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2015 London Marathon Runners Stories

For the 2014 Marathon the British Airways Athletics Club provided a huge team of people to help with the running of the marathon.  Over 140 sector managers, deputies, team leaders and helpers were rostered on marathon day. In return, we received a score of places from the organisers.  Here are the race day stories of some of our runners this year…..


Scott Davison

What a great day Sunday !!!!

Travelled to London by mini bus from Staines which set the day nicely, ideal conditions.

Started at a nice relaxed pace and chatted to 2 first timers for 2/3 miles then onto Cutty Sark, noisy but nice smooth running, at this stage I was under my 4.20 which I was aiming for.

Reached half in 2hr 9ses which was my slowest half in all of the 12 marathons I've now run but felt so so good taking energy gels at 6/12 miles. The miles came along quickly and so I was at 18 then this chap bouncing 2 basketballs ran past me !!! so I overtook him again but then he went passed me and I never saw him again my boy was at Spur Road Birdcage Walk and he said he finished 15mins before me....thanks son.

I was ahead of the 4 hr pacers but they went passed at 22ish I'm then thinking do I push harder, but kept to my pace and just took in the day seeing so much that I'd never seen before. I have to say it was one of my most enjoyable marathons as it was so relaxed came home in 4.07.

So good to see all you marshalls and some hi 5s were given 400m from the finish.

Thanks so much for my place hope to be on the start line in 2016 as I'm now thinking ...do I have another sub 4 in me?...

thanks,

Scott Davison


Hannah Davison

This year was my first marathon and I have slightly mixed emotions about it.  Firstly, (now that I have forgotten the pain) I loved it - the amazing atmosphere and the overwhelming amount of crowds was incredible but my running didn't quite go to plan! 

That morning I had forgotten my running watch! Everyone had told me  not to go off too fast and to keep the first 3 miles slower then you think. So without my watch on I found this difficult and actually started out too slow! I've had a knee injury throughout my training so I was determine not to aggravate it in the first few miles by going too fast so maybe I was a little bit paranoid and a bit too cautious without the running watch to keep tabs on me. 

I got through the first 9 miles perfectly fine, having seen lots of my family and friends already and felt great but then I got a blister which I quickly slapped a compede on and carried on running with a little bit of discomfort. 

Miles 14 - 18 I seriously endured. I'd been quite comfortable doing long mileage in my training but I think the buzz of the crowds had worn off and I  was beginning to hurt on this occasion! I was taking in regular water and gels but just felt like I was dragging myself around. 

At mile 18 I saw Rennie Grove, who me, with a few others have been raising money for, they gave me a huge amount of jelly babies and loads of encouragement and I felt a lot better! 

From mile 20 onwards I decided I wanted this marathon over and that I'd been running for long enough, the pace I was doing wasn't getting me close enough to the line so my partner, Sam and I decided to pick it up and go for it even if it hurt. So over the last 6 miles we overtook ALOT of people and the whole part just seemed to flash by - it was amazing and I was loving it again! The last mile  was my favourite by far! I could have ran that 26 times over easily! 

My main aim of the marathon was to go over the line looking strong and I went over the line hand in hand with Sam after trying to sprint finish so I'm pretty happy with that. 

So in summary, I would do it all again for the first and last miles. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to run my first marathon. 

Next time I'll remember my running watch... 

Hannah 


Neil Frediani

I guess I had better ‘fess up’ and inform those who don’t already know my experience as an ‘oldish’ first timer ( I seem to have spent the whole week telling people about it).
 
Overall it was an amazing experience, mine was nothing like as good as some of the runs which I have read about this week. Despite all the advice and training that I had taken on board (thanks to all who assisted), I still got basics wrong.
 
I was glad it was cool ( I was so dreading heat) but didn’t realise how cold I would get on Blackheath before the race.

I knew that I should warm up and stretch well especially as it was so cold out there but didn’t because I was just trying to keep my body warm. 
I also knew not to go out too fast but still did so, I thought I was holding back but the watch said otherwise so I should have known. Before Tower Bridge I was beginning to hurt and by about 16 it was getting bad unlike during training. At 19 miles I met the Christopher’s Smile charity group for whom I was raising money and stopped for a chat then started walking once out of sight of them. Luckily I had Ibuprofen (anti inflammatory) in my bag and took some and a banana and some wonderful bread pudding which I spotted that someone was offering. Then I walked some more, quickly. With 3-4miles to go I started running again and felt great and did a reasonable parkrun time to finish (despite a loo break). I passed loads of people during the last 3 miles and can only remember one go past me. All the marshals and spectators that I was looking for during the last mile or so went past in a blur. I even remembered to run through the line with arms aloft for the photo.

Damn, I had energy left, as always I could have pushed harder but didn’t. It was great to have done it and has left me wondering what might have been so I must come back again sometime, maybe next year having learnt so much. My name will be in the ballot and I will train harder and in a more organised way should I get in . At least I know that I can get to the end now. Oh, and that photo which I posed for across the line is nowhere to be seen, another reason to run again.

Thanks to the club for the place this year.

Well done everyone

Neil


 Graham Taylor

Hi all,
              A perfect day for running a marathon.  I met up with some of the team at Staines and travelled up by minibus, best way to do it, virtually door to door.  My plan was to try and run between 3.30 and 3.40, which meant running at about 8.15 per min.   Started steadily, but just a little faster than predicted (8.00 min/mile), but comfortable to continue at that speed.  Gary R overtook me, but I resisted the temptation to go with him. Tom Rowley gave me a cheer just before Cutty Sark, a regular face there over the years.  At half way I managed to catch a glimpse of the leaders going the other way, which stirred me on to concentrate more as I knew the early pace would affect me soon.  17 miles I sensed that people were starting to overtake me, so had to use all my previous experiences to keep going.  I then passed Gary R who was suffering more than me, but then Colin H overtook me doing it the best way with negative splits.  I got a second wind at about 20 miles with only 10k to go.

  So pleasing to come across the crossing points, therefore to see some familiar faces helps to keep the motivation going.  The Km markers are now replaced with metres to go signs, a glance at the watch confirms that just keep going at similar pace and plan time achieved.  Now retrieve kitbag, make sure Tamarinds is still there, YES, good she didn’t beat me, then off to the crossing point along Birdcage walk and do a 3 hour stint whilst supporting the rest of the team.  It was a shame that everyone wasn’t wearing their BA vests*, even Jas had a MS vest, but the beard was still recognizable.  5.00 pm shift done, then the slow trek home.
 
  It’s so inspiring to read everybody’s reasons for running the London marathon, mine is purely because I enjoy the whole day, but I’m impress that everybody wants to do it again.  Therefore I look forward to see most of you next year and maybe more BA vests next year.
 
Regards Graham

* The club doesn't insist on the wearing of club vests for this event - particularly if a charity vest is worn.


Paul Timms

Dear All

I had a great run on the day.  Having lost my Father the week before I wasn't sure how I was going to feel emotionally during the race. I had stuck to my training program only missing one 5K run in 16 weeks. 

My plan was to run an even race with splits of 5m 5s per kilometre.  Once we started I mentally told myself that I was prepared, fit and disciplined and just had to stick to the plan.  The crowds were amazing from the start giving me a huge lift.   I felt that my Dad was giving me a push the whole way.

I finished in 3h 33m 12s. 

Thank you to the BAAC for the opportunity to take part in this special event. 

My wife Sam, and cousin Claire were marshals at the Spur Road. They too had a special day which they described was full of camaraderie, privilege, laughter, and fun. They didn't stop talking the whole way home about their experience.

Well done to each and everyone of you. Take care whilst your body heals over the next week.

Best Wishes

Paul


Jenny Reeves

Hi everyone

And just to add my thanks to Steve and the team too from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to have a Club place for 2015; and also to tell my story (loving all of yours by the way!)

