So, after the hype, excitement and euphoria of the 2015 London Marathon, where do we start???
Well let’s start back in good old Yorkshire, the day before all the excitement in our great capital.
Right here in our region, scaling the counties three highest peaks; Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough for what I believe (please correct me if I’m wrong!) to be the first time in a STAC vest – James Gray might have ran ‘only’ around 24miles, but with the gradients involved I think we can all wholeheartedly applaud his ‘marathon’ effort completing the Three Peaks Race.
James Gray braves wind, rain and snow to complete the gruelling Three Peaks Race in an impressive 4hours 20 minutes.
Moving our attention 200 miles south, we had a bumper turnout of St. Theresa’s runners for the Virgin Money London Marathon – by means of ballot, club ballot, good for age, deferral and of course charity; we had 15 runners taking part!
In no particular order; Phil Coop, Mark Hodgson, Glen Johnson, Shaun Loftus, Terry Midgley, Nathan Vaughan, Kevin Booth, Sam Hart, Paul McGreevy, John Robson, Ian Sheppard, Joanna Robinson, Antony Robinson, Nykie Dawe and Jude Jackson – Well done to all of you!
Team STAC – And Friends from Crossgates Harrier and Kippax Harriers
Team STAC Take 2!
More Team STAC – Nykie before she ‘buzzed off’ to her hotel
Not to forget of course the small army of friends and family who took part in the equally tiring task of supporting; it is you who complete the atmosphere and drive the runners to achieve what they do.
The day is of course full of stories; huge firsts, big PB’s and massive goals for next time, we have following some of those stories, from first time Marathoner Ian Sheppard, first time London Marathoner Glen Johnson and returning runner John Robson.
Firstly though, special mention to Terry Midgley, who at his second attempt has become a world record holder – the fastest marathon ran by anyone dressed as a life guard – congratulations Terry, we’re proud to have you as a team mate.
Terry on his way to a WORLD RECORD!
First Marathon Ever – Ian Sheppard
After a night of dithering about T-Shirts, it’s fair to say the nerves had definitely set in!
Woke up had breakfast and set off to the Start with Kev, Mags and Lu, we’d picked a place to stay quite near the start, so a 20 minute walk later and my “shortcut” we were at the wrong start!
No issues however due to the fantastic organisation of the event we quickly found the right start, with plenty of time to spare. Saw Nicki who’d managed to get a spot helping on a lorry, I suspect the free medal sold it for her! Wished fellow Stacies – Kev, Nathan (aka Smuf), Tony, Paul and Jo well, then it was time for the off.
Having decided to just run my own race I quickly found the 3:30 pacer and tried to stick with him for the first few miles, but after being overtaken by a Buxton water bottle I upped my game a little to try and keep a 7.50 pace, eventually catching back up with Mr Buxton.
The atmosphere along the course was electric, practically the entire course was surrounded by people cheering you on, playing inspiring music and just giving you that extra little push when you needed it, and the STAC team were no different. One thing that kept me sane in the early stages of the race was knowing I’d see the team at 7 and 17 miles.
I set off with the intention of doing 3:30 thinking if I can keep a 7.50 pace thinking I’d end up slowing down, and maybe achieving just below that time. But as the miles went on I just kept going, and by mile 23 I knew I knew a sub 3:25 was achievable, if only I could keep it going! Which I managed and finished with 3:24:44.
One bit of advice I will give, to anyone running a marathon however is have a chicken or protein heavy sarnie in your bag, and eat it as soon as you can once you finish! Otherwise making it to the pub might be a little tricky to say the least.
Met some at the Sherlock Homes pub after the race, some a little disappointed and some absolutely over the moon with their times, but no regret – 26.2 miles is a challenge, and we’d all completed it.
Ian With STAC team mate Kev Booth getting ready for the off
First Time at London Marathon – Glen Johnson
My London marathon experience began last year on Sunday May 25th when I snook in through the back door :).
I ran in the Liverpool marathon (my First) (just saying) and finished with a time of 3:02:26 which gave me the option to run in the London marathon, the one they were always banging on about, the one that everyone wants to run in, the greatest race in the land. I took it with a pinch of salt, I was flippant and truthfully, I wasn’t overly excited and thought nothing of it, “big deal, so what?!”….. Well….. it is a Big deal, it’s a very BIG deal-it’s MAHOOSIVE!!!
