@LondonMarathon 2014 – A Spectator’s Tale

The London Marathon

The London Marathon has been running since the year I was born in 1981. Each year it’s something that I flick the TV on to watch, leaving it on in the background as the race progresses from start to finish.

This year, I had the privilege of watching the race in London as my wife was running for charity. I say privilege as this is what it is – the chance to see 40,000 people putting their all in a single run, having trained for months previously, raising money for worthwhile causes and achieving their own personal goals.

Getting There

We left early on the Saturday, taking a coach up to London arranged by local running club, Poole Runners. An excellently organised affair; the coach dropped us off at our hotel (which was directly on the marathon route), took the runners to the start line on the Sunday morning and picked us up from the finish at the end.

So after a nice catch up with family at Jamie Oliver’s Piccadilly restaurant we took the underground back to our hotel, ready for the activities of the following day.

Marathon Day

Fletcher ready to cheer on mummy!

My wife (Jem) said goodbye at 7am, creeping out and down to the waiting coach in the early morning chill. My son and I on the other hand had a leisurely breakfast and watched the wheelchair and women’s races begin on TV, before heading downstairs and out into the marathon atmosphere. Stepping out of the doors we were hit with a wall of sound, from the Caribbean band playing outside the hotel, the thumping party music blaring from speakers around the corner and an endless line of supporters leaning over barriers to waiting for the first athletes to approach – all bathed in sunlight and blue skies.

Our spot really was great, allowing us to see the race pass us one way at 14 miles and coming back on the other side of the road at 21 miles.

My son (5 years old) was asking where Mo Farah was every 2 minutes and so we were both jumping excitedly when the Olympic and World double champion approached and sped past. And I mean sped. The guy ran past us faster than I would do 400 metres. He did the first 5km of the race in under 15 minutes and the first 10k in under 30m. Incredible!

An Amazing Achievement

The London Marathon website lets you track any athlete’s progress at every 5km, so it was to my phone that my eye’s kept glancing nervously to, to see how Jem was getting on. We were standing at about 22k so I watched her move from checkpoint to checkpoint until there she was, right in front of us waving away. When Jem passed us at 21 miles, she was STILL smiling and gave a little wave. Apparently it got tough just after that, but she finished in 3 hours 51 minutes. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING

When Mo came running back past us at 21 miles and I was a little surprised to see someone who does our local Parkrun follow swiftly behind – 8 minutes behind Mo! Steve Way was then the first ‘amateur’ to finish – amazing!

Ice-creams followed before finding our way to the coach for the trip home.

Entries open for the London Marathon 2015 on April 22nd and I may just enter….

In pictures:

Mo Farah running – look at that stride length!

Jem giving a wave and a smile!


London Marathon 2014 medal!


To Enter First Marathon…Or Not?

Time To Overcome My Marathon-a-Phobia

I have always sworn that I would never do a marathon. The number of hours of training it seems to take, the sheer distance of it and the worry of whether I could even FINISH a marathon have never seemed worth the worry. But the trouble is, I like a challenge! 5k, 10k, 10mile, half-marathon – check, check, check, check! The only distance left to claim is that fabled 26.2 miles. If truth be told, I’m actually a little scared of doing a marathon as it’s the only distance where participants seem more likely to run in to difficulties or worse. So I decided – TIME TO FACE MY FEAR!

My wife Jemma is doing the London Marathon in April and her training is going very well. She has a very supportive running club at Lytchett Manor Striders and they all help each other through the marathon training schedule.

Which marathon to run?

So what is a good marathon to run? I once tried to enter the London Marathon 5-6 years ago but was unsuccessful (luckily!) Various people I know have done the Dublin, Berlin, London, Brighton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth marathons so the choices seem to be endless.

However, I have stumbled across a relatively secret marathon. A hidden gem in the marathon calendar! Reading the reviews on Runner’s World it’s not too hilly, has a great atmosphere, is well organised and leads you through 26.2 miles of beautiful country lanes. You’re allowed to send your own drinks ahead to two water stations on the course, it’s limited to just 400 runners and, best of all, every finisher gets a beer at the end…


The North Dorset Village MarathonNorth Dorset Village Marathon

This is the one i’ve decided on! A nice relaxed run though countryside and 50 minutes from home – perfect. At £21 it’s also a fair price compared to many others, for example the Bournemouth Marathon which is £49.95.

So today I shall enter and etch the 4th May firmly in to my mind.



Was going to do a 10 mile run last night in preparation for this Sunday’s Blackmore Vale Half Marathon but I felt cream crackered after my 10k race the day before. They say it’s best to listen to your body and recovery is just as important as training so I left it. Plus it was freezing cold and raining outside and my trainers were still soaked from the previous day!


Tuesday night speed session with Poole A.C.