This was Geoffrey’s 10th Marathon and undoubtedly his most memorable. London is quite different from the other large marathons in that the major sponsor is Virgin Money Giving – meaning that it is so charity focused. Around 75% of the nearly 43,000 runners raise money for charity. In total, more than £1 billion has been raised since the first London Marathon event in 1981 and it is now the largest single one day fundraising event in the world. Over to Geoffrey …
What a fantastic event. The crowd support along the route was incredible and the thousands of volunteers made this an enjoyable experience for the athletes. The weather dawned perfectly – cool to start with temperatures rising only slowly during the run. The world No.1 Eliud Kipchoge was also running which was a good omen for me. His last event was Berlin the previous year where I also ran – and where I broke the 4hr mark for the first time.
I felt good right from the start but often this is due to the excess adrenaline. It can sometimes catch you out as you run too fast and then pay for it dearly over the last 10kms. But the training had gone really well so I wasn’t too concerned. There’s also a marathon mantra which you repeat to yourself time and time again during the run – Trust Your Training!
At the half-way point I still felt great but I was a little concerned that I was now more than 3 minutes under my goal time and I prayed that I hadn’t overdone it. At 25km the first signs of leg cramp hit me and I immediately cursed myself for ignoring my pre-race strategy. From this point to the end would all be about management now just to get me to the finish. I immediately slowed down by 20sec / km and concentrated on improving my hydration and nutrition intake.
The last 17km were probably the hardest I’ve ever run in my life. I hardly noticed the screaming crowds after that – the fantastic sights – Canary Wharf, Tower of London, Whitehall Gardens, London Eye, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace were just a blur. But the total concentration meant I was able to manage a steady consistent pace – and to cross the finish line in a new personal best, Boston Qualifying time.