Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blood sweat and tears

The 2011 London Marathon was hot. Too hot for many of the runners. Even the spectators got a bit hot under the collar. But it was all in a day's work for J as he ran his 23rd marathon (and eighth London Marathon).

As in previous years, I was fortunate to be able to park my shooting stick at one of the elite runners' drinks stations, manned by John's running club The Orion Harriers.

Opposite St Paul's church in Shadwell, this is a perfect position because not only do I get an unobscured view, but I see the runners twice.

The first task for the marshalls was opening the box of drinks and setting them out on the right tables and in the right order. The elite runners have their own special bottles, some decorated, some with a gel attached, some only half full. Here's one of the most attractive bottles (left).

The elites run past at such speed it's quite difficult for them to grab their drink as they barely pause, but very few bottles were dropped.

The elite runners dealt with, it was time for the "ordinary" runners, in their thousands. J trains diligently for the marathon, six days a week, and his training includes hill running and speed work. He tests gels, different shoes (and socks: he was wearing his long compression socks) and anything that will help him to the elusive Personal Best. This year he also lost quite a lot of weight. Every pound counts.

It all paid off. Not a PB this year because of the weather, but nonetheless, J still finished in the top 200 for his age group. Here he is at looking remarkably fresh, indicating that another Orion runner was not far behind (Kym). 

When we saw him for the second time, at 35km, he was lively enough to spray us all with water he'd been keeping for the purpose.

Having escorted him on many of the world's top marathons, including Berlin, Paris, Toronto, New York, Chicago and Boston, I can say hand on heart that London is the best. The most spectators; the most noise and eencouragement; the most friendly atmosphere. There's nothing to beat it. So well done to all the runners, including the ones who really struggled in the heat, and see you all next year! (And before you ask, I will still be snapping and not running!).


Anonymous said...

I would love to see that one day. Well done J.!

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

Wow, good for him. So amazing.

Me, I'm with you, on the sidelines. Now if we could just sit in reclining chairs, with cocktails in hand.... that would be perfect!

Chris said...

That trick was done before, possibly in his 1st or 2nd london marathon. Standing around the twenty something mark, Sylvie was treated to a face full of mouth squirted water. Needless to say she wasn't best pleased!

Anonymous said...

Well done J!! It's an amzing feat, and one I constantly marvel over. I am definitely more of a deck chair fan! Lucylastic

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