Paul Walters runs the London Marathon

Report from Monday 23rd April 2007

I blew it!

This year, I'm afraid the marathon didn't go according to plan at all, basically down to the weather. It was hot - 21 degrees evidently.

We went from Purley Railway station to catch the 7:38AM train into London Bridge, and from there I caught a train to Maze Hill to get to the red start with plenty of time to spare.

I saw the ARC staff and had my picture taken, got changed into my running clothing, took two Ibuprofen tablets, and put my baggage on the baggage bus. I had a pee against a tree, and then got into my zone, which was zone 3.

I started at the front of zone 3, and when the gun went off, it only took less than a minute to cross the start line and get underway.

I missed the first mile marker, so I only knew what pace I was doing having completed 2 miles, and from what I remember I was a shade under 7 minutes and 20 second miling, and I stayed at approximately this pace for at least the first 10Km, which I finished in 45 minutes.

Just after the Cutty Sark, I saw my family for the first time. As we headed towards tower bridge, I could feel that I was probably not going to sustain such a pace, and so I started slowing up.

I was still moving well at half marathon distance, but started to feel tired, and when I saw the family for the second time at approx 15 miles, I was starting to feel quite fatigued.

I was rather demoralised at about 17 miles, and walked for a short distance, before carrying on running, and this was the only walking I did.

A Reigate Priory runner passed me, although he was in difficulty, and I overtook him a few miles later. I saw the family again at 20 miles, and they said that I looked quite good at 15 and at 20 miles, but that was not how it felt.

I tried to drink regularly around the course, but did not take much drink on each time, so a few gulps at each Vittel water and Lucazade energy drinks station. This was a mistake. I should have drunk far more, as I found out.

I kept running on slowly, fatigued as I was, and a Reigate Priory runner passed me by, and we exchanged a few words.

I think that at about 24 miles I started getting pins and needles in my arms, which was probably a danger signal, although I thought nothing of it as it happened to me last year.

Evidently I had a 40Km time posted on the internet of 3 hours 22 minutes, but I don't remember reaching the 40Km mark. 40Km is about 24.8 miles, so I couldn't have been far from 25 miles, with approximately a mile and a quarter to go. I remember running along, rather fatigued, and the next thing I knew, I was lying on a bed in a St. John's Ambulance hut by the side of the route. I don't remember what happened at all between running and the hut. I suppose I must of passed out and hit the deck, but I don't have any bruises to prove it, so it's a bit of a mystery.

They were worried about my blood pressure, and informed me that I was going to be taken to St. Thomas's Hospital in an ambulance. They took my blood pressure again, and one of the staff turned to the other and said "it's dropping". This didn't sound too good. A Police lady phoned my daughters phone to talk to my wife to inform her of what was happening - the family were at the end of the route waiting for me by this time. They gave me oxygen, and asked me to rest my head right back to help with the blood pressure. While waiting, I also manage to consume some water too.

Eventually the ambulance came, and I was helped onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. We were supposed to take another runner with us who was going to sit in the ambulance, but I think that he was immobile, so we set off to the hospital. It didn't take long for me to be in the accident and emergency ward, and hooked up to the apparatus with sensors on my chest and a thermometer (I won't say where that was placed), given a drip and had a blood test performed. The family arrived shortly after I did - the hospital is not far from the end of the marathon route. After a time Sarah went to get my bag off the baggage bus at the end of the marathon route. I was given more oxygen.

I looked at my watch, and thought that if they discharged me soon, then I'd be able to get back on course and finish the marathon, but this was just not going to happen.

Within an hour or so, I was moved into another place in the hospital to be observed, and eventually was discharged from the hospital at about 10PM.

I think that I passed out during the marathon because of the heat and dehydration, although it probably didn't help that I'd pushed myself so much to get to that point in the marathon. I do naturally have low blood pressure, and also am on medication which effects blood pressure and the ability of the body to control temperature. I am going to seek medical advice before I decide whether to run it next year.

I went to work today, I felt fine - just tired, some tired muscles and some toe nails dropping off.

A rather disappointing one this year then all in all.

I'm not sure, but I think my times were 1st 10Km 45 minutes, 2nd 10Km 48 minutes, 3rd 10Km 54 minutes, 4th 10Km 55 minutes, half marathon 1:38.

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