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London Baby By John Chambers

London Baby! London Marathon 2019

Having deferred my 2018 entry following significant ligament damage to my left ankle 2 weeks prior to Ironman Wales in 2017, running was off the agenda for much of last year. Ironman Wales 2018 came and went with only 3 months of serious training as it took such a long time for my ankle to heel.

2019 brought about an increased volume and intensity of training, not just running but all 3 disciplines, but my running was becoming better than it had been for years now recovered. Early March saw a marathon PB in the heat at Barcelona so things were going well.

The OTCF team travelled down to London on the Friday (Craig, Gemma, Zoe, Aaron, Shawnie,  Glyn and myself) and we headed straight for the Expo to collect our race numbers (and for some freebies!). The Excel as big as it is was absolutely packed, buzzing in fact – all friendly faces and a number of other people who we knew also that we bumped into.

Unlike Barcelona, we managed to have a lazy day on the Saturday, chilling, food and hydration was the aim of the day. At this point, I was not that enthusiastic about the thought of running 26.2 miles the following day!

Race day – Sunday morning 0600, shower, tea, porridge and banana. On the tube to Greenwich Park around 0745, there was something in the atmosphere at this time of day that you knew was going to be special. Hoards of runners, old and young departing and walking to the start zones – I was in blue and the same pen as Gemma. Trying to keep warm in the breeze at this point was the main aim – Gemma did try to gain cover from a loosely fitting poncho of the guy in front but he was having none of it!

It was 10:14 by the time I crossed the start line, and unexpectedly, there were no hold ups due to congestion. In fact, I went through the first 5km a bit to quick so had to slow down. Being my first London Marathon, I was actually amazed at the volume of spectators all the way round the course, the support was immense and it is always good when you see a few people in the crown who have travelled all that way to support you also. I have a habit of not taking much in when I am running, I remember Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge but the rest was a bit of a blur – I was busy. Once I had settled into a good pace the miles just seem to fly by. The call of nature made me stop at mile 20 following which I found it difficult to get going again as my legs had seized up a bit. Run time on my watch, 3:27 – chip time 3:31. A bit disappointing I didn’t go under 3:30 but I ran a 17 minute PB in Barcelona and managed to knock another 3 minutes off at London so happy really.

A great experience to run with great friends. As usual, expert guidance and coaching from Steve Clark – next stop Ironman UK.

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