@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!


Best of The Best: Great Photo of Mo Farah Training

Ok so I probably mention Mo way to much on this blog but hey, he’s the greatest runner in the world right?!

Saw this photo he posted on Twitter last night which I thought was great. It really shows the hard work that even Olympic / World champions have to put in to succeed. This is a pic of Mo Farah at a training camp in Kenya, ready for his London Marathon attempt in April.

Mo Farah training

Mo Farah training

What Running Trainers/Shoes Do The Pro’s Like Mo Farah Wear?

4 Trainers For 4 Very Different Types of Run

If you’re one of the world’s greatest athletes like Mo Farah, then you’re going to wear the best trainers. There’s a reason why brands such as Nike fork out millions on sponsorships deals. An endorsement from a world class athlete is the best advertisement there is for your product. The sight of a World Championship or Olympic medalist training or racing in a pair of Nikes or Adidas gives no better evidence that a shoe does as better job than its competitors. Buy this trainer and you too could beat the marathon world record! Hmmm.

1. Track and Road Running
Mo Farah, World Champ and Olympic Double Winner Wears Nike Flyknit Lunar 2′s to train in.

Nike Flkyknit Lunar 2

Nike Flyknit Lunar 2

Mo Farah's Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 trainers

Mo recently tweeted a picture of himself training with the new Nike Flyknit Lunar 2′s.

They feature Nike’s Dynamic Flywire tech for extra comfy fit and the now well established ‘Lunarlon’ foam sole for cushioning. I have a pair of Nikes with Lunar foam and they are delish to run on. This Flyknit Lunar 2′s are out in the US tomorrow and hopefully the UK soon!



UPDATE: In the London Marathon 2014, Mo was wearing some Nike Flyknit Racers

Mo Farah Nike Flyknit Racers London Marathon

Mo Farah running the London Marathon 2014 in Nike Flyknit Racers

2. Trail Running
Ricky Lightfoot, World Trail Championship 2013 Winner Wears Salomon Speedcross 3′s and Salomon S-Lab Fellcross’s

Both of these shoes are purpose built for running fast over difficult terrain. Ricky hails from Cumbria in the UK, well known for it’s hills and climbs and as a pro trail runner he was most recently the winner of the World Championships in Wales in 2013. Sponsored by Salomon, he wears the Salomon Speedcross 3′s and the Fellcross.

Salomon Speedcross 3 and S-Lab Fellcross

Salomon Speedcross 3 and S-Lab Fellcross

Javier Gomez, Gold at the ITU World Triathlon Series 2013 – Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

A lot of people in the UK have heard of the Brownlee brothers after Alistair Brownlee won Gold at the London Olympics Triathlon event in 2012. The winner of last year’s series was Javier Gomez. He has worked directly with a company called Zoot to create the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 which he wears to race in. They are light and feature ‘Tri-dry’ technology for a quick dry out from wet feet.


4. Marathon Running Shoes
Haile Gabrselassie, Many, Many Titles – Adidas Adizero Adios

Adidas Adizero Adios trainers

Adidas Adizero Adios trainers










Haile Adidas Adios

Haile wearing the original Adidas Adios


Haile Gabrselassie is a legend of middle and long distance running. In 2008 aged 35, he broke HIS OWN world record at the Berlin Marathon

with a world record time of 2:03:59. He’s run 5k in 12:39 and 10k in 26:22 which, quite frankly is superhuman in my opinion!

So what shoes does he wear? Well he’s an Adidas sponsored athlete, seen recently promoting their ‘Boost’ trainers. However, when he broke the marathon world record, it was whilst wearing Adidas Adizero Adios. When Patrick Makau broke the word record in 2011, it was at the same Berlin Marathon and he was wearing…these trainers!

They look like racers but have the cushioning that some heel strikers prefer. Nice and light they won’t ruin your cadence and the ‘torsion bar’ through the middle of the sole makes for a smooth transition from landing to take off.

Training: The Track Session

And my first time running a mile…

Last night’s training was the weekly speed session at my local track. As is now standard it rained, although the weather gods did give me enough time to run a few laps to warm up before the heaven really opened! The warm up is really important for speed work to avoid pulling a muscle as well as just to make the most of the session. There’s no point in wasting the first few training circuits taking it easy! After a long and busy day at work I pretty much fell asleep whilst reading my son his bedtime story at 6pm,so finding myself on a running track an hour later, the warm up gave my mind and body to wake up call it needed!

The Session

400 x 800 x 1 mile followed by 400 x 800 x 1mile again. This was the first time I’ve ever run a mile and I’ve always been interested to see how fast I could run it. After 1200m of warm up, a 400m and and 800m though, my heart was already pounding so I didn’t expect much and did my first mile in 5:55 with my second being 6:15. The 400 metres I generally do in 1:10 and the 800′s in 2:35-40.

In related news, I saw Mo Farah share this photo on Twitter today of his speed work in Kenya! The bottom one is of his Sunday long run – see we all have to do them!

Mo Farah training in Kenya

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Running Workouts – 6 Core Training Exercises

I really need to practice what I preach when it comes to this as I very rarely give my core a workout.

The great Mo Farah has stressed the importance of core workouts and stated how regular workouts have improved his times. So if it works for Mo…

Here are six core training exercises (videos courtesy of the Guardian):

1. One Legged Deadlifts

2. Russian Twists

3. Pikes

4. Rotational Planks

5. Superman crunches

6. Leg Raises

There is more info on these on the Guardian website

Training a Runner

This blog is called ‘Training a Runner’ because I am already a runner – I just need to train to be a better one.

We only get one life and one body for the journey, so I thought why not push it and see just how fast a regular Joe can run. I’ve written my goals on the about page, more for myself to be able to refer back to them. I have to admit that after seeing the Purbeck Marathon being named as the No.1 marathon in the UK by Runner’s World, i’m pretty tempted. Starting in my hometown of Swanage and taking in the amazing scenery of the Isle of Purbeck, it’s one of my secret 2014 goals. I’m not saying I’ll definitely do it, but if the opportunity arises, well…

Mo FarahLets put things in context. The world record for 5k is 12:37, set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2004, with Mo Farah doing 5000 meters in 12:53. Mo runs 10k in 26:46 and the half marathon in 1:00:10. THESE ARE SUPER-HUMAN TIMES! Not achievable without out the right genetics, talent and intense training.

But the great thing about running is that although you race with lots of other people, and there is a winner, it’s just as much about individual achievements. I feel just as knackered at running 5k in 19 minutes as Mo does running it in 13, so the sense of effort and subsequent achievement is the same.


Last night’s training was 5 a side football, in torrential rain for an hour.

Tonight’s training is rain dependent so it will either be Fartleks at running club, or some hill resistance work, both for an hour.