I didn’t just compete in the London marathon on Sunday, It consumed me, I felt it, I morphed into it, I became part of it. I was a part in an event that oozed energy, happiness, joy, and human spirit on every level, every corner and on every street. It was truly mind blowing, amazing and exhilarating. My race pace rarely caused me to be out of breath yet there were times when I simply could not catch my breath because it was taken through pure elation!
Of course I was never cold but goosebumps and crazy chills were common due to the rushes of energy from the masses of people that turned out in unison for one cause, to support us, the runners.
Amongst the masses were our very own familiar Staccies. Thank you for the support and your efforts to get down. Thank you for the lift you gave me on mile 7. It was very much appreciated and had an immense effect on me.
I believe that the crowds were key to the fact I did not blow my sub 3 as I had in Liverpool. I knew I was likely to wane and tire on the back 4.2 and I had set off with contingency. (too much?) Well, in the last 7.2k I passed 286 fellow runners and was only overtaken 17 times. My pace more or less stayed consistent and I bossed it. It felt like I rode on the wave of energy from the crowds, absorbed it, dug deep and it fuelled a very respectable finish.
St Theresa’s, thank you as a collective. What a wonderful club. Life for me is about doing and experiencing and I have just had the privilege of encountering a mammoth high, a memory to behold and my new marathon pb starts with a 2 thanks to you 🙂
Run happily lovely people, Glen.
P.s. Definitely, absolutely get your vest printed if you enter this race, I have never thanked so many people in 3 hours!
Glen arrived early at the Expo to write this motivational message, which became a focal point for STAC photo’s
The old hand – John Robson
The great thing about the London Marathon is that although it’s 200 miles from home and in one of the world’s major capital cities you never seem to be far from local running friends. Within 10 minutes of stepping off the train at Kings Cross on Saturday lunchtime I bumped into Tom Williams. After a brief chat, Sonia and I (with a throng of others) headed across town to the Expo to register. This has a buzz and atmosphere of it’s own and it’s hard to resist all the products on offer as the anticipation and excitement of race day builds. Not wanting to walk too far, we had a quick look around (and learnt that the new parkrun 250 t-shirts are going to be STAC green) before travelling to our hotel to chill out.
As a returning London Marathoner I knew that the tube and trains to the start get very busy on race morning. I was therefore up and breakfasted early before setting off to Blackheath before 8am. It was great to see Neil Holloway (totally by chance) at Charing Cross Station and having somebody to chat to on the journey eased the pre-race nerves. Getting out of Blackheath Station was very slow and after the 10 minute stroll (when we finally got out of the station itself) we were at the start zones and parted company, as Neil headed to the Blue Start, and I made my way to the Good For Age Start (where I found a load more local running mates and none other than our very own Glen Johnson). The GFA start was a new experience and to be honest, I thought it lacked a bit of atmosphere as it was away from the masses and elites (although on the plus side the toilet queues were much shorter).
In what seemed like no time the elites and Paula were being introduced, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing fully upright and the race was underway. It’s difficult to find words that do the atmosphere of London justice, needless to say it’s difficult not to run with a smile on your face. Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Big Ben, Birdcage, The Mall, and most of the bits in between are stacked with supporters going absolutely nuts – the noise is just unbelievable. To see and hear club mates in the crowds is uplifting but there are so many faces it’s impossible to spot everyone (sorry, I know I missed a lot of you).
The finish is incredible and crossing the line is a magical feeling every time, regardless of how many times you’ve done it over the years. Having crossed the line, it’s not quite “job done” though as the finish zone and bag collection must be a least another 500 metres long – so you’re straight into post race active recovery! I met up with Sonia in the Family Reunion area and (as usual) we quickly headed off to catch our train so that we could get home and see the boys. One final nugget of info (but shhhh, don’t tell everyone)…….there are showers available at Kings Cross Station, and although it costs £5 you get a towel and shower gel and don’t have to be “Marathon-Fresh” for the ride home!
When do entries for next open?
When the going gets tough… after the pain of 25 miles at 6.40/mile, John manages to still manages to look relaxed and perfectly composed