This was my 2nd marathon, last year I achieved 4:23:56, but last year at mile20 I hit the treacly road that Robbie mentioned, I knew there was some training that could make me improve this year.

It did, and I hit a respectable 4:00:44, just 45secs off my target of 3:59:59 (obvs!), knocking a whopping 23mins off my PB and only 10 minutes from "Good For Age" time so I'm really chuffed to bits. Especially as I was injured for the last month of training. Steve (and my Physio) persuaded me that it was just a long taper really...... but the battle going on in my mind was telling me I wouldn't be good enough or achieve my goal.

Some of you know that I practice meditation (using a phone app) and this helps calm all that critical thinking that nags away at all of us and causes anxiety and stress. I used mindful meditation throughout my training and out on my long runs, to try and "break the wall" this time- which I believe really is in the mind if you've done the training...

I managed to work through those last 6.2mi that Robbie explained so well, in a new way this year with a fresh approach and a different perspective on the pain in the legs causing the chatter in the mind. So I ran the whole distance this time and I'm extremely pleased with my new approach to distance running.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to ask me about my mental preparation, what I did and how, or checkout this TED talk about taking 10minutes every day to help improve your own mind:-
https://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes

Steve, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to run London in a club place, and for all the hard work you guys do to keep the Club active and successful and allowing our volunteer marshals such incredible opportunities too. Thank you to them as well, because we couldn't do it without them.

Congratulations everyone who took part in whatever way, and errrr.... see you next year-?!

All the best, Jenny 


Robbie Stewart

Hi All

Just to add my thanks to Steve and the team for letting me have a place in this year's race. The advice and support from the others on here were very useful and often much needed!

The wife and I both arrived on the (different!!) start lines in as good as shape as we could have asked for. The training had gone well and we had both clocked off 22 and 20 miles respectively...tapered well... carb loaded etc etc etc.... both felt ready for our first marathon.

We had a great day. Saw all our family at various parts of the course, and I personally felt I was running well until at least 15-16 miles. I was aiming for a sub 4 hour, but as I hadn't run the distance before, I couldn't tell if that was realistic or not... so stuck to just below 5.35 min/KMs ... 17 and 18 came and went but then someone threw a light covering of treacle over the road!! Not sure it was the wall....it didn't feel too bad,... other than I had to work that much harder to get my legs to maintain the pace I was running before.... 19, 20 and 21 were a slog, but I wasn't far off the pace I had set myself, but I could feel my calf threatening to cramp up.

I lost track of where I was with my gels and lucozades etc, so was grabbing anything I could by now.... then we got to the last stretch if 23 onwards.

I knew that if I could run the last 3 miles in 30mins ...I would be ok.....

25 miles approached, I felt a small surge of energy... looked at my watch and realised I still had 11 and a 1/2 minutes in the bank.... but at that point remembered the all important .2 miles!!!!....  So had to try and up the pace for the last 1800 meters.... so kept pushing... checking the watch ...looking for the distances....checking my watch.... realising I wasn't running much quicker than I was before..... then you go under the crossing point with 385m to go.... see the roundabout that turns you up the Mall.... and sprinted (It's all relative!!!) ... grabbed some random blokes hand and crossed the line #handinhand with a whole 7 seconds to spare!!!.. Never in doubt!!! Although the cramps I suffered 20 minutes after I finished suggested I couldn't have given any more on the day.

The wife came in a very respectable 4 hours 47 and we met all our family at a hotel, with a post run reception party organised by the Prostate Cancer Research Centre. We raised over £5000 between the 2 of us and over £100000 as the group of 52 runners.

As a boy I watched my Dad run 3 Londons and I always fancied giving it a go. ... as I trained I thought I had a sub four in me....So to tick both those boxes, with my Dad supporting me, made for a VERY special day. Thanks to everyone who helped along the way.

