The legend of VLM, where did a year go?

The Virgin London Marathon, a crazy British institution more bonkers than any other Abbott major marathon. Can it be a year since I ran it?

I had my spot booked on the sofa from 8.30am, coffee and chocolate twists served by the hubster. A real TV event, a planned and full on couch potato session. The joys of the build up, the unbelievable inspirational stories, the runners arriving, the aerial views of the loo queues. Just me, lapping it all up and reminiscing, the rest of the fam busy being busy, leaving me to savour all the detail. Can you believe snow was forecast from an arctic blast…..yet the sun shone for a glorious marathon, who forecast the snow, Michael Fish ?

How many events do the worlds elite of a sport compete in the same field as the craziest exponents of the same sport? The Kenyan’s who laugh in the face of a 5 minute mile running with those who’ll be at it all day. A guy with a fridge on his back, a lighthouse, a post box, a 20 foot dinosaur, a guy in a bunny girl costume, 4 runners in a fire engine …..I could go on.

What amazing coverage for Ben and his 401 marathon challenge. If you aren’t following Ben and his epic challenge, you need to, he still has 165 marathons to go. The media went mad for Eddie Izzard for his 27 marathons in 27 days and indeed it was awesome, but 401…..come on media.

Who’s genius idea was it to get astronaut a Tim Peake to not only start the marathon but run it? I guess if you’re in orbit above London, it counts. Wish I could run with 70% of my body weight though.

The elite women were apparently slow when they dropped to 5.3 minute miles, to put that in perspective,two enthusiastic young boys couldn’t keep up with them as they bravely tried from the pavements of Greenwich. The terrible fall from the eventual winner will become a metaphor for getting back up again, how could you recover such speed after such a heavy tumble? I hope it secures her a Rio Olympic place. How does Kenya and Ethiopia choose 3 runners for their Olympic teams when the two countries take the top 10 places in most marathons. Don’t forget though, before you assume that race and genetics are clearly unbeatable, Paula Radcliffe is the unbeaten world marathon record holder and would have beaten this year’s winning time by a staggering 7 minutes.

The elite men’s winner made marathon running look a complete walk in the park, quite cross with himself that 7 seconds less would have been a world record. How does anyone make it look so easy?

The Scottish chaps did well to secure their team GB Rio marathon places, two brothers in fact….it’s like the famous triathlete Brownlee brothers all over again. Funnier though is the third place gone to an Eritrean who now trains in Glasgow and can now compete for team GB. Eritrea to Glasgow,  I bet that was a shock to the system!

This year’s tracking app made watching all the more exciting. I was stalking several NWR and HPP runners along the course. It took a while to register some of them off the start but great once the app worked. It made the whole event a multi screen extravaganza.

Did it whet my appetite for another mara? Never say never, I could be tempted.
I enjoyed all the coverage until 1.30 by which time I had to go out for a run, pondering of course some important questions my morning viewing fest had raised…

  • One London borough has purple wheelie bins, what goes in a purple bin and why does no one put them away?
  • In the amazing categories for various disabilities…there was ‘arm amputees or equivalent’….equivalent???
  • Does a guide runners marathon time count? If the blind runner got a record, does  it apply to the guide too?

To hear today that a runner died at mile 23 is sad and shocking, a fit young man as well. Was it an underlying condition as it frequently is, will we ever know. So sad when thousands older, fatter and less fit pushed themselves to the limit to complete the challenge of a lifetime.

If you didn’t watch it, you missed a real treat. If you ran it,I hope it’s a memory you’ll treasure for life. If you thought about running it, do it, it’s the best /worst thing you’ll ever do. The ballot is open soon, even beginners can be London ready by next year.

Categories: Ladies of a Certain Age Running (LCA), Race Reports

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