London Marathon, 24th April 2016

Sunday 24th April saw tens of thousands of runners take to the streets of London for the Virgin Money London Marathon.   Seven Burn Road Harriers had each spent months training and preparing for the race, all with their individual targets.  


26.2 miles is a great test of endurance, but also the ability to keep to a certain speed is crucial for those aiming for sub 3,4 or 5 hour times.  There are many variables on the days that can put the best laid plans to bed, such as the weather or minor injury, not to mention other runners impacting on your ability to move along.  


Darren Armstrong’s best time over the marathon distance was set last year in Edinburgh when he ran 2:54:55.  With that experience under his belt, he set off at 5:46 minute a mile pace and settled into his stride.  After the first 5k he picked his pace up to 5:43 pace and kept this going until around the 22 mile mark when he gave himself a bit of a reprieve and ran at over 6 minute mile pace.  Once he had the last two miles in his sights he picked up again and crossed the line at 5:45 minute a mile pace, shattering his previous best marathon time by over 8 minutes to finish in 2:46:45.  An outstanding run by a great athlete. 


Vaughan Godber’s personal best of 2:50 over the marathon distance was set seven years ago, again at Edinburgh.  Seven years later a sub-three hour run was still on the cards for Vaughan who is an exceptional athlete and does not seem to slow up with age.  Vaughan passed the half marathon mark in 1:25 and was on for a great time if he could maintain his effort over the second 13.1 miles.   He dug deep and enjoyed the second half, crossing the finish line in an outstanding 2:52:59.


Bryan Astill returned to London this year to finish what he started in 2014, when a sub-three hour run just evaded him.  He had prepared tremendously well for 2016 and was seen at the 20 mile mark running alongside a three-hour official race pacer grinning, the confidence in his ability apparent, if he could maintain for the final 10k.  Bryan too paced his run incredibly well, passing through the half marathon stage at 1:29:25, his second half was 1:29:23 and he crossed the finish line in 2:58:48.  A master-class in pacing and a sterling result for one of Burn Road’s top men.


John Davis was looking to run well as he had done at Edinburgh last year when he set his best of 3:03:02.  John passed the half marathon mark on track in 1:29 and kept the impetus going until around the 21 mile mark when he started to lose a fraction of speed.  He dug deep and crossed the line in a fantastic time of 3:05:21.  John also learned a lesson to ‘stick to the blue line’ in the latter stages of the race, which is the line on the road which measures the exact 26.218 miles.  Straying either side of this line adds distance to your overall run and impacts on finish time.  


London 2016 was both Dave Wallace’s and Simon Lawlor’s first marathon and so they had trained really well for the distance, but had no idea what to expect from the race on the day.  They met up with fellow Harrier Graeme Surtees on the start line and all had a goal of around a sub 4 hour run if all the elements came together on the day.  


Simon had an outstanding run.  He passed through the halfway mark in just under 1:59.  In a first attempt at racing this distance, the second half is much tougher than the first and runners can find themselves somewhat astray of their first half pacing, resulting in a 4 hour plus end time.  Simon showed great strength and determination and to the excitement of all of the Harriers tracking his run back home, he nailed his first marathon in a time of 3:59:48.     


Dave Wallace set off at a good pace to achieve this aim and, although he tired over the latter stages of the race, he found his mojo again towards the end to claim his first marathon in a time of 3:59:51.  An outstanding result for Dave who has trained well and whose experience as a Vet55 runner enabled him to achieve his aims.


Completing the Burn Road contingency around the capital was Graeme Surtees who ran the London Marathon in 2014 in 4:23:33.  Graeme’s training and recent race around the Locke Park 20 Mile Race at Redcar suggested he too was on track for a sub 4 hour run.  At the halfway mark Graeme looked strong and comfortable, passing through in just under 1:59.  He maintained this pace until 20 miles when he began experiencing pain in his foot and sure enough the red started seeping through.  A badly burst blood blister took him out of the race for a period whilst St John’s Ambulance patched him up sufficiently enough to be able to complete and he endured the pain for the final six miles to finish in 4:13:28.  Although outside of his capabilities on the day, the injury saw off his sub 4 mile dream for London 2016, but he still knocked ten minutes off his last venture around the capital, fighting to the end in true Harrier style.



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