The 2010 London Marathon was only last week, but already it seems like a lifetime ago when I took part in one of the great sporting events in this country.

I started with four aims
1. To complete the race
2. To run all the way
3. To raise £1,000 for Ogwen Mountain Rescue Organisation
4. To do it in under 5 hours

Well, I did it, almost. I did run all the way and my official time was 5 hours 11 minutes 51 seconds. But the time was never really that important. What was important was raising funds for the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team and my current sponsorship total is £1,167. To all of you who sponsored me thank you very much. To those of you who haven’t, there’s still time. Go to the bottom of the page and add your donation. Every penny is appreciated.

For me, the London Marathon was not just about the race. It was the preparation before, during and after. The event came about following a suggestion two years ago that the Team should apply for a charity position in the London Marathon to raise funds. Following initial investigations and a formal written request, no more was heard until October last year when the Secretary received a letter informing her that the Team had been granted a “bronze bond“ place, which are awarded to smaller charities once every five years. I was honoured when I was given the opportunity to accept this place and run on behalf of the Team and started looking for an appropriate training programme. As I’m sure you can imagine, there are a plethora of suggested training schedules, but I decided to stick to the one produced by the Marathon organisers!

Training started in December last year and I followed a 20 week schedule. In January, I went to a specialist sports shop where my gait was analysed and the appropriate foot wear selected to even out my flat feet! Training started with short runs and built up to 20 miles by the end of March. Mother Nature did her best to disrupt proceedings by delivering several feet of snow. Fortunately, we have a treadmill and cross-trainer in the garage, so a lot of the early training was done indoors. Mark joined me in our home-made gym in the garage and as the garage warmed up; condensation began to rain down on us from the tin roof making it only slightly better indoors than outdoors!

Christmas came and went and I entered two local races. In January, I ran in the Twin Piers 10k from Llandudno to Colwyn Bay and in February I ran the Nick Beer 10k around the Great Orme, beating my time for the Twin Piers by 4 minutes. Thanks to Rachel Brown, a 333 supporter, for coming along and running with me and for her general support and advice. In March, I ran the Milton Keynes half marathon in a time of 2 hours 19 minutes, which gave me the confidence that I could run the London Marathon in a time of under 5 hours. It also gave me the opportunity to meet up with my old running club, Stopsley Striders, and to arrange for Mark and me to travel to the Marathon with them on the day. This was a great help as it was one thing less to worry about on the day.

Thanks also go to Phil Brown, Sports Masseur, for his help and advice. The regular sessions I had with Phil helped to pinpoint areas to work on and to generally keep things loose. The one thing that I was always aware of was sustaining an injury whilst training which would then lead to a withdrawal. Although I incurred a few minor sprains and strains, thanks to Phil they did not become show stoppers.

Mark and I decided to take a relaxed approach to the whole Marathon weekend so we travelled down to Docklands on the Thursday night. This enabled us to get to the Excel Centre early to register, get the race timing chip and race number. We enjoyed a pasta lunch whilst listening to Paula Radcliffe and a sports nutritonist from Lucozade who stressed the importance of hydration on the day as it was expected to be very hot. Resisting the urge to purchase lots of new gear, I had a short massage before driving to Luton via Epping to meet up with a friend for another pasta meal. Saturday was a relaxing day watching Morris Dancers celebrating St Georges Day in St Georges Square, Luton.

On the day, we left Luton for London at 6.00 am and arrived in plenty of time to warm up. Although it was warm, the temperature was well below the predicted heat wave. I made my way to the start along with thousands of other runners, some first timers like me, some experienced old timers, and many in fancy dress. Just as we all began to get ready, it started to rain and we headed for the shelter of some trees and I got my black bin liner out to stay dry. Fortunately, the rain stopped in time and we all made our way to the start. 9.45 and the race began. We slowly moved towards the start line and 15 minutes later we crossed it and we were off!

I started at a steady pace and passed the customary row of men peeing in the bushes after only a few hundred yards. The atmosphere was amazing; every pub had a party going with many of the customers dressed up. The best one was the pub in Greenwich where everyone was dressed as a pirate. There were bands of all sorts playing on roundabouts, traffic islands, in bus stops and garage forecourts. It was very uplifting and the supporters along the route were very vocal.

I first saw Mark at the Cutty Sark at the 6 ½ mile mark. He then tweeted my progress both on Twitter and Facebook from then on. I was next to see him amongst the crowds at Canary Wharf and then finally at Shadwell, the 22 mile mark. I got to the half way in 2 hours 29 minutes, right on target and felt good until about 23 miles when my calf muscles started to feel tight. I decided to slow down as I didn’t want to risk getting cramp and dropping out so near the end. The last run down The Mall was amazing, the crowds were huge and everybody was shouting my name and encouragement. As I crossed the finish line, I remembered to smile and look at the camera, but unfortunately I was amongst a crowd of runners and the pictures aren’t very good. Have a look at the official photos of me at:

http://www.marathonfoto.com/order_my_photos.cfm?RaceOID=19802010S1&LastName=Edwards&BibNumber=50815&Language=en&BFI=on2q84384z&Frames=true&Flash=true&FlashVersion=8&Height=864&Width=1152&Index2Home=true

I went through the finish line and was given my medal and goody bag. I made my way through the crowds to the meet and greet area to find Mark and the rest of Stopsley Striders. Once everybody had been accounted for, we adjourned to the nearest pub to the coach which was some distance away. As we walked down Piccadilly with our medals around our necks, people in pubs applauded us.

After a well deserved drink, it was back to the coach and home to Luton. Mark then surprised me by saying that he had booked us into a Spa Hotel for a 24 hour pampering session of massage, swimming and relaxation.

The Team paid £300 for the Bronze Bond place. To date, I have raised £1,167 and I would like to get this figure to £1,300 so that the Team ends up with £1,000. If you know of anyone who would like to sponsor me, please pass this message on and go to the bottom of this page to add donations.

I would like to thank the Team for giving me the opportunity to run in the London Marathon. It is a truly exhilarating experience and one that everyone should do at least once in their life. I will continue running and am considering the Snowdon Marathon in October.

Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

25/04/2010

Raised £383.00 online so far.

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