London Marathon

Blood, Sweat and (nearly) Tears

Here it is. The distillation of 6 months of commitment through all the training. Of nearly 6 hours of focus on the day, refusing to give up. Of quite a lot of running.

On 17th April 2011 I ran what may well be the only marathon I ever run. I was amazed, amused and humbled by the people who I passed and who passed me.

  • The guy dressed up as a second world war fighter pilot (complete with pipe).
  • The two guys carrying a full size surfboard.
  • The 2 girls who span hulahoops for the entire distance (at a pace that I struggled to stay with).
  • The several Army and Firefighter guys in full kit
  • The guy in full Bomb Disposal kit (the real deal, complete with bombproof armour and helmet).
I salute you all. You all have a grit and determination that is just astonishing.
But as for my little adventure, well there were a few high points. Stopping on the course just before the finish line to see The Boy Wonder in the crowd, running back to give him a hug and seeing how excited he was is something I will never forget. 
So for now, I have my feet up, a bag of frozen peas strategically placed to reduce the pain and I’m looking forward to joining  FMA on holiday next week. No more running.
For now.

Your Mileage May Vary.

I am still running.

The distances are getting smaller as the taper begins, but it seems that the citizens of Leicester have heard that I am almost done now and have made a concerted effort to get out and interact with me as I complete my training. Although the mileages are considerably less than a few weeks ago, the comedy per mile ratio seems to be increasing exponentially.

First off last week was an elderly Chinese guy with an unfeasibly heavy looking load of shopping, heading in the same direction as me. I ran past him fairly early in my route, which was a straight run to a point and back. He gave me a gap-toothed smile as I went past and then had the bad grace to be far closer behind me when I turned around than he had any right to be. He still had the same smile, but I think I probably looked a good deal grumpier.

I think he secretly had a moped in the shopping bags. It’s the only reasonable explanation, other than me being dog-slow.

Also featuring last week was a lady out running with her dog. If you imagine Margot from The Good Life in Nike trainers and a bodywarmer you’ll be about right. The dog in question was a small terrier type affair on a retractable lead, so the situation had trouble written all over it. As we ran towards each other I tried to give them some space (mainly in an effort to avoid having to run with a dog attached to my trouser leg again).

Unfortunately, as we approached each other the dog spotted something of interest on my side of the path and made a beeline for it. The lead at this point was still set at about 2m radius. I was watching the 4-legged boobytrap like a hawk, trying to pick my line to avoid disaster when I heard Margot start to issue commands in her plummy, clipped, middle class voice;

“You’re on the wrong side. For goodness sake get on the correct side. You’ll trip us both over, you silly boy.”

As we continued towards each other I thought to myself that rather than having a conversation with the dog, maybe a shorter lead or some shorter instructions (“heel” for example) might be more expedient. I looked up at her and realised:

She was talking to me.

As we passed, I was laughing uncontrollably. I don’t think it helped the situation much, but some things are just too funny to keep a straight face, even when you’re knackered.

I suspect that I’ll have a few weeks off after 17th April, but then I’ll be running again. The laughter is just too much to give up.



Originally uploaded by geezer742uk

This is London Marathon Race Director David Bedford. A very well
respected and senior figure in one of the largest sporting events in
the world.

He is wearing a dress.
And high heels.
And a feather boa.
And a bin bag.

DB was on stage in front of around 200 people at the Meet The Experts
day and was hugely entertaining.

The previous couple of hours was filled with a stream of very
knowledgeable people giving advice on subjects ranging from nutrition
and training (fascinating), to Virgin’s corporate strategy behind
their website (yaaaawn), to what to expect on the day (yikes!). The
common threads through all of the above presentations were
professionalism, expertise and polished corporate slickness.

So, given David’s seniority and august status within the hierarchy of
the VLM, I was expecting great things.

I will share with you the nugget of advice, culled from DB’s many
years of marathon experience, that I enjoyed the most. And I quote:

“if you decide to shag yer missus wearing your finisher’s medal, make
sure you sling it behind your neck. It’s made of metal and you’ll
knock her bloody teeth out if you don’t.”

He even put on a medal and got down on hands and knees on the stage to
demonstrate. Just in case any of the audience were struggling to
visualise the concept.

I am writing this on a train hurtling northward and I am still
cackling to myself.

Thankyou David, you were worth the journey alone. In a world of
corporate-sponsored, on-message platitudes, you’ll do for me.