Anyone who knows me well or has read this before will know London is now an annual pilgrimage and a highlight each year. This was my fourth consecutive year running the course and my tenth trip around the route. It was also my second attempt at running it in fancy dress aiming for a Guinness World Record as a the fastest cowboy to run a marathon. The weekend started with the train down and chatting to a couple of other marathon runners - one, Sarah, doing her first London marathon and second one ever for Victa. As London novices, I travelled with them to the Expo at ExCel to register - where I almost ended up on the wrong start (blue) as I presented my original starting number. (World Record attempts get transferred to the green start so they can interview you etc) Problem solved and I grabbed some details of autumnal marathons and lunch before heading off to watch Norwich City at Fulham - sadly to see us lose 1-0 and lurch nearer relegation! I hoped I didn't fair so badly the next day!
As ever, on the day, my nerves were to the max as I woke and left my friend, James', flat in south London and headed for the start. On route I chatted to other runners and even helped one put her timing chip on her shoe. I took a friend's advise (Alison) and followed a nice bum to the start (she had meant it for motivation as I ran but I saw no harm starting early!) - and was delighted on entering my start area to find four good friends from Beverley AC - Julie Donald (a World Record Holder as fastest book character as Where's Wenda in 2012), Jackie Hardman (To be thanked for helping me dress properly in my costume!), Debs Brant (Who'd flown back from Cyprus since moving out in January) and Sam Allen (Encouraging me as we talked time tactics and reasoned we should be together on course!). I registered with Guinness and we had a picture taken as over 70 of us were attempting various World Records (including another cowboy challenger) and four ladies with a Warhorse to carry! Having found a horse, I duly grabbed a picture, well aware if I rode it I'd be slower than running on this occasion!
There were plenty of cheers as David Weir and Shelley Woods were introduced and headed off on the Wheelchair races and for Richard Whitehead amongst others in various Paralympic marathon categories. However, the loudest cheer I've ever heard to date when they introduced the elite runners was reserved for the Men's race and Britain's Mo Farah. As a massive fan and having seen him win his 5,000 metre Olympic Gold first hand, I was gunning for him on his marathon debut. With the sun out, it was gonna be a warm day in shorts and T-shirt, let alone jeans, shirt, neckerchief, waistcoat, belt, hat and carrying a lasso! 10am arrived and Olympic rowing Gold medallists, Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins fired the starting gun of both the 34th London Marathon and my 34th marathon.
It all started promisingly - if not too well as I headed off with Sam encouraged by the instant responses to the cowboy outfit - "Woody" being a common shout out as much as Lucas! Mile three went a bit too quick as I ran it in 7:06 - and wondered why I felt a bit like I was pushing it! I knew I would regret it later but despite trying to slow my pace didn't seem to be able to - the crowds buoyed me along. I had lost sight of Sam - who had disappeared ahead of me. Once I had passed Cutty Sark I knew it was going to be a hard slog - I was getting very warm already and there was no sign of it cooling. I passed Sarah Montgomery somewhere around here - though I didn't realise, just as I was oblivious to David Jones and Tony Dickinson around mile 8-9. I also passed The Lowe family in this area - who got a picture as I ran away from them!
At Bermondsey I missed Sandra and Aunt Val - it turned out Sandra ran alongside me for two minutes screaming my name! Alas, with a lot of people cheering my name (from my top) I was oblivious! I had already lost pace considerably, had a loo stop due to gut ache and was feeling generally shattered! I do not normally feeling exhausted at this stage. I also have never walked in the first half before, so knew it was not going well! I had already given up the world record attempt by mile 10/11. Get to half way and I would get round was my thought. The Euphoria of Tower Bridge didn't lift me like normal which indicated this was just not gonna be my best run. I discovered at the end that the other cowboy was ahead of me so perhaps good to know I didn't push myself to find I never got the record anyhow!
I headed down the Highway and passed the group from the train journey down (I was walking at that point!) and also a group from home who were down cheering on runners from a number of clubs in Kingston upon Hull and Beverley - not sure they saw me either!. Julie and Jackie passed me as we headed round St Katherine's Docks into the Isle of Dogs - and despite Julie trying to keep me with her it wasn't happening. I also had another club member, Andy Grainger, pass me - apparently I appeared very fed up when we spoke! A runner then tried to head round with me from mile 16 - aiming for 4 hours on his maiden marathon. If only I had managed to keep his enthusiasm! Half a mile later we drifted apart. Chris Dunn - another of the Beverley AC runners headed past me at mile 17ish - he had a Hull City cape being a massive fan of the club who would then go on to make their first ever FA Cup Final that afternoon with a 5-3 victory over Sheffield Utd. On fact, a number of the fans were in the crowd with their flags. (and a few Norwich fans too!)
Registration at ExCel and a man running with a fridge on his back at the starting area.
Lucas runs tthrough Canary Wharf at 30km
Above - Alex and Liam - the former was unable to finish the race. Right - Liam who offered pain killers at mile 17-18
Lucas coming through mile 25 on the Embankment
Above - At the start with Debs, Jackie, Julie and Sam
Below - Lucas with ladies carrying a warhorse around the course