Registration with Julie and Debs
Marathon day and a 6.20am climb out of bed and not long after the mobile started with numerous texts of good luck ( to add to those arriving Saturday) – I cease to be amazed by the support from so many friends and family and Facebook was much the same. Breakfast and then train to the start – to meet Julie. I left my support duet – Sandra and Aunt Val, to make their way direct to Bermondsey. Julie and I donned our outfits to get official approval from Guinness World records 9also there at the start) and had our usual loo routines. We also found some other Beverley runners – including Zoe Dale whom ran half the Hull Marathon with me. This was my first time on the green start, where the celebs also commence. There were also many other record breaking attempts with us – including two people on stilts, a guy carrying a makeshift Blackpool Tower and someone as the fastest bride. My outfit as cowboy was made up of a long sleeved shirt, jeans, chaps and waistcoat, neckerchief, Stetson, lasso and belt to qualify for the Guinness World Record.
We started fine and were quickly getting lots of cheers in our costumes – albeit most people thought Julie was Where’s Wally not Wenda. The first 8 miles was as planned time wise and as we turned into the loop round Rotherhithe, I spotted friend, Jackie Lowe, who got a great snap of us. We also spotted a number of Beverley AC members, down supporting, shortly afterwards. On round into Bermondsey and, as planned, passed Sandra and Aunt Val. I also passed Ros, but whilst she saw me I didn’t see her!
Coming through mile 8-9 in Rotherhithe
For London 2012 I decided I needed to do something different to keep it “fresh”. This was my 8th appearance in the London Marathon and whilst it’s now far from ever being my best time, I still love the atmosphere of the event.
2012 therefore finally brought about an appearance in fancy dress as I ran as a Cowboy. But, not content with that alone, I was to attempt to be the World’s fastest Cowboy to run a Marathon – which means I need to break 4 hours. This is not unachievable normally over the 26.2 miles but I hadn’t broken 4 hours in London since 2006 – albeit 2009 I was 3 seconds over! I ran a trial run in the Hornsea 1/3rd Marathon on (appropriately) 1 April and ran at under 7:30 minutes per mile despite the extra weight/layering, but was getting rather hot! So I was hoping for a dry, overcast and cool day in London.
I registered on the Saturday – meeting up with fellow runners, Debs Brant (and family) and Julie Donald – Julie was joining me in the World record attempt by running as Where’s Wenda to aim for the fastest book character (female). No problems registering and we had pasta and had a look round. I also met friend, Chris Knight, (with wife Ros and son, Tristan) whom ran the Neolithic marathon when I did it in 2007 and was running as the Madhatter in his first London Marathon. Sadly I didn’t see him in person on the day as we were on different starts.
Finally I made the Embankment and found Sandra and A Val by Waterloo Bridge – who’d not seen me so good excuse to stop and have a final leg stretch before the final 1.5 miles to the finish. I ran my fastest section of the second half of the marathon in the last 2 kilometres – it seems to idea of a finish line appealed to me, despite my muscles screaming otherwise! With the World record out of sight, I finally sprinted to the line in 4:16:10 – only 3 mins slower than 2011, despite the extra layering. The good news was Julie had broken the Book character record and is now a Guinness World Record holder (3:39:49).
I instantly made a decision I will be back to try the same record in 2013 (subject to getting a place in the Marathon). Well done to Chris – in his Madhatter outfit he finished in 3:41. I managed to find A Val and Sandra, as well as friend, James, who’d come into watch (but not seen me) afterwards – thanks to them all and so many others for being out to support. Bring on 2013!
Below - with James, Aunt Val and Sandra at the finish
Aunt Val and Sandra at Bermondsey
Over Tower Bridge – with its amazing atmosphere – and though half way at 1:44 approx – but I’d started to loose ground on Julie and slowed from here. At mile 15 it was a loo break and stretch of my right leg due to the fact I could feel my hamstring pulling a bit. It seems I get through Halfway in London and it goes downhill! I couldn’t get going properly and the Isle of Dogs was a slower paced run as my muscles seemed to pull and I stopped to stretch a few times and twice left my legs would give ay when I restarted. I’d also had 3 stops to retie my outfit! I also saw two fellow Beverley runners pass me – Sam Allen and Ian Boardley – the latter dressed as Spiderman!
I picked up a little effort through Canary Wharf but a first aid stop for a quick massage of the offending hamstring (and now left shoulder) before carrying on into mile 20 and the return for the finish. I managed to run 1-2 miles a go from here but my pace was too slow and in honesty I’d realised at mile 18 the world record wasn’t going to happen. The weather had been warmer than forecast and I was hotter than normal with extra weight to carry. There is a reason we normally run in shorts and t-shirt!
Waterloo Bridge between mile 24 and 25
Having finished, but without a World record!
In my official finishers T-shirt