Paul Walters runs the London Marathon
Coming up to 15 miles
Marathon Report Sunday 17th April 2005
It was a cold but bright morning. I decided to run in my Reigate Priory AC top rather than the Athritis Research Campaign one. I had a banana for breakfast, and drank two cups of tea. This was all I had to drink until the start of the race.
We were out of the door at 7:20 to drive to Redhill Railway station to take the 7:37 train into London Bridge. I then separated from the family and immediately and easily got on a train to Maze Hill. Everyone was waiting on platform 4, but this train I found was on platform 5! I even got a seat on the train, which was nice.
At Maze Hill, the crowds slowly filed out of the station as usual, and I started walking to the Red Start (out of Red, Green and Blue). I had a pee against a tree - I really didn't want to use the toilets at the start after last year's experience, so did what I could to avoid it.
At the Red Start, I found the Arthritis Research Campaign people, and had a nice chat. They took my photo, for which I had to take off my Reigate Priory AC vest and put on my ARC top, which I had in my kit bag - then put the Reigate Priory AC top back on.
I took two Ibuprofen tablets, and rubbed Ibuprofen gel into my knees and left hip - places where I felt my main niggles in the last weeks of training. I placed my bag on the appropriate baggage bus, and went straight to zone 4, my alloted zone (out of 9 zones). It was about 9:20, and the zone was largely empty, so I managed to stand at the front of the zone. I had originally intended eight and a half minute miling, but saw the eight minute mile pacer infront of me in zone 3, and wondered whether I should stick to my plan or to follow him. The Mister Man Mr. Tickle had also some how got into zone 3! The weather was warm and sunny, and although the forecast was for rain later, in fact it stayed bright and sunny for the duration of the marathon.
Eventually we moved forward and the gun went off. I crossed the start line in under 2 minutes from the gun.
I didn't know how fast I had completed the first mile, but in fact I finished it in 8 minutes, although the 8 minute mile pacer was no longer visable to me. Incidently, from the gun to about the 20 mile mark, I managed to pace myself at 8 minute miling for the whole way.
The crowds were excellent this year, and I really enjoyed their support. There were occasional shouts of "Come on Reigate Priory". The music provided by bands added very much to the atmosphere.
I started drinking very early on in the race, but decided that I'd try to drinkmore of the energy drinks rather than water, which is what I did for the whole race. I think I got it about right this year - I did not get a stitch through over drinking (like last year), or any signs of dehydration.
I saw my family just after the Cutty Sark, but didn't stop - I was on my 8 minute mile pace. After 7 or 8 miles I felt the first twinges of a problem in my left upper hamstring / piriform muscles, although the problem which I thought might stop me, my knees, weren't a problem at any time during the race.
We crossed over Tower Bridge after 12 miles, which was it's usual excellent experience - great crowds.
As we set out to the Isle of Dogs, we joined the route of the runners coming back from the Isle of Dogs, and we had the opportunity to see some of the slower elite women as well as the leading pack of elite men, headed by a vehicle with Jimmy Saville on it! I have never seen the elite men running in my previous marathons - I've been too slow.
The problem with my hamstring became progressively worse, and when I saw my family and friends after 14 miles I shouted to my wife to have the ibuprofen gel ready when I would see them at the 20 mile mark. At this point in the race I felt good - I'd completed the majority of the marathon on a pace which I thought was too quick, but may be unwisely I picked up the pace just a little as I expected to slow down in the latter stages of the race, and I wanted to try for 3 hours and 30 minutes.
As usual, the crowds in Isle of Dogs really helped, but after 18 miles I started feeling fatigued, and I was much more focused in my task to try to maintain pace.
After seeing my family just before the 21 mile mark (and not applying any gel), my hip finally gave way. I felt a large pain, and I soon realised that there was a chance that I might not finish the race running - again. I was also feeling very fatigued, and my pace became much slower.
I tried to keep focused and to keep running. At mile marks and at drinks stations, I walked for a very short distance before starting again, which helped me, although in hind sight might have been a mistake in terms of my final time.
From 24 miles onwards, any decline in the road made running quite painful, and I really dreaded this parts of the route.
Once we had passed the 25 mile mark, there was no stopping, and I just ran the last mile and a bit the best I could, finally passing Parliament and setting off down Bird Cage Walk.
I finally ran past Buckingham Palace, and started running in, but because of my hip decided to make no effort to pick my pace up. I think that my finishing time was approximately 3 hours 37 minutes from crossing the start line.
On the finishing line I realised that I'd finished just after Gordon Ramsey. I watched the highlights on television, and realised that you can just see my legs behind him on the BBC coverage!
I got my medal, goodie bag and bag from the baggage lorry quite promptly, and made my way slowly to the "R" point of the repatriation area. I sat and ate "Fruit Allsorts" from the goodie bag until my family and friends arrived.
We went off to the Arthritis Research Campaign hospitality suite, where I had my photo taken again but with my daughter Lizzie tbis time, I had a welcome massage, and we all had a meal.
We walked back to Victoria railway station to come back to Redhill by 5:30PM.
It's now 8:30PM, and my hip is quite painful. I guess it's an injury which will put me out of action from running for a number of weeks.
Many thanks for reading this and sponsoring me for a very worthy cause.
Back to my London Marathon home page