On 23 April 2023, I ran the London Marathon. I always love running the London Marathon. It has a special place in my heart. It was my first ever marathon in 2011, and at this time, it was the only marathon on my radar. I ran for charity after trying to get a place for over 5 years and never being successful. I have entered the ballot for at least 18 years, and I have been successful once. However, this year, I ran the London Marathon for the 11th time (12 including the virtual 2020 event). I love running marathons and raising money for charity. This is the 4th time I have run London Marathon for charity. It is my 17th marathon of the year and 12th in April 2023 (so far). This brings my total for the 100 marathon club to 132 (115 marathons, 11 Ultra marathons, and 6 Ironman).
It was a little strange going to the London Marathon with no goal or purpose. I’ve previously ran in costume twice, ran for a PB twice, and paced 6 times. Today, none of the above applied. Having run 11 marathons already in April, I just needed to be sensible and get the job done. People would always ask for your goal, but this is the first time I have run since the Boston Marathon 6 days ago. My aim was to start running and see how it felt. My guess was it would be around 8 min miles. I wanted to aim for somewhere between 3:30 and 4 hours.
I’m not sure why, but I was in Green start. Traditionally, this was the start for celebrities, media places, and world record attempts. As a charity runner, I had expected to start in Red Start. I arrived early as I always do, so there were no queues for the toilet. This meant I had a while to wait, but I put my foil blanket on the floor and laid down for an hour. When I got up again, the park was full of runners, with toilet queues that were far too long.
I started at about 10:05, next to the 3 hour pacer. My natural pace was around 7:30, which I knew I wouldn’t sustain, but I didn’t care, to be honest. I just ran to feel and for enjoyment. I kept in mind staying below an 8 min mile for as long as possible. I managed to get to around 16 or 17 miles before my average pace went over 8 min miles, which would be a 3:30 finish. At this time, I thought a 3:45 would be achievable, but I thought it would be close. If I maintained the pace I was running, I would finish in around 3:40, but I was allowing myself to slow further.
But I just kept running. It wasn’t my fastest. I could have pushed a little harder in places, and sometimes, I had to concentrate to stop myself just daydreaming and slowing. But I had a good, comfortable run. Despite it raining for most of the time and it being particularly cold, the crowd support was still excellent. There were places that would have definitely been busier if it was sunny, but there were people cheering consistently throughout. I put the name on my top the night before the race, and this was the best thing I could have done. I usually get a few people calling my name because they recognise me, but today, everyone called out my name. A nice little boost.
Although I slowed and at times questioned life choices, there were no points that I particularly struggled with. I love easing off a little to allow yourself to feel good at the end because it makes a huge difference. Rather than being miserable and struggling to stand, I was able to walk pretty casually as soon as I finished.
My wife and family always usually come to the same spot with about 1km left to cheer me on. There was a good chance they wouldn’t come today if it was too wet and I wouldn’t want them to. So, as I hit Big Ben and worked my way to St James Park, I was looking out for them. I had almost given up when I saw my family and ran over for a few high fives. It is always great to see my family on course.
After seeing my family, there were 800 metres to go. I didn’t try to race the last bit. What’s the point unless you are on for a PB. It was clear at this point that I was going to get a sub 3:40, which was more than I expected and my fastest marathon of the month.
I finished with a smile. My official time is 3:48:42. I was cold when I finished but I didn’t want to put my warm clothes on until I could change out of my wet clothes.
We had booked a table in Pizza Express, so we walked via the Cancer Research meeting point so I could get changed and have a nice massage. My calves have been really tight, so it was nice to have these worked on a little bit.
We then made our way to Pizza Express and had a lively meal and a few beers. Great way to end the day.
If you ran today, let me know how you got on?
4 thoughts on “London Marathon 2023”
I thought I saw you! I was at mile 15 as usual but it was actually really busy there and I was on my own so kept getting buffeted back by groups of people waiting for their person. I did see my main friend I was supporting for a hug and about half of the other people I was there for, and got sopping wet, but all good. Well done!
Thank you for being there, it wasn’t a kind day for spectators