London Marathon – 28/4/19

On 28th April 2019, more than 40,000 participants took to the streets of London for the Virgin Money London Marathon. Cardigan Running Club was lucky enough to have three members taking part in this fantastic event. Stephen Williams recorded a time of 03:33:22, Domi Kimber finished with a time of 03:34:38, followed by Rachel Bailey in 03:58:17.

Other local runners took part and recorded the following times; Nerys Jones – 03:00:39, Shan James – 03:37:47, Catrin Thomas – 3:44:02, Meleri Ennis – 04:26:26

Race Report – Stephen

Virgin Money London Marathon 2019 

The journey began just before my first marathon in Snowdonia when the official provisional invitation came through the post. I was expecting to receive the unsuccessful letter, however I was over the moon when the acceptance form came through, especially when considering that over 400,000 people entered the ballot. 

Training for London started on January 1st and I decided to write a running plan which included a mixture of intervals/speed sessions, hill reps, club runs, club handicap runs, long runs, three races and not forgetting my dog runs. For once, I roughly stuck to the plan and by the time London came around I had banked 545 miles. The races prior to London included Crymych Team Pursuit (1min 42secs PB), Tregaron Ras Cors Caron (half marathon PB thanks to Seth) and Rhayader Round the Lakes 30km. These results proved that the training and process was going well. 

Fast forward to the end of April and it was time to get to London, and the anxiety started to kick in. From minute one, the organisation and arrangements of the lines of communication, the running expo (obviously, being a typical Cardi, no money was exchanged) and starting zone was second to none. No stone was left unturned by the organisers which made the whole process as easy and as stress-free as possible. 

Race Day 

My alarmed went off at 6am and off I went down to have my normal race day breakfast which always consists of 3 pieces of toast with peanut butter, jam and banana, and washed down with 2 cups of coffee. Once the food was consumed, off I went to the train station and over to Blackheath to the starting zone. Prior to the start I managed to bump in to Rachel (Cardigan RC), Shan James (Team Cemais), and Catrin Thomas (West Coast Tri) and we sat together until it was time to herd ourselves in to our starting pens/zones. I eventually crossed the start line at 10:27 and off I went with a target time of between 3:30 and 3:40, and decided to pace myself as close to 8minute/miles as possible for the 26.2 miles. The crowds of spectators from minute one was amazing, with so much encouragement being shown throughout the race. Some sections of the course felt like being in a party with some cracking music being played to encourage the runners. Some tactful dodging and weaving between running and water bottles was needed during the race but the crowds of runners wasn’t as bad as anticipated. According to the results page on the London Marathon website I overtook 8,530 runners and only 72 runners overtook me! Overall the run went to plan with my running pace ranging between 7:40min/mile and 8:24min/mile and I finished with a time of 3:33. At the half way mark I was on for 3:30 marathon, but with fatigue kicking in and an increase in the crowds in the final 4/5 miles, I just enjoyed the final moments and soaked up the atmosphere. After crossed the line and stopped, the pain started to kick in, with my back seizing up. However, a couple of pints later and a 20 minute walk back to the hotel ensured that this disappeared quickly. 

I would encourage anybody to enter the ballot to have the opportunity to run the London Marathon. Running in that kind of atmosphere. But saying that, nothing beats a tranquil run around Cardigan in the pissing rain, where the elevation on a 3 mile run is more than 26.2 miles around London!