Regards

Robbie


 Tamarind Higham

Dear Steve and fellow runners,

I just wanted to say a very BIG thank you to Steve for extending the Marathon place to a non club member.  I honestly thoroughly enjoyed my first Marathon and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to run it.  The support from the club members has been wonderful and it really helped me on the lead up to the race day.  So thank you to each and every one of you for the advice and support!

Being my first Marathon I really had no idea how things would turn out on the day, but what a run it was.  The crowd was amazing and really helped me on those last few miles.  I was having a very easy race up until the 20 mile mark when I seem to have hit the wall and the legs definitely felt stiff and that they needed oiling :-)  I had some great advice from Graham, who said not to stop but rather slow the pace down if I needed too. At this point I realised that I should have done longer runs in my training to get the legs used to the longer distance. Having only done up to 32km before race day and then with a lazy 3 week holiday in Cape Town in between crucial training distances really didn't help me on the day. At least next time I know exactly what is required to run the race in the time I had set my heart on.  I managed to run it in 4hrs 8 minutes so not far off my under 4hr prediction.  I did find in the beginning the crowds slowed down my progress and would definitely look at going into a faster category next time where I could make it through the masses without having to weave through everyone. One of my biggest concerns was hydration and getting it right on the day.  I am happy to report that I managed to take on board the right amount of liquid for the cooler weather.  I also used Sis gels which helped with the energy levels. Crossing that finish line and receiving my first marathon medal is a day I will never forget.  All in all it was a fantastic day and hopefully I get another chance to better my times next year. 
Thank you once again and hopefully you all had a great run too!

Best Regards

Tamarind


Louise Goodridge

[sent prior to the race]

Hi all

So here we are in our last week and the nerves are kicking in.  I know that I have not done the training I wanted, but it’s too late now to worry about it.  I am going to go on Sunday and enjoy the day whatever happens.

I have been very busy learning how to be a Personal Trainer so Sunday long runs have not been done as well as I had planned – lots more on the treadmill than out on the roads. But I have had a fabulous few months getting ready for the marathon. I am looking forward to seeing all those thousands of excited faces on Sunday morning.  The atmosphere of the day is absolutely fantastic and it is that atmosphere that will get us through when we are finding the running hard.  As I am running on behalf of a charity, I have my name on the front and the back of my t-shirt and this helps on the day as people shout my name and encouragement as I go by.

I will be one of those who should stand out from the crowd, all in pink for the charity I am running on behalf of – Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust - so if you see me say hello.  I will have a different pair of funky pants for this marathon because the ones seen in this picture are now too big for me.  They are still very bright and pink is still a main colour.  I will probably be in the back pen as I am still not a very quick runner although I have been getting quicker.  This is one of the things that I feel may have suffered with the lack of training, but I shall do my best on Sunday.

So a couple of short easy runs and a little bit of core training to do this week and that is it then, ready for Sunday.  Lots of sleep, lots of fluid and some good food.  Sounds like a fabulous week to me!

Good luck to everyone.  Say hello if you see me.  I hope that you all have a great day.

Louise


Colin Haylock

Hi Steve, the committee and fellow runners,

Once again a huge ‘Thank you’ for giving me a fantastic opportunity to participate in the VLM 2015.    Pre London training had pretty much been injury free, some knee issues but nothing that I couldn’t manage using previous experience and by learning to listen to my body and taking rest when required.  Both Wokingham half and Cranleigh 21 races gave me a PB and so I knew my fitness was in place; using these times I carefully worked out my pace and marathon objective.   I ran my last three marathons in negative splits and opted to apply this tactic again but with a closer split time.   Having been relatively injury free and had not suffered from illness for over a year I picked up a cold four days before – I felt this just wasn’t fair.   When speaking to someone about being ill they simply said ‘So don’t do it then’, this shocked me and I thought, this wasn’t an option, I had to do it!  I didn’t speak another word about the ill feeling and just thought I’ve got a job to do, get on with it.    The first half was really just enjoying the brilliant atmosphere, sites and having the odd chat with myself and when I got bored chatting with other runners J     Symptoms of the cold where not part of the day I had planned so where not going to feature.    13.1 soon arrived and it was ‘time to start going to work’ by increasing the pace steadily. The congestion of runners was pretty heavy and far more noticeable compared to previous events.  Anyway, the Embankment soon came into view and I knew the end was close and remembered that I must say hello to Mrs H and other family members marshalling at Parliament SQ, and the BA gang at various location as I felt able to look out for them.    Crossing the line is always an emotional time for me while shouting ‘Yeh’ several times like a yob ..  a great day at the London office.  Next stop, Amsterdam marathon in October.

