Jeff Horseman on his London 2010 experience


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Well, as I write this The London Marathon seems a very distant memory to me now, but a good memory. After gaining the Club entry I decided to follow a Sub 3 hour training plan and so get a "good for age" place for 2011.
The last time I ran London was in 2006, in a time of 3:01 so I knew that I had some work to do and have to say that I had my doubts that I could do it!

I started training in earnest after Christmas and had got to an average of 50 miles a week by the beginning of March, I had gained good times in the Broadstone quarter, Blackmoor Vale Half and the Lychett 10. After the Lychett Race I picked up a knee injury that not only stopped me from running the March Hare 20 but sidelined me completely !
At this stage I thought it was unlikely that I would make the start line in London let alone go sub 3. I then made the decision that I would give myself two weeks total rest with no running or cycling and then see how the knee was, all the time thinking that London was only five weeks away!

After a couple of slow recovery runs at Tarrant Rushton Airfield I continued to up my mileage again with only very minor discomfort to the knee until I reached nearly Marathon distance, this left me with very little time to taper. In the week leading up to the Marathon I ran only 10 miles and treated myself to a Sports Massage from Dave Holmes who works in Leigh Road Wimborne, and tried Carbo loading for the first time. After collecting my race number from the Marathon Expo on the Thursday I just concentrated on keeping myself healthy for Sunday.

I had decided to stay in London for the week end so on Saturday I made my way up to the Days Hotel at Waterloo. This turned out to be a good choice as they provided an excellent Pasta meal on Saturday evening and served breakfast from 6 am on the morning of the race.
My Sister was also running so we made our way together to the Blue start at Blackheath where the usual big occasion nerves sent us straight to the toilet blocks!

Throughout the week the long range weather forecast had been forecasting the warmest Marathon on record and it was with great relief that they were true to form and got it wrong again !!
My sister and I gave our baggage to the waiting lorries and wished each other good luck before making our way to our respective start pens, nerves were replaced by adrenaline and the need to get going, Richard Branson the head of the Main sponsors Virgin pressed the start button and we were off with just 26.2 miles to go to the finish at the Mall.

I started with the Runners World 7 minute miling pace makers and for the first 2-3 miles kept to this face and saw the familiar face of Adrian Mead in the same pack. When the red and blue starts merged I upped my pace to go under 7 minute milling and felt in control and relaxed. I was following a program of drinking little and often with carbo gels at 20 - 25 minute intervals. All was going well until just after the 20 mile mark where I felt the leg muscles tighten and my stride pattern change, this was the moment when it would have been so easy to slow down or walk like some of the runners around me but I made a big effort to keep going.

I felt almost finished as I came out of the Blackfriars Tunnel but somehow I found that with the roar of the crowd I was being hypnotically drawn towards the London Eye and Big Ben. My stop watch was showing 2:40 on it when I reached these iconic landmarks and it was at this time that I knew I was on for a sub 3 time and so perversely enjoyed the last mile and a bit to the Mall.
It was a great feeling to have achieved sub 3 and I would like to thank the Club for giving me the chance to have a go and giving me some great memories to boot.

My actual finish time was 2:50:16 with my sister finishing in 5:08:10 representing Dorset Doddlers. I did not feel too good for a couple of hours after the finish and found changing into my dry gear very very hard.

We had booked a second night at the Hotel so we walked back to stretch our legs. The warm shower was great and brought me back to life ready for the biggest mixed grill I had ever seen, and a chance to catch up on each others races. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were were pretty hard going with muscle soreness, but it got a lot easier as the week went on- I can't wait 'till next year ( I think anyway? !!)