Thanet Roadrunners AC do the London Marathon 2021
As is now a tradition, given how iconic the London Marathon is, we like to do a bit of a roundup to showcase some of our runners fantastic achievements and highlights of this years event.
We have tried to catch up with as many of our TRACies on this as possible which includes first timers, age group qualifiers, ballot entrants and several virtual London marathon runners. However, this year we will be starting with the alternative London Marathon which takes place at midnight on the day of the marathon and runs the route in reverse!
Oliver Northup & John Hunt
It’s 2am I’m standing in Trafalgar Square with about 100 other runners (and John hunt) and we are about to run the London marathon in reverse. Why? Well I didn’t get an entry into the real thing so why not. I’ve promised Chris I will keep this short so I will gloss over most of the next 5hrs but it was pretty much as one would expect – Lots of drunks, traffic,people asking what the hell we are doing etc. The run itselfwas pretty uneventful except for the bit where I stacked it and took John over with me. If you want to do London but are unsuccessful in the ballot I highly recommend it.
From the moment my family dropped me off at Eltham train station to the blue wave start line, I was chatting & sharing stories with other runners. I loved this & missed it so much as I hadn’t been in an event since a half in April 2019. I made myself a bracelet with the splits on I needed to get a 4:45 finish. I felt good and was enjoying all the crowds, & I was a minute ahead of my bracelet time. Then at 15k I felt everything changed for me. I couldn’t believe it was feeling so hard, so early. I remember running over Tower Bridge hoping my family wasn’t there as I felt so terrible, but once I was around the corner and the earlier waves were running on the other side of the road, that gave me a lift watching them. I decided once I would get to 32k I would reassess, look at my actual time running & know how much time I would have left to creep in under 5hrs. I crossed the line at 5:03:09. London Marathon was just spectacular, my family was on tower Bridge when the elite runners went over & were buzzing when I met up with them at the finish. Everyone is so proud of me, I really feel their sincere admiration, but I hope I get the chance to go back and run stronger one day.
What better excuse to start the day at 515am than taking part in the London marathon! After a well planned journey in, thanks to Mr Spencer, we were walking into our starting areas mastering the art of toilet queuing. It was such a surreal experience watching all the pros starting ahead.
I would be lying if I said I stuck to my training pace. However, the continuous electric atmosphere just pushes you faster the entire way round. At 22 miles I hit that wall, thanks to some cracking cheers and determination to beat my PB there was nothing better than crossing that line with other super happy runners.
Two days later I’m still stiff, unable to climb stairs, but you know what, I’ll do it all again. It was an amazing experience and would recommend anyone thinking of running it.
A big thanks to Thanet Roadrunners AC for this club place, it was my number one run.
The day didn’t have the best start, road closures on the way up and then not able to find the yellow start zone! Once in the start zone, trainers were changed and warm layers removed (we were all looking glam in old clothes!) started about 9.30 and the only thing in my mind was wanting to achieve a sub 4 in London!
Run started well, a little faster than intended, hazard of starting in the same start as the ‘speedy’ guys. Settled into a rhythm and just needed to keep it up. The crowds were a bit thinner in places than previous years but none the less they were fantastic at keeping you going. Saw my own supporters in Narrow Street and again at about mile 21 when a boost was certainly welcome…..apparently Jon asked me to marry him and I just ran off (we’ve been married 33yrs!) Caused a laugh in the crowd!
Last bit up The Mall and my wish had been granted I was going to achieve under 4hrs, in fact I got a PB bettering my previous by 11 minutes! An extra bonus was receiving an Abbott World Marathon Majors Medal. To say I was chuffed was an understatement!! Fab day.
After several years of receiving the ‘you’ve not got in’ letters from the London Marathon I made it in the ballot this year and set off on an early morning trip to Greenwich on Sunday morning. It was a funny coincidence to bump into Spencer and Andrew as I walked out of the station and good to have a chat as we walked up to our respective start areas.
