A Long Day, But I Did Get An Ice Cream

Posted by Allen Jesson on

As I boarded my 8'o'clock train from Colchester to London, I must admit I didn't feel in the best shape. Nothing particularly untoward but I knew what lay ahead. My 'dodgy' knee wasn't feeling the best and I didn't feel that energized. Maybe something to do with the long day we'd put in previously, at the Chelmsford MBS Fair.

Still, as I navigated my way through the London underground system (did you know that marathon runners travel for free?) I arrived at Maze Hill, which is still a good uphill mile from the 'green' start, the designated area for those runners who had self-declared their intention to run (or walk) a sub optimal time. It is all very well organised, and my main worry was not having any safety pins to pin my number on my shirt. Thankfully, the starters had already thought of me and other unorganized 'runners' and had a healthy supply of pins available. So, it was off with my sweatshirt (donated to Heart Foundation, along with the other discarded clothing at the start line). With the 'green' runners being split into waves, it was a matter of waiting patiently for our wave or 'pen' to be herded toward the start line. So, there was I with all the other charity runners, some out of shape, some in costume, some taking selfies. But all having a nice time with expectation building. It's a big event the start, with the BBC helicopter overhead, big balloons aloft, and commentators on loudspeakers, adding to the air of general excitement. One of the announcements did prick my ears, when they announced that the finishing line would be open until 7pm and as we were due off at around 10:25, I thought to myself "I might just do that", giving me 8.5 hours to complete the course. To be honest, I had already resigned myself to taking around 9 hours and NOT finishing before the ‘sweeper uppers’ and the course dismantlers. So, now I had a chance and I pictured seeing Big Ben with twenty to seven on the famous dial (didn’t picture the scaffolding but that’s another story).

And before you knew it, we were off. As I had decided to walk, I thought I’d soon be left behind, but was pleasantly surprised at the number of other ‘walkers’ and even more surprised by the public, who still cheered you on whether you were walking or running. With Radio 4 in my ear, that first mile felt okay, but you do start to realize that 26 of them, non-stop, is still quite a task, even when walking. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised to pass the first mile marker and when I checked my stats the day after, I found that I had been walking at a rate of 5.74 km per hour for the first 5km. If I’d kept that up I would have finished in 7.5 hours. But of course, despite my best efforts, I did gradually slow throughout the day and I have posted the results at the end. But as each mile went past, I motivated myself by setting a target time for each mile, which gradually dwindled from 17 mins to 20 mins per mile, as the day went on. There were other times where I forgot what my target time was, so that all became a little pointless (still got me through). With water and Lucozade stations every couple of miles, there was no chance of becoming dehydrated and with a steady supply of jelly babies and the like being handed out by kind well-wishers, the sugar levels remined okay too. I even stopped for an ice cream at around the 14m mark, which the vendor kindly donated to the cause. Apparently, I wasn’t the first runner, nor probably the last, to take advantage of his conveniently parked van. I’d also promised myself a sandwich in the second half but got all ‘babied’ out.

So, the first half is south of the river and Tower Bridge is sort of the halfway point, although that is annoyingly quite a few hundred yards down the road. The other annoying bit is that as you cross the bridge, you have to turn right and you have to face the other runners who are on the other side of the road, knowing that they are around 10 miles ahead of you. But still, you soldier on and the slowness increases. You know you’re in trouble when you get overtaken by one of the  ‘Rhino Men’, who are running in what looks to be a quite heavy and cumbersome rhino outfit (for WWF). At some stage, it starts to become hard work and you really do start to wish the miles away. At 20 miles, my ‘dodgy knee’ finally gave way, but I had brought a ‘just-in-case’ knee brace with me and that, along with the support from my sponsors, the dwindling ‘cheerers’ and Jill’s magic, got me over the line. At around the 24m mark I got a lovely surprise when my sister-in-law Bina and niece Katie shouted out and they were a very welcome sight indeed. We had a lovely hug, a quick chat, but then I explained that I had to beat the 7pm curfew and it was going to be a close run (or walked) thing. So, we said our goodbyes and off I trotted to complete the last two miles and 1 mile from home I looked up and there was Big Ben, not quite so resplendent with all the scaffolding, but importantly, I could see the time and guess what? It was twenty to seven! So I knew I had 20 minutes to complete the last mile and that seemed to go on forever but I finally made it, over by just 27 seconds! I blame it on the ice cream…. but on a serious note, I would just like to say a sincere thank you to all my sponsors. It was your generosity that ensured that the word ‘quit’ never even entered by lexicon. I thank you. So do Get Kids Going. So, thanks again.

I am planning to raise over £1,500 for Get Kids Going and you can see my live progress here:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AllenJesson2021

(Any support gratefully received)

Footnote: David Weir, the ‘disabled’ president of Get Kids Going finished 3rd in the men’s wheelchair race, just SEVEN hours quicker than I managed. Well done David!

Split

Time Of Day

Time

Diff

min/km

km/h

Place

5K

11:17:30

00:52:16

52:16

10:28

5.74

10K

12:11:56

01:46:43

54:27

10:54

5.51

15K

13:08:51

02:43:38

56:55

11:23

5.27

20K

14:06:21

03:41:08

57:30

11:30

5.22

Half

14:19:35

03:54:22

13:14

12:04

4.97

25K

15:06:30

04:41:17

46:55

12:02

4.99

30K

16:12:44

05:47:30

01:06:13

13:15

4.53

35K

17:22:26

06:57:12

01:09:42

13:57

4.30

40K

18:30:33

08:05:20

01:08:08

13:38

4.40

Finish

19:00:27

08:35:14

29:54

13:38

4.41

21422

2 comments


  • Well done Allen. What a brilliant achievement <3

    Miranda Welton on

  • You’re a complete inspiration Allen, so proud to know you! Well done that man!

    Gina Butler on

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