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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

John's best ever marathon


We're just back from a short stay in Toronto, Canada, where J competed in his 20th marathon, the Toronto Waterside (not to be confused with their other one.)

He has been euphoric ever since having improved on his previous time by a staggering 10 minutes, and recording a new PB (personal best)of 3:43.09. To put this in context, he finished in the top 25% of the field.

What is particularly inspiring about it is that J continues to improve and get better times as he gets older. So there is hope for all of us!

He puts it down to diet (he lost a stone some weeks ago), training and conditions at the marathon. This one was flat and the weather was fairly cool.

His running club, the Orion Harriers, had been behind him all the way and there were numerous excited texts as the jungle drums got beating back home in Chingford.

For me the spectator, juggling cow bell and two cameras, it was not the easiest marathon to navigate. I don't think they were expecting many international visitors because the charmingly hand-drawn spectators' map didn't show any public transport links or even all the roads, so it was hard to work out a route. And on the day, many of the street cars or trams were diverted.

Fortunately I met up with Duncan, an old school friend of mine who has lived in Toronto for over 20 years. We managed to see John three times, at 10km, at 35km and at the finish. It was ironic that at 35km, we were outside Toronto's biggest scrapbooking store, miles from the centre, and it wasn't yet open so I had to leave it behind.

We rushed back to the finish as fast as the subway and a bus would allow, and J was already waiting for us in the H's, hopping around clutching his medal and talking to anyone in sight.

There were quite a few Brits in the hotel, many of whom had run the companion half marathon. All in all, an up-and-coming marathon according to J, that will grow in popularity.

Tomorrow: Disaster at Niagara as I recall the most mortifying moment of my life.

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