The hardest part of the day was yet to come.    Having only had 6 pints since New Year’s Eve, it was time for beers. After a short recovery; a couple of pals and I headed to several pubs in London and then Twickenham, 11 pints later and at 1am arrived home, woke up the following day with kit still on (less trainers, as that wouldn’t be very hygienic J )!  I guess that will be enough beers till after Amsterdam.

I hope that you all achieved your goals and whether you run another marathon or not, you keep on running!

Colin


Steve Taylor

Hi Everyone,

Well done to everyone who finished the marathon. The marathon went really well for me, I’ve been trying to get under 4 hours for several years and last year’s 4hrs, 27 seconds was pretty close. Some friends said to me that it was ‘as good as’ but it would still be nice to have a time starting with a 3. This year in training I have run more long runs with five runs of 20 or 21 miles and three 18 milers as well. Although they were all a struggle if anything they should have helped to prepare for the full marathon. I also did one day a week in the gym doing core and leg strengthening exercises, the theory being that they would help in the latter stages when the muscles start to get tired.

The weather on the day was perfect and so much better than the heat of previous years, it was a bit drizzly at the start but being as the forecast was for heavy rain I don’t think anyone was complaining, apart from the man at the station trying to sell poncho’s. I arrived about two hours before the start time and normally I would wander the field nervously and looking for anyone that I knew or somewhere to sit, this year I found a seat on a park bench near the pens, it was so nice to sit on a seat and I sat there and kept warm for a bit until it was time for the obligatory visit to the Portaloo and then dump my kit off on the lorry, last minute splash and dash and off to the pen. I had a wheelie bin liner to keep warm and my hat and gloves and once in the pen it didn’t feel too cold. The first few miles went well, I started taking gels right from the off and didn’t push too hard up any of the small hills. I also had some ‘zero’ drink electrolyte tablets and I dropped half a tab into the water bottles as I drank them. I’ve used Lucozade Sport in the past and have always ended up with gooey stomach cramps so I stuck with Torq gels and water/zero tabs. I met my wife and daughter at mile 11 and dumped my hat and gloves, it was good that they weren’t too sweaty as they were feeling cold and my wife had the hat and my daughter had the gloves. I was through the half in 1:56 which was good and met my wife and daughter again at mile 19. I had a target to get to 20 miles in under 3 hours and I was running pretty much on schedule, the thought was that even if I dropped back to 10 minute mile pace that I could still make it to the finish and beat four hours. I felt good and held on to 9 minute miles and looking at my splits it wasn’t until mile 23 that I dropped back to 9:30 pace. It was great to see a few friendly BA faces in the last few miles and I kept up 9:30 pace to the finish but still wasn’t really sure I’d definitely be there until about the last 400m. Those last 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m markers seem to be spaced so far apart. A last minute push for the line from 200m and I finished in 3:57:17. I’m really pleased to have finally made it sub 4 and for everything to have gone pretty much to plan as more often than not it doesn’t. I also raised some sponsorship for a charity called Five Talents and have raised about £1,500 for them.

The only question now is, what next?

I hope your post marathon recovery is going well, I attempted a couple of runs but have found that my legs seem to run out of energy quite quickly.

All the best.

Steve Taylor


 

      

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