It was a chilly morning, perfect temperature for running in but certainly not for the wait at the start area and I’m glad I had a couple of layers of old clothes and a foil blanket to wrap around me.
This year’s wave start system seemed to work really well and meant that the initial start section of the race was a lot less congested than I’d heard about before, although there was quite a lot of dodging around people when the various red, blue and green routes merged together.
I’ve done a few city marathons before and thought that the support out on the courses for them was pretty good, but nothing can prepare you for London! There were a few spots (Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and the Embankment/Birdcage Walk especially) where you could feel the noise hitting you like a wall of sound, awesome and just the pick up needed. Strong recommendation for anyone planning to do London, get your name on both the front and back of your vest; I don’t know how many times I heard my name called out by complete strangers (thank you whoever you were, all those shout outs helped!).
It was great to see a few fellow TRAC runners and supporters out there on the course and to wave and say hi, again always good to get a little pick up during the race, everyone was looking strong when I saw them.
So what can I say about the course, well I guess we’ve all seen big chunks of it on the TV and the iconic spots all lived up to their reputation and it felt a real pleasure to be able to run through them with the crowds cheering me on. I have to admit that a sense of navigation is not necessarily my strongest point so for large chunks of the race I didn’t have a clue where I was until I saw one of the major landmarks…
The organisation and number of volunteers was incredible, it is mammoth, on a different scale to any of the other marathons that I have done before (dwarfing races like Brighton and Manchester) but it all seemed to work well from what I could see. Most importantly during the race all the water stations etc., were well marked just ahead of them so could position relatively easily. I never like to carry my own water and gels around during a race so I made use of the Lucozade stations during the race, I now don’t want to see a bottle of Lucozade or a Lucozade gel for a long time…
I’d love to say it all went perfectly but as anyone that has run a marathon knows, they are hard and even on a good race you’ll enter some dark places at times. For me, the first half was going really well and I felt strong and in control, but later on in the race it got tough. Even with the crowds cheering everyone on and lots of other runners to tag onto, there were still quite a few moments of pain and suffering, especially running into the wind for the last few miles. This was of course tempered by feeling awesome in the first half and a great feeling seeing family cheering me on around the 23 mile mark (I needed friendly faces at that point, I can assure you!). The last mile or so going down the Embankment and Birdcage Walk and then turning towards the Mall was incredible; the noise of the crowds pushing us all on and that feeling of triumph (and relief) at seeing the finish line and bit of a final push to get over the finish line. I was really pleased with my finish time, not quite as quick as I’d initially hoped for but I adjusted my expectations during the race and came back with a big smile and a sense of accomplishment.
Now with a couple of days of wobbly, sore legs to recover from I can start to think about what is next; of course the ballot for next year is now open…
My second live London marathon experience after going virtual last year. Great to start with my training partner and good friend Jo Holl this time. We were both a bit surprised to be in the yellow1 starting pen but pleased to get going early. I wanted to make the most of this race and really soak up the atmosphere.
My aim was to manage another sub 4 if possiblewithout stressing too much about it! We set off together and enjoyed the first 10 miles or so before I decided I wouldn’t be able to maintain Jo’s blistering pace and I waved her ahead. Tower bridge was a real highlight of the race as was the noise of the crowd and seeing friends and family along the route.
I had to dig very deep between miles 17 and 22 but knew that when I reached mile 22 and saw my daughter screaming at me I would do it! So happy to turn into the Mall and cross that finishing line in 3.55. Very happy also to receive the Abbott World Majors medal as well as this years VLM medal.
Richard Purton & Jo Jeffreys
There wasn’t as much pressure than going for a sub 3:30. The thought of being able to stop for the toilet or do a shoelace up without being worried about losing time. It was a long time to be on your feet though. Jo didn’t feel too well from around mile 10. It was a real effort for her but there was never a question we wouldn’t get it done.
