London Marathon 2019, Sunday, April 28, 2019

Emma Thompson

Back in 2009, with a few Great North Runs under by belt, I thought I might fancy London one day. I think it was still 5 refusals, then you get a place back then, so I threw my name in the ballot with a long-term plan. Surprisingly I got a place first time! But it wasn’t to be, and I had to defer a year. By April 2011 I had a 2-month-old baby, so marathon plans were shelved for a long time…

I planned that once both kids were at school, I would run a marathon and I really wanted this to be London. A chance conversation with Allan shortly after joining striders alerted me to the Championship route of entry which would involve a half marathon PB. Brass Monkey 2018 was the goal race. Training went up to a regular 25 miles per week and I achieved my goal last January.

Later in the year I asked Allan if he give could me some marathon training advice and his support and guidance has been invaluable. I worried about how I would stick to a plan and how on earth was I going to train 6 days/up to 50 miles a week? Where there’s a will, there’s a way and I thoroughly enjoyed all the training, even the 5am runs! Hip niggles early on also led to some great advice from Neil at Platinum and I enrolled on their Sports Fit classes, sacrificing one run a week for some much needed strength and conditioning, meaning I reached the start line ready to go!

My sister, Laura, also got a place for London. As race day approached, we decided we had the same goal times in mind and were definitely going to run together on the day for as long as it worked. We both had a dream of finishing together hand in hand, but at the end of the day, if one of us was fading, we were both driven to get the best time possible, so we would split up.

My husband, children and parents all came to London. The Saturday before was not the most relaxing – we opted for a boat tour, so I could spend some time off my feet, but our well-planned pasta tea was very delayed with grumpy kids… (and grown-ups!!).

Our travel to the start was also stressful – the first 2 trains to the start were packed and we misjudged our place on the platform. 3rd time lucky we were on our way to the start and the atmosphere was great, chatting with all sorts of different runners.

We finally found the Championship entry changing area and were thrilled to see the short portaloo queues (to be honest, when Allan mentioned Championship entry and their own start area with their own toilets, that sold it!!).  Feeling a little out of place (we snuck in just a minute or two under the qualifying time) we got ourselves ready.

The walk to the start just behind the elite men really gave us goosebumps. Before we knew it, we were off! Don’t go off too fast, don’t off too fast, don’t go off too fast. Laura works in miles, kilometres for me. This meant we had even more frequent pace checks. We worked together reigning each other back.

It felt very comfortable until 20 miles. We smiled, we chatted, we laughed – even a spectator commented as we went past “they’re loving it”. Shouts from our cousin (unexpected), Laura’s friend, our parents, and Lesley and Phil really kept us buzzing. The noise on the course in places was unbelievable. We had to shout to talk to each other! Michael had mentioned 17-20 miles as being really tough – we felt smug when we reached 20 and felt so good, our pace started to quicken. Laura asked after a couple of km if we could keep it up “I don’t know” was my unhelpful response.

Around 23 miles it started to hurt. Laura declined my first suggestion she should leave me – she thought I might get through it, although she noticed the chat had stopped. Around 24.5 miles I said again for her to go on – this time she did. I hung about 10 metres behind her for a few hundred metres then put my head down and just focused on keeping going. I was soooooo tempted to walk, but knew my legs wouldn’t get going again. My pace slowed but only to our original pace plan when I did check – even watch checks pretty much stopped as I just focused on keeping going.

I was disappointed not to see my husband and kids at 25 miles – I really needed a pick up at that time, especially my little boy with his “GO Mrs Thompson” sign (why so formal I don’t know!!). It was also a mistake not to have my last gel as planned before this, in retrospect I needed that energy.

The last kilometre was LONG. When I finally turned the last corner, I did manage to pick the pace up. Our goal time had got quicker during our training as we got stronger. We both wanted to finish under 3:15 and our little dream had been to finish together in 3:12. Laura got over the line in 3:11:56 and had to wait until 3:12:58 to see me finish.The pain in my legs hit pretty quick and I was a bit of a sight walking to meet Andy and the kids!

London was AMAZING. So happy to have done it, especially with my amazing sister by my side for 24.5 miles of it! Really pleased with my time and the pacing early on was hugely beneficial as, even with slowing down in the last stages, I was still overtaking lots of people. My first negative split! Now to plan the next one….

pos (Overall)pos (Gender)pos (Category)NamebibCatHalfFinish
1KIPCHOGE Eliud (KEN)118-3902:02:37
1KOSGEI Brigid (KEN)10518-3902:18:20
677663133Littlewood Michael (GBR)193340-4401:21:2702:44:21
691676138Mason Michael (GBR)3046640-4401:20:4002:44:35
3692354251Thompson Emma (GBR)84218-3901:37:2203:12:58
17409124572268Shearsmith Chris (GBR)4985340-4401:59:2804:10:14
1891655001018Search Jenny (GBR)2452940-4402:05:2004:15:52
1937956692959Boal Rachel (GBR)1409018-3902:01:1504:17:41
208036229549Rankin Sarah (GBR)339850-5402:11:0404:23:22
2222268131212Rudkin Jill (GBR)2452840-4402:09:4804:28:18
24165164912929Brannan Lee (GBR)2452740-4402:09:1704:35:45
32938119842061Wood Fiona (GBR)1063740-4402:32:5405:14:26
340341258285Farnsworth Christine (GBR)3366665-6902:26:2905:20:47
37613146002451Littlewood Wendy (GBR)2768040-4402:34:3605:46:51
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