Posted by: Caroline Thorpe26/04/2010
See what I said about having to run another one if I ran over 4 hours in yesterday’s London marathon? I take it all back.
Despite finishing in 4:08, four whole minutes slower than my previous marathon time, I was in no doubt as I crossed the finish line: never again.
But what an experience! The first 16 miles of my race went to plan – sort of. The idea was to get time in the bank by starting out at 3:45 pace. Only I found myself running 8.2 minute miles – 3:40 pace - and feeling confident that I would still cross the line under 4 hours despite inevitably slowing in the second half.
It was on the Isle of Dogs that it hit me: I’d failed to respect the distance and gone out way too fast. My thighs were beginning to burn, and I started to slow. By mile 20 – the home strait – I was convinced I couldn’t finish. I had plenty of puff, but by now my thighs were on fire. My legs just didn’t want to move. I started walking here and there before pushing off again. I knew now that my goal was probably out of reach, but there was a pay off: I was soaking in every last drop of the atmosphere.
From the little kids putting their hands out for high-fives from the runners, the spectators urging me on with offers of jelly beans, to the fellow runner who heard my family calling my name and pointed me in their direction when I’d given up hope of seeing them – this was an experience to cherish.
In my darkest moments, where walking the rest of the course or dropping out seemed the only option, two things kept me going: running for Hact and (pure selfishness) the promise of a finisher’s medal. There was no way I was going to miss out on that badboy. And how I grinned when I finally had it round my neck!
I certainly don’t regret the all or nothing approach. I gave it everything I had and I learned that 26.2 miles is a distance which takes no prisoners. It’s a lesson I’d bear in mind if I ever ran another one. Which, of course, I won’t.
Check out Home Run later this week for Leonie’s marathon experience, and see Friday’s Inside Housing for a full run-down of Team Hact’s times.
Leonie’s run rate
Miles since 1 Jan: 402.2
Caroline’s run rate
Miles since 1 Jan: 431.2
Money they’ve raised for Hact so far: £3,276.20 – and it’s not too late to donate
From Home run
Tracking the progress of Inside Housing staff and others running the London Marathon for the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust