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London Marathon - I Had/Got a Good Time

Updated: Apr 24

Wow! London x


That was a wild 'full week' - NOT just the race.


This Blog is hopefully full of the riches of one of the worlds best 'city marathons'.


We have stories from:


Deo - LM Spirit Award runner - who is currently on his epic South Africa to London journey and hence did his LM as a virtual....what's like running LM in Africa?


Ruden - after his charity fundraising 3 x LM last year - this year he was back taking on a 4 x LM version. Caminos stepped up to support him....did he finish???


Camino Ultra had over a dozen athletes taking part. Most of them in the middle of training blocks for 100+ ultramarathons - so trusting in the process this was a 'can I get a PB purely off the back of an ultra training plan'????


Finally we go further into the other side of the London Marathon - with the backwards version - known as NOHTARAM EHT - what's it like starting the backwards route at 02:00am and should you consider it next year if you don't get in.


We've asked all the runners to give a TOP TIP and we hope you enjoy, cry and learn some great stuff from all these legends. BIG CAMINO LM LOVE x




Deo Kato is currently running from South Africa to London - he's been running every day for almost 300 days. He is experiencing some of the toughest days so far as he attempts to traverse the Sudans. He is still completing at least 10Km a day but not much more as logistics are so complicated in these parts.


Did you see Deo film on the Big screen that was being shown throughout the EXPO - big love to Jessica from LM team for supporting this x


Big Love to all the people out on the course who shared messages of support for Deo - it means the world to him and the team xx


He really needs some financial support too - If every finisher of the LM donated £1 that would be the perfect amount needed to support the project - SPONSOR HERE





Deo completed his own 42KM is the cold and wet - Proud of you Deo x


CAMINO:


Many of you will know Ruden (Runderbolts) from when he was part of the recent Winter Spine finisher team - he completed over 108 miles in the Pennines.

Fast forward to London where Ruden contacted Camino to see if we would support him running the marathon route back-to-back FOUR times - finishing with an official place.

We cannot begin to describe just how wild this experience was - and it was TOUGH x So proud of Ruden for even beginning this and for fundraising on behalf of incredible Mira Rai Initiative in Nepal - SPONSOR HERE





RUDEN:


"PART 1

I just ran the london marathon route 4 times! I started at 17:45 Saturday evening, the night before everyone else and completed 104 miles in total.


The first marathon went well, but my knee did start to play up a bit after 20km and by the end of marathon 1 my thighs were very tight and legs felt dead, a sensible person would have stopped there, but I had 3 marathons to go and I knew exactly who and what I was doing this for.





I was doing this for my community to inspire people to push beyond what they think is possible, I was doing this to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive running industry, and show that we do not just take part, but we belong and we are here to stay, for this marathon and the next and the next and beyond. I was doing this to raise funds and awareness for the amazing Mira Rai Initiative and give female athletes the support, training and hope, to create Trail running champions just like Mira.


PART 2:


With any challenge I set or tough ultra race I face, I have the same mindset that never fails to get me through. It’s already done. The moment you decide and commit, that’s the moment you complete the challenge, then the physical part, the race day is just the celebration of the strength of your decsion. All the rewards of your commitment will show up to guide you through your pain party. It’s like seeing a piece of art coming together when you start seeing the signs and things start manifesting.


 I am raising funds to build the first ever training camp for female athletes in Nepal with the Mira Rai Initiative.





 I fuelled on, gels, doritos, fizzy drinks from the garage, vegan sausage rolls, a banana, jelly babies and anything I could get my hands on. I had so many amazing friends and strong community thag helped me get through from Runderbolts, Camino, ASRA, Rungrateful and many more.


 It would have taken me double the time without the support and encouragement I received."




CAMINO:


Marathons are an interesting challenge.


As we highlighted in the title - Did you Get a Good Time or Did you Have a Good Time?

The desire to get PBs is strong for many. It's an infectious energy force that ricochets amongst the 40000+ runners.

Camino had a few athletes capable of getting a sub 3 hour (as part of their 100+ mile training plans) BUT that doesn't mean it always goes the way you wish. Over to Camino Coach and serial winner Jess Johnson to give this subject an honest appraisal x




JESS:


"The London Marathon is one of the few road races I can't resist signing up to every year. And every year I panic as it's one of the few races I sign up to where I know I'm going to have to try to run for the duration! It's such a special race and shows London at its best. I love being part of races, but I get really nervous before them, especially if the first question people will ask is how long it took! I try to avoid telling people I'm racing so that if it doesn't go to plan, no one will know what my goals were, and no one will be disappointed in me. Inevitably you can't hide entering the London Marathon, and people will track you because they love you, even if you try to insist they don't!



I've been really lucky in the past that every time I've raced a road marathon, I've had the time of my life and got a PB. Inevitably that wasn't going to last forever, and my luck ran out about 25km into Sunday's race - the first time I'd let people know my goals. When it all came tumbling down, I felt like I was being bullied by someone/something who I thought liked me! Naturally I dealt with it really well by having an internal strop before deciding I had to carry on. I didn't have any money with me so a slow limp to the finish would be quicker than persuading someone to take a sweaty wimp there. I've also told friends I'll not stop a race unless I have to, and being grumpy/poorly/not good enough wouldn't really cut it as a suitable reason!



I sullenly limped my way around the underpasses and sky rise buildings of Canary Wharf, trying my best to ensure the few kind people tracking me didn't see my timing splits turn into too sleep a slide. My title as Miss Perfect Pacing was definitely in doubt! I caught myself almost criticising another tired runner who was weaving in front of me, before catching myself mid sentence and apologising profusely. Clearly I needed to get the running over with if I was contemplate being horrible. So I cracked on, pretended to be happy for all the friends who came to cheer me in the latter stages of the race, and shuffled my way to the finish.



I was given the sweetest welcome to the pub after the run, as ultimately I ran what was objectionably a good time. It just wasn't what I wanted. I was embarrassed lots of people I cared about saw me fail to meet my goals. It turns out everyone still loves you even if you have a 'bad' race, and that's a good lesson for me to learn. Strangely no one has told me they agree with me that I'm not good enough!




I've been asked to think of some top tips, but given my performance and my strop, I'm not feeling best placed to do so. However, here goes for a few unrelated to running:

1. Get to the start early and start queuing for the portaloo. I can only imagine it's quite breezy and undignified going outside when you run out of time..

2. Be nice to your supporters and don't scowl at them because you're grumpy.

3. Don't give up.

4. Don't worry what everyone's going to think of you and your race time. It's only running, and you're the only one who's going to think about that time after the day!


CAMINO:


You remember the film Sliding Doors - two different outcomes. 


Like Jess - Pete is an exceptional ultra runner - a proven multi disciplined athlete and all the superpowers. When Pete said he wanted a marathon PB we decided together to switch plans and make a more focused attempt on the training need to back up the attempt. If you have ever read the brilliant Breaking 2 book the science shows that you need to attempt to annihilate your best - not just pip it. Proud of that particular block of training and here is Peter to say if it worked.....





PETER THOMASON:


This was my first London marathon and I’m so pleased I signed up. Everyone talks about this as a bucket list run and I’m now definitely one of them! The goal was my first sub-3 so i planned to push at 2hr 55min pace from the start and see how long I could hold on.


The first section is downhill and the weather was kind which helped get some early momentum. For the middle section, the crowds really get going and are something else particularly from the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge onwards. I’ve never experienced anything like it and might as well have left the headphones at home!


With all that buzz I was still on target pace as I headed into the last 7km. From there I had to grit my teeth but the finish line fever was enough to get the job done in 2hrs 54 mins, a dream result for me.


My top tip if you’re considering it is DO IT,  it was brilliant. For the race itself, plan for your own fuel as there were very few spots giving out food but loads of water stations so make sure you have to nutrition you need. Thanks as always to the Camino team for all the coaching and support!


CAMINO:


One thing we cherish is to coach life-long friends (often who have been in a bit of a funk) and who are exploring quite unique rhythms with their relationship to movement (running is just one form of movement as we know x)

So when an opportunity came along to coach Tara we knew it was going to be joyful and any event was merely a connector between lots of healthy movement.


As with so many Caminos - London means a great deal - and the marathon is unavoidable! So with Tara signed up and the goal to hit the "Good Times' we were all set x




TARA:


"I began training for the marathon 18 months ago after my brother had won his amazing battle with oesophageal cancer. So proud of him, I really wanted to do something to show how grateful I was and after listening to Dr Rangan Chatterjee's podcast on marathons I signed up. Running for Macmillan Cancer seemed like the perfect charity. SPONSOR HERE


Thanks to my beautiful school friend Paula Bedford who has since become an incredible running coach I started my training. I'd never been sporty or much of a runner... 5km being my best achievement but slowly we built up in readiness for the 2023 London Marathon. It was bloody hard but I found I looked forward to the weekend long runs! Who even was I?


A few weeks before the big day we had some sudden news that my beautiful brother Sean had developed stage 4 brain cancer and he had only a few weeks to live. We flew out to be with him in NYC and two days before the 2023 race I decided to pull out after all that training, to spend the last days with Sean! It was all horrifically ironic. He passed away 4 days later!


Macmillan deferred my place to 2024 and to be honest the whole thing was way too close to horrible past events. I ignored that it was coming and completely stopped running for 8 months!


Paula got in touch and nudged me back into training the next January. I found myself running and crying and cross about every training session. In hindsight I think this was a kind of therapy. Long runs thinking of all the awfulness that had happened made me face the sadness and slowly I began to feel better.


Without Paula's incredible support and kindness there is no way I could have made it to the start and completed the London 2024 marathon in a fairly modest 4hours 41 mins... I am so happy and relieved to have gotten round. I feel very proud but mostly so grateful to Paula. You are a legend.


The first 30km were pretty joyous with the crowds and euphoria and running across Tower Bridge got me suitably choked up.

I hit "the wall" as predicted at 20 miles but the shame of not finishing combined with the idea of my brother laughing at my ridiculous new running focus got me through.

I am super proud of myself and send the biggest love and thanks to Paula. You are joyous and smart and great at coaching. Always encouraging and never belittling of my amateur runs.


Big love to the Camino Ultra team... who knows... I may just keep on running.

Thank you!!!!"


CAMINO:


In the London Community there can be such a significance with one of the Mile Markers. Our favourites RUN DEM CREW have made Mile 21 (20.5) their own

Michael Harper is another Camino who cherishes the gratitude and energy of this event and found his own joy at Mile 22:





MICHAEL:


"Mile 22, feeling good and bloody loving it. I decided not to take water with me and run pretty light. So many water stations.


But my top tip def make sure you have your name on your shirt. It is such a boost. And enjoy it. Saw so many people going through turmoil because they had put lots of pressure on themselves.


The PB will come when you relax. I relaxed and drank it all in. still managed a 20 min marathon PB. Thank you as always for your support. x"


CAMINO:


So many friends and family make the magic happen inside these events. We love how beautifully Chelsea has managed life and running - there is no magic bullet - everything needs love and time and care. We are proud of Chelsea for her dedication to ride through some tough challenges and run such a wonderful London Marathon x





CHELSEA:


"This was my second time running London. My first time I ended up injured - and it put me off running, I said never again… until last year when I entered the ballot for 2024. (Never thinking I would get a place)!


I was successful, after some deliberating I just went for it and decided to just run for me to prove to myself I CAN do hard things.


This time the lead up so much nicer, i enjoyed the journey, i loved going out running, i felt so prepared and actually relaxed on the morning.

I have massive thanks and appreciation to Kelsey, she is one in a million and inspires me every day!!


A couple tips for marathon day, is to smile, enjoy it.. you’ll probably question yourself half way why you thought this was a good idea, but trust me it’s worth it.

I would recommend having your name on your T-shirt. When the going gets tough and people shout your name you find it from somewhere deep within to just keep going one foot in front of the other..


There’s a lot more I could say, but I’d be here all day!

Lastly, if you are considering a coach I would recommend Camino coaching and Kelsey until I was blue in the face!! X"



CAMINO:


The Camino community goes deep and wide.


We are blessed to have some who crossed the valley to us on Day 1.


Rise Nabzy x A true warrior legend in these Camino waters. A real lover of the road marathon and the big city night life. If you want to exercise all the inner workings then grab Nabs and go for a ride.





NABIL:


"London Marathon - a voyage of many rituals!


Yesterday I started the iconic London Marathon feeling strongly backed by months of training, nutrition planning, and basically every other practical detail behind a good training plan. Little did I know that I was in for a completely different experience, something that will stay with me forever.


Despite having lived in London my entire life, in about 4 hours I saw my own backyard like never before - bustling Greenwich, mad glamour of Cutty Sark, roaring crowds on Tower Bridge, grim beauty of Canary Wharf, colourful Shadwell, and thunderous Embankment leading to a grand finale on the Mall - and this is what got me through my 26.2 miles. Simply epic!



My top tip - train hard but leave all your expectations at home and become one with the London crowd - trust me they will carry you through your entire race. One more thing, if you can please get your loved ones out on the streets and get them involved in your experience. This is extra special!


Love, Nabs xx


Ps - this marathon was special to me as I was supporting NSPCC - a charity whose mission is very close to my heart. SPONSOR HERE

"





CAMINO


In the Pandemic year the London Marathon moved to October and they introduced a Virtual version. The date may have returned to April but the virtual side of things has just grown. For years a small bunch of hardy runners chose to run the marathon route from the finish (The Mall) to the start (Blackheath) - usually starting at 02:00am and for some making it in time for them to start their official position.


This year quite a few in the Camino community were looking at joining the official/unofficial NOHTARAM EHT

One of these legends was our very own Camino Max


Here Max shares some of the highlights and some of the things you should make sure you are wary of before heading out into the middle of the night and running the course.





MAX:


"So I wasn't really sure what to expect as I turned up to Reverse London Marathon with a couple of friends (Felix and Chiara) at about 11.30pm. But we were greeted by a crowd of about 100 people give or take.


