London Marathon 2016 - Nigel Key

I was not really looking forward to it this year. My right knee has not been right for a couple of months and my stride gets shorter the longer I run. I had a good osteopath session on Monday so that should help. I have been advised that this may be my last marathon due to my knee and runs will have to be shorter.

Have to avoid a spectacular collapse again this year, so start taking a carbo loading energy drink from Wednesday. Up to London on Friday evening and register on Saturday afternoon, not really interested in the exhibition if this is going to be my last marathon. A relaxing day but did not sleep well, as usual.

Up at 6.30 and set off from Ealing at 7.30. For the first time ( this is my 7th London marathon) I am at the Green Start so travel to Maze Hill. Arriving there I see really long loo queues and keep being told that the baggage buses leave at 9.20 – what a ridiculously early time, apparently they have to drive through the red start and cross the course. It is cold but the rain has stopped, so I decide to change into shorts but no gloves. Get my stuff to the baggage bus in time and join a loo queue. That takes so long that the start pens are nearly full and only 5 minutes to go. A funny sight was a fancy dress rhino at the back of the loo queue ( which would not fit into a portaloo) – next seen at half way.

Well I have not seen Jim but he must be near me somewhere. A bit of a funny start this one as you wander round a field then turn to the right just after starting. As usual people are pushing to get past. I intend taking it easy and chat to a few people of similar age to myself. We all agree that time does not matter we just want to get round and complete. So it goes ok and my pace is 8.30+. Plenty of people still going past me but I am happy with my pace. I see my family and supporters this year just before Tower Bridge and go through half way just under 2 hours. At this point we see the front runners going back the other way.

Back into the Isle of Dogs, the crowds here are good but I hate this part of the course. This is reflected in my times as I was doing around 9.15 mileing  and it suddenly drops to over 10 mins. Thankfully around 19/20 miles we come out of this and hit much bigger crowds as we hit the city. Try to keep a steady pace now but get a twinge in the right calf, caused by somebody running across in front of me for a drink. I recognise that as cramp. So now keep steady pace in a straight line and no speeding up because cramp will force me to walk. See family and supporters again around 23 miles, then somebody who has collapsed and we are guided round them.  I fear this was Capt David Seath. It takes forever to get to Big Ben but we are into the last mile. See another collapsed person being attended to before we get to Buck House. Steady round this bit and spot my helpers from last year. Over the finish line and almost knocked over by a fast finishing lady, later she tells me she did 3.59.59! I completed in 4.07.13 and am happy with this as I was expecting 4.30.

No need for the medical tent, mind you I was chatting to a lady in the loo queue at the start who said she was in there for an hour last year, in a bad way. Get to the meet and greet before my family and hobble off for a pint. Not enough time to stay and watch the Foxes on the TV so have to listen to the radio on the way home.

It seems ridiculous but recovery is quick, I feel I could be out training again on Wednesday but I will rest until the weekend. Well done to Matthew and Jim, I have checked out your results. I hope to be at the Spring Handicap.