing crowds that really pull you round and I am finally “walking” away from a marathon injury free!

Laura at the 15 mile mark

Laura at the 15 mile mark

Laura writes:

What an amazing experience! The crowd were cheering the whole way round and really lifted me through my low points. It was a big lift to see the club banner flapping in the wind high above all the people!  It was a party atmosphere throughout the course and everyone was having a good time. I would recommend that everybody experiences the London Marathon even very inexperienced runners – all it takes is a few dedicated months of training and then you can have memories that will last a life time!
David says the day went a little like this……………..

Awoke at 1:30am with nerves and excitement and then dozing until 5am when I had to be up to catch the coach from Bicester at 6am. Breakfast was consumed on the coach before arriving at approximately 7:50am.

Once we were dropped off I made my way to the blue start pen where I had plenty of time to kill before the 10am start. This is where I carried out some mild stretching with plenty of toilet runs before loading my bag onto the lorry.

I made my way to gate #3 with a belt full of gels and about 20 minutes to spare before the start. I can’t remember the gun going off – probably too far from the front but you know the race has started once everyone starts walking forwards.

Although it was by far the most crowded race I have ever been in there was only one slight bottle neck after approximately 500 metres that slowed the pace but this lasted literally 10 seconds.

The aim was to run at 8:20 per mile and this was o.k until about 16 miles in when I started to feel slightly more tired than in training runs. This might have been due to tapering too much in the last month as I had a couple of niggles and didn’t want to injure myself. Or it may have been due to the fact I had only ever ran up to 20 miles in the 4 month training plan and the thought of another 10 miles was very daunting! In training I would think that wasn’t too bad, only 6 more miles on race day but in reality it was the hardest 6 miles I have ever done and I totally underestimated how hard they would be.

At about 19 miles I started to get mild cramp which got worse and worse every mile and by 21 miles I had to run/walk due to the legs being too tired and cramping up. At about 21 miles I was hoping for a sub 4 but the pace was slowing every mile and in the end I was just happy to finish!

I was a little disappointed with my time (4:09:57, pace per mile average 9:30) as I had looked at predicted times with my 10K and half marathon results and this indicated I should have easily have achieved a sub 4!

Lessons learnt………
Just enjoy your first marathon – especially London (Alex did tell me this and he was right)
10k and half marathon times used to predict your marathon time is only highlighting what you should be able to achieve if you have carried out the right preparation. Although I did do some long runs I think it takes time to build endurance and I think this is where my downfall was.
Don’t underestimate the last 6 miles!
Work on slowing the pace and increasing the miles to build endurance!

I would like to thank the running club for giving me the opportunity to run in such a fantastic race.

Andrew at the start of the London Marathon

Andrew at the start of the London Marathon

Andrew’s report :

I had originally won my place in the London Marathon via the ballot for 2013 but deferred by one year because of an injury to my foot. In fact, that injury plagued my build up to the 2014 event and I had to ‘ration’ my training to ensure I would be fit enough to run on the day. In terms of preparation, I planned in a half marathon in MK at the end of December, the Dubai Marathon in January and the Silverstone Half in March and built my program up around these main events.

In the end, it was not the niggling injury but sickness that spoilt my Dubai run. The race starts at 7am and I had not quite adjusted to the time zone change. I think the combination of lack of sleep and dietary changes caused me a problem. I could not take on even water without getting stomach cramps. I completed 18 miles of the race but by then the temperature was quite high and I was concerned that I would cause myself serious issues through dehydration if I continued. I chalked it up as a good ‘long run’ and went sight-seeing!

Silverstone was great and I would recommend it to anyone who has not tried it. I completed it in just over 2 hours, which was fine for me – I would be aiming for 5 hours at London.

It has been written elsewhere on this site that you should go out to enjoy your first London Marathon. I think this is great advice, I tried to soak in the pre-race atmosphere although was nervous knowing there were 26 (and a bit) miles to complete and the weather was close to that in Dubai! I was right at the back of my start (Blue) and I think in future I will be less pessimistic about my estimated time. I spent the first few miles ‘passing traffic’ and by 3 miles my Garmin showed I had  already run more than the official distance as I weaved my way through the crowd.

The first half was very steady with no issues; I went through the 13 miles in 2:20. In the second half, I had a few problems. First, one of my shoes became very uncomfortable and although I did not want to stop I was eventually forced to stop twice to take it off and adjust it. I had worn the same shoes for over 100 miles with no problems and do not know what caused the problem. Once up and running again, I settled back into a rhythm and was fine up to 20 miles.  This was where I found my ‘wall’. To cope with the situation, I took on a gel and jogged/walked from 20.5 to 22 miles.

Once at 22 miles I had regrouped and then was able to go on and complete the race finishing not far over the 5 hours I had targeted. I had run for Children with Cancer UK and they were brilliant at the end, really looking after me and making sure I was OK.

It was a great day and I think my experience shows that anyone can complete the race with reasonable preparation. My longest run before the event was the 18 miles in Dubai and my long runs around Buckingham ranged from 11 to 15 miles.

The most interesting aspect of the race itself was that having worried for 6 months about my foot, I had absolutely no reaction on the day! In fact, I was back out for a short recovery run a few days later and entered the ballot for next year a couple of days after that!

PS – did anyone else have the Garmin/Canary Wharf problem?!

Mo Farah was here 2 seconds earlier – emphasising the point that a good photographer always has his camera ready.

Mo Farah plus 2 seconds!

Mo Farah plus 2 seconds!