The only thing I would say is that the crowds were brilliant even in the light of Covid and many stayed on the course for a long time to support the slower runners. I would give a particular mention to the crowds around the Isle of Dogs. Without the popular sights in that area they really do keep you going.
I’ve been wanting to run this incredible race for years and today wasn’t the day. I came down with a cold on Friday. I got to 10k I started to feel wheezing, backache, chest tighten up and the was pacing dropping. I made the decision to stop at mile 10 as I couldn’t breath and the cold weather didn’t help me out. I got the advise from the paramedics not to carry on as I was having an asthma attack.. I was lucky enough to the ventilator quickly… I will try again next year
Got the train up from Chatham with Andrew, bumped into Richard Allan they went of to red start, I started at blue start.Two miles in my head wasn’t in it and I just wanted to go home lol. I had a wine gum which picked me up till mile 11 then my ankle went!
I bumped into Andrew Strauss (Former England Cricketcaptain
I then got to Tower Bridge which is my favourite part of London Marathon. I managed to keep it together until mile 22 from then onwards I was in bits from pain from my ankle, butmanaged to keep it together and finish my 9th London Marathon in 4.19 so was pleased to get in done.
For me the London Marathon was all about sub 3hours. I had PB’s from other Marathons starting with a 2, but London owed me this after a few attempts before had gone just slightly over.
Perfect conditions on the day, I kept to my pacing carefully apart from some showboating at Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge by halfway just under 1:28, things were going well. London often gives bad GPS and it was important to use the mile markers accurately, some say mile 20 is known as the start of the race and it wasn’t going to disappoint. Luckily this time I had the whipper flies shoes on to start getting my own back on the few hundred runners that had been overtaking me.
I had to be disciplined towards the end (the muddy bit) knowing that I would achieve the goal and gambling more could end in failure, however the many banners showing 1K, 800m to go etc gave me a fast finish, arms aloft to 2 hours 57mins 34secs a 26.2 PB. Some spare time for autumnal sun bathing.
Thanks to my club colleagues for the training to helping me achieve my goal.
David finished the marathon in a fantastic time of 3:33:34 and with it also the title of AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Champion (75-79). This win also puts David 4th on the World Rankings for his age group. More on this here: https://
Following o from the success of last years’ Virtual London Marathon, it also made a return this year along side the main event. Plenty of our TRACies got involved again this year and ran the 26.2 miles locally.
Three weeks after Brighton Marathon I wanted to test my fitness and participate in the London Virtual Marathon. I found the atmosphere in Brighton quite overwhelming so this time, I wanted to just do my own thing without any pressure.
I started in Herne Bay just after 6am. It was still dark and a little wet but thankfully the wind had dropped from night before. Shortly after 3 miles I was joined by Pete Heath who rode his bike alongside me. We followed the coastal path to Reculver and then continued along the Northern Sea Wall towards Minis Bay. Pete supplied me with water and snacks along with funny stories from his days and trips away with Thanet Roadrunners.
At about 15 miles I had a niggly pain in my right leg and stopped to take some pain killers. I was a little frustrated but determined to continue. We walked a little before pressing on. There were a few more stops along the way but at 35km the finish was getting close and I gave Pete instructions not let me stop until the finish.
We reached North Foreland and we’d completed the marathon in 4:21!! A great team effort! It was inspiring to see so many runners taking part in the event and a great sense of community spirit.
Rebecca ran her first ever marathon in taking on the LondonVirtual Marathon and was really pleased with her time of 5:09.
Paul ran the virtual again this with a big thanks to Martin Palmer for getting him through it. This was essentially a training run for Paul as he was running the Manchester Marathon the next weekend!
It is difficult to not to get caught up with the London Marathon fever and so of course I was keen to not miss out and be a part of this special day in some way. Despite doing no where near the amount of training that that this distance deserves or requires, I managed to get out and get it done running the Thanet Roadrunners Marathon route with a little help from my friends. It was a great day with no pressure on times which gives you plenty of time to think about what really matters and appreciate the incredible coastline.