A fine way to spend a weekend in London.

Near-perfect running conditions, with bright sunshine and a gentle breeze. The spectators were present and noisy most of the way round. I had the dubious fortune of, at various points, running alongside a fairy, someone in a business suit, a Welshman called Nigel in a mankini (it said so on his backside), and a guy in a white sailor’s uniform. Mo Farah having passed through much earlier, the crowds were enjoying the fancy dress, and the noise from the sides of the road was incredible, overwhelming at times. The sailor was thereabouts for most of the way and I still have the cries of “Hello Sailor!” ringing in my ears. Funny for the first few hundred times only…

This was my fourth attempt at the distance, and it becomes more of a puzzle each time. How fast can I go if everything goes perfectly? Constant pace or plan for a fade? How on earth not to set off to fast when you’ve tapered, and then been stood in a pen for half an hour? When to switch from controlling the pace, to fighting to maintain it? Why am I doing this, and wouldn’t it be more fun to be stood behind those barriers shouting “Hello Sailor”?

Anyway, I set off too fast, then settled into a steady pace which slipped at around 19-21 miles, before knuckling down for the brutal closing stages. The last stretch along the wide streets of the embankment, past Big Ben, and down the Mall are epic, although I was a bit too focussed/gubbed to take much in.

In the end I missed my target of sub 2:50 by a minute and a half, but I’m delighted with a PB. It’s impossible to run the tangents in such a busy event, which adds a fair distance, and it’s not worth getting too bothered about the odd minute here or there. 

Disappointed that Chris and Ellie had to miss out, but two strong Westie performances from Iain Stewart and Graham Kelly. 

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