London and Barcelona Marathon Reports 2013


Becca Atkins’ report of the London Marathon 2013:

London 2013 was my third London marathon and 8th marathon in total. I was running for Parkinson’s UK as my Dad is currently battling against this horrid disease. It was wonderful running for a charity as they provided fantastic support en route and meant it was easy to spot my family at all the Parkinson’s supporters points. The high point was entering the post marathon reception to a standing ovation from all the volunteers. Turns out they do this for everyone but it made me feel special. Low point was huge blood blisters on my toes but it did mean I got a wheelchair from the finish line to bag collection!

I ran a time of 3:18 which I was really delighted with.
London is definitely my favourite marathon and I’d love to do it again next year!

Steve Rogers ran the London Marathon 2013:

Plenty of highlights at this year’s London Marathon, but blimey – after 15 miles it felt tough out there.  It was great to travel with and meet fellow Waverley Harriers at Blackheath, there must have been 7 or 8 of us in all. The spectators were superb all the way round, the immense support around Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge being extra special. After months of near or sub-zero training, a sunny warm day had been but a dream way back in February. No longer was the runner’s concern’ how to keep warm’ but ‘how to keep hydrated’. It was a delight to see my family at 24 miles for a quick embrace, my charity Shooting Star CHASE cheered me on when they spotted me, and I even managed a very uncool ‘street’ hand shake with Richard Branson at the end. Happy with 3.57 and managed to raise a pot of cash for my charity in tough times.

A special thanks to everyone at the club who supported and encouraged me in my final week recuperating from a silly but worrying knee injury – all those good vibes got me through it!

Jon Lawrence’s report of the London Marathon 2013:

This was my first time doing the Virgin London marathon having previously taken part in 5 marathons including Nottingham and Brighton. I had always wanted to run this event and managed to get a place running for Leukaemia and Lymphoma, who I have raised money for over the past few years.

The whole event was absolutely amazing and was a truly unforgettable event from start to finish. I would say that the build-up for me really kicked in when I attended the expo at the Excel centre on the Friday, where it was great to see fellow club mates Steve and Owen, as well as some runners I knew from other events. Steve and I managed to see Kipsang, Mutai and Makau all on stage together being interviewed, the three fastest marathon runners in the world and this was inspiring. Steve was going to see whether they were suitable candidate to join Waverley harriers; however we both agreed that they probably weren’t cut out for one of the club Sunday off-road runs!! I left the expo with so much excitement about the event.

The actual day of the race was perfect; Steve and I took the train up to Waterloo and then went across to Blackheath where we met up with the fellow Waverley Harriers, Owen, Mike, Christine, and Kirsty. We all walked up together and had a team photo on Blackheath before I had to disappear to the red start zone, whilst the others headed for Blue, but not before bumping into Stefan!!

On the start line the buzz and anticipation was amazing and I love the way you always end up striking up a conversation with fellow runners, and the highlight was the way the incredible sound and noise, including the helicopters buzzing overheard, came to a complete halt for 30 seconds whilst we remembered Boston.

The race went off at 10am and I set out with the aim of making sure I enjoyed the event and not beat myself up over having to finish in a certain time. As runners I always feel we attach too much meaning and importance to time and often it is at the expense of enjoying the event. The whole way round the crowds were incredible and it felt like one big carnival event with the size of the crowds absolutely staggering. My highlights of the race were:

1) Running through Greenwich and the noise of the crowd as you turned and ran past the Cutty Sark

2) Tower bridge – the noise and colour of it

3) The pubs on route all seemed to be packed with spectators and all seemed to have DJ’s and music and provided a great atmosphere

4) The drummers under the underpass around mile 6

5) The noise of Canary Wharf

6) The Leukaemia and Lymphoma cheerpoint at mile 23, quite moving the noise they make when they see that yellow shirt

7) Seeing my family at mile 25. I made sure that I stopped and gave them all a hug and a kiss

8) Turning into the mall and the noise and sheer exhilaration of knowing you are nearly finished

9) The amount of people who cheer you on by name when they see your name written on the shirt

10) Getting that medal!!

There was only one low point for me and that was after 18 miles when I was still holding a great pace that I suddenly realised how de-hydrated I was and started to suffer. I had kept to my plan with gels that I had trained with, but I should have taken more water onboard earlier. It was at that point that I reminded myself that I needed

to focus on enjoying the event and not beat myself up about falling behind my pace. The last 8 miles were a struggle running wise but without doubt the crowds help you through.

Looking back at the event I still think it was the most unforgettable day running wise and I loved the event; I want to do it every year now!! My finish time was 3hour 45, which was slower than I ran the previous year at Brighton where I managed 3hrs 33, but safe to say that I did enjoy the day so much. Afterwards when analysing the run itself in terms of performance I have made the following pointers for next time:

1) Drink more water earlier and at regular intervals even if you don’t feel you need it

2) Make time in my training next time for Sarah’s track sessions as without doubt I missed them this year, and that session each week definitely makes the difference.

3) The marathon is without doubt for me a difficult distance to master, which is why I love it. The miles you do in training mean you get to 18 to 22 miles feeling how you did in training but to crack those final 4 is massive.

I loved the experience of training and sharing the day with fellow club mates and it certainly helped make the whole experience and journey amazing.

Bring on next year!!

Owen Kimber was at London Marathon 2013:

Steve says: “Owen was generous club chauffeur for London 2013, many of the Harriers traveled up with him to Waterloo. After the race he was quoted as saying ‘Never again!’ yet a few days later he has entered the ballot for London 2014. Marathons… they can mess you up!”.

J-P Pritchard’s report of the Barcelona Marathon 2013:

When it came to the Barcelona marathon I decided to play it safe and tone the pace down a notch from what I’d originally planned for.  It was 16/17C on the day and there were more hills than in Paris and although there were fewer runners the route got quite narrow in places with some sharp bends.  At 10k I was upended thanks to a trip from behind which left a gash in my hand that gave me something else to think about for the next 30k.  Two long out and back sections were a hard grind and the final uphill stretch to the finish was rich with expletives but I crossed the line in 3hrs53.

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