Graham Ellwood’s Report from the Hottest London Marathon on Record

Time to gather my thoughts after an amazing weekend at the London Marathon. I put a lot of training in to prepare for this event, over 900 miles for the year before the day itself. Wasn’t sure the speed was there, but my heart rates for any given pace were at an all time low, which gave me hope the sub 3 was on. Leading up to the last few days the forecast was not good, they were expecting record temperatures and suggesting you need to revise you goals down accordingly.

On the morning of the race, arriving at the start, I had a chat with the 3 hour pacer, a really friendly chap and then started chatting with a Scottish guy who said he was going to try and hang on the the 3 hour pacer and if he blew up then so be it.
So I quickly revised my sensible moderate strategy, and decided to follow the 3 hour pacer for a while to see how it felt. Off we went, and I felt great, following the pacer was really easy and my breathing was very light, it was risky in the heat but I decided to stick with it. The miles flew by, the only difficulty was negotiating the water stations which cost me time. The official mile markers were coming up well after the splits on my watch, with such a lot of people you can’t take the racing line and so it was constantly adding to the distance.
I hit the halfway point in 1:29:45, and remember thinking I felt better at this point than I did at Liverpool (where I ran negative splits), my legs still felt fresh. At mile 14 the green 3 hour pacer tripped over, looks like he was hurt pretty badly and was out of the race. Earlier in the race the red start and the green start 3 hour paces were close together, but the red pacer was no were to be seen at this point. So I carried on at the same pace. Just before mile 17 I found I had caught up with the red start 3 hour pacer and was closing in on him quite quickly. Another quick dive for a water station, but soon after I started to feel a but of cramp in my right calf, and that was the beginning of the end. I had to ease of a bit, I had drunk at every water station, but maybe not drunk enough still given the stifling heat.
It was just a matter of managing the slow down as the race went on. The first few miles I was still running low 7’s but the further I went the slower I got.
I have no regrets, going off slower would probably given me a better time, although given the heat I would guess most people slowed towards the end.
So I finished with 03:06:47, still 16th in my age category, but not what I trained so hard for.
I was chatting with the red start 3 hour pacer at the end, and he didn’t manage to do it in 3 hours, he was about 2:45 over, the heat had got him too!