Below is Ian’s race report after winning this year’s club place. He can be sponsored online at https://www.justgiving.com/Ian-Blagg
I left home just after 6 am, and parked the car near my son’s flat in Farringdon. After a quick toilet break I strolled to Bank to get the DLR to Greenwich at about 8:20. At Greenwich I walked up through the park (via Sainsbury’s to try and get some sun screen – I didn’t and the sky was clear blue) and arrived at the start at about 9:10. By the time I’d taken off my warm clothing and deposited my bag it was about 9:30, so the timing was perfect for a 9:45 start from my pen (5).
My plan was follow the Runner’s World 9 min pace maker (4 hour marathon) and I was only about 10 yards behind him at the start. It only took 4 minutes to get to the start, but by then the pace maker was 30 yards ahead, and I just couldn’t get near him – too many runners, and I wasn’t prepared to push my way through.
My watch showed an average pace of 9 minute miles for the first 8 or 9 miles, but after that I just got slower and slower. I went through the half pretty much on 2 hours – even pacing you’d have thought but I was feeling a little tired and I knew I was in for an uncomfortable second half. I chatted to a few runners which was to pay dividends later on. One guy just in front of me at about 8 was wearing a red Alzheimer’s vest, but on the back he’d obviously written a tribute last night or this morning to a friend who’d died on Saturday. I commented on this to him and we chatted for a few minutes before I decided to push ahead. Similar chats ensued with other runners (based mainly on “where am I”/Alzheimer’s theme). The organisation was superb with no problems at drinks/gel stations, but by about 15 I had slowed to 9:30 pace and I was now working out what I needed to do to get within 4hrs 30m.
I was struggling at 18 (11 min pace) with tired legs, people running past me, and at about 21 I decided to run walk (5mins run/1 min walk). This seemed to work and I was now doing 12 min miles. At 24 miles I was walking and wondering if I could make 4hrs 30 when there was a tap on the shoulder and the guy in the red vest from earlier said “come-on mate”. We exchanged a bit of banter and then I started to run again and made it non-stop to the finish in 4:28:38.
At the finish organisation was again brilliant with no real congestion from medal collection to bag collection and meeting point. It’s all designed to keep you moving to aid recovery. I met up with family and friends (some of whom I heard cheering me on round the course) and then we adjourned to the Alzheimer’s hotel for a massage and a bite to eat.
In the hotel my elder daughter was looking up results, and I was asking for the times of all the other Tadley Runners. Now, this has to be confirmed, but I worked out that I was the Tadley Runners 2012 London Marathon Club Champion!