It was much more organised that I thought. Apparently there was a WhatsApp group for emergency and a gpx of the route with little changes to keep everyone as safe as possible. They had a great race/run briefing by Stu Edwards, explaining they had to start at 12.01am for everyone doing the virtual marathon and that they had some supply's for mini aid station for anyone in need.


As it got closer to the 12, they tried to get everyone into a pacing pecking order with the 4 hour runners at the front. Once ready they took some pictures and with a count down we were off.


I wasn't intending to shoot off but my legs had another ideas and before I knew it I had made two new friends Natalia and Lee Edgington, who were moving at the same pace as me.


Natalia was training for UTMB and Lee had a Backyard ultra coming up (same as me) so I was in perfect company.

So we were off into the night trying our best to follow a dark blue line on the dark tarmac. I made a hand full of wrong turns and decided I had better stick with Lee as he had done it a couple of time before and knew what he was doing.

London is so beautiful at night but also comes with its hazard. Plenty of drunk people of the roads with plenty to say but we were on our way so and tried our best to stay away.


Natalia stopped for a toilet and told us to keep going as we came up to the Tower of London before we headed into the Isle of Dogs part of the route.


Considering I had never meet Lee before we were perfectly matched and our cruising speed was set as fast and easy (for us), the miles disappear with running chats about Backyard ultra tactics and Parkrun organising (Lee RDs his local regularly).


Somewhere along the route I saw the amazing Ruben Runderbolt taking on a shocking 104 miles and running the marathon route 4 times back and forth, but also supporting him was the incredible David Bone with best hug, just what I needed to push me on.

As we got further away from the city it got, things got quite and colder, and even though the miles where still flying by easy, I was starting to feel we were near the end.

However as I have never done London marathon the normal way (even after 7 years back to back ballot attempts) I didn't know it's started with a big down hill stretch. Or for us a long up hill stretch at the end of a marathon (just what you want 😂).

Still we took a big swig of our water bottle and put our heads down and grinded our gears till we found our comfortable up hill pace.


After that we were so close we could taste the finish line, but there wasn't one, no crowd, not lights just some people in hi-viz working out where the crane was going to go to put the finishing touches to the grand stands, and a very cold wind.

So we stopped our watches went and got a drink from the petrol station and that was it, said well done to each other and jumped in a uber home, to get some sleep before my family wakes up.


All in all I had an amazing run with great people and I'll definitely be back next year for some more night running fun."


CAMINO:


As we shared this backwards marathon has been a fixture for many (especially the Impact Marathon crowd and Bad Boy Running community) for quite some time.


Camino Athlete and beautiful soul Anna is someone from the BBRC for whom this wasn't the first rodeo - so as Max was a newbie it was fun getting Anna's perspective too - Thank you Anna.


ANNA:


"nohtaraM nodnoL ehT has been going on for a few years but this was the first time I had been able to join in. It’s a pretty casual affair which allows you to rock up to the finish (start) whenever you like, but the experienced friends I was running with determined 2am was the optimum time. It allowed a casual/social marathon to the start, arriving in plenty of time to grab some breakfast before heading onto the course to support all our friends running the Main Event.



I have to say when my alarm went off at midnight after a much-too-short nap, I was seriously regretting my life choices, but I dragged myself to the night bus to head into town, feeling ridiculous as I passed pubs still full of Saturday night drinkers…



We mustered as close as we could to the start (finish) and I was amazed to find our group was about 20 people - with another big group also setting off at the same time. After Big Ben bonged 2am we set off, with the first few miles being quite stop-start as we tried to find an easy pace that suited everyone. It (inevitably) wasn’t to be but we enjoyed quite a good chunk together at the start while we made our way along the embankment. It was quite a surreal experience and still busy enough that we were mainly kept to pavements although we occasionally got to drift out to the blue line.



Having done the actual marathon years ago I was able to appreciate the benefits of doing the course like this at night. Not only could we take the pressure off any kind of pace, but London at night is a beautiful city and you do not get to appreciate the lights and sights in the same way in the manic, daytime craziness that is marathon day. We also had access to more (clean!) portaloos en route than I have ever seen! The flip side however is that the long slog out to Canary Wharf and beyond has little to recommend it without hoards of cheering crowds!



As dawn broke and we neared the finish (start) we started coming across more and more walkers who were completing the virtual marathon and were reaching the same finish point as us. It was lovely to give them all a cheer after their long and pretty chilly overnight hike - kudos to all of them! It’s definitely a night out in London like no other - where runners and walkers unite in London Marathon fever and a mutual love of our wonderful city! I’d definitely recommend giving this a go if you miss out on a marathon place, but I’ll still be putting in my ballot entry for next year!"



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