I'm running the London Marathon 2010 for ChildLine

Monday, 26 April 2010

Post Marathon blog - it's still sinking in

Well, the morning after the night before, as they say!  I think it's still sinking in a bit but me, Big-G, the guy who a few years ago used to find running to the bar for last orders a struggle, has completed the London Marathon!  It is a great feeling and parts of it will stay with me forever, but more about that later.

On the morning of the marathon, I was staying at a hotel near Victoria, and had to make my way over to Charring Cross, to catch one of the free trains to Greenwich.  The weather forecast had been changeable most of the week, but the main thing is that it was forecast to be very hot.  Actually, at around 9am it chucked it down with rain, which I actually prefer to blazing sun.  When it was time to line up in my start zone (red start line, zone 9) it had stopped raining and it was a pleasant (fairly chilly) temperature which was great for me.  I had an old mobile phone with me and managed to get a few pictures on the way around.  This is my view of the start area, with the start line itself about half a mile away.

I got through the start line at just after 10am, which is what I had predicted to those following my progress so all was good.  The first four or five miles or so were good (I'd even say easy) and I was taking it steady and just trying to soak up the atmosphere.

Although I was running with my earphones in, I didn't have any music on I was enjoying the atmosphere which was fantastic all of the way around.  There were bands playing, people lining the streets all the way around, people supporting from their houses or pubs, and it was a great sight.  There were some great signs up as well - "Run like you stole something" sticks in my memory for some reason.  Also, a lot of the crowd have pots of Jelly Babies or other sweets which really help too.  One of mates lives in Greenwich and as I was running I recognised the area and looked up to my right and there he was waving out of his window!  He called out and I gave a little wave.

Some of the costumes that people turn up in are just fantastic.  There was one guy who was literally running with a fridge on his back!  My wife managed to take a few photos as well and this guy's costume was brilliant.  Basically, I think he was dressed up as a giraffe with a long (it must have been nearly 30 foot long) bendy pole strapped to his back with a giraffe shaped head on top.  I overtook him and whenever there was a breeze or gust of wind he seemed to be having to really hold on to the pole to keep it upright, which can't have been much help for him if he was on for a decent time!

This photo has the eventual women's winner, at around the 13 mile mark.  Lillya Shobukhova from Russia completed the event in 2hrs, 21mins, 59secs with the men's race being won by Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede in 2hrs, 5mins, 19secs. 

I remember last year when I went to spectate to see my SiL, I was in awe of the elite runners.  It truly is phenomenal seeing them running at the speed and consistency that they manage.

Regarding my time, I managed to get around in 5hrs, 14mins, 31secs.  I'm pleased with that as it was the best that I could have done on the day.  At around 13 miles I was on for under 5 hours, which was the best I could have done but from about 20miles I was struggling and just had to do what I could to get around.

I arranged to try and see my wife at a couple of points and we managed it, which was a real highlight and helped keep me going.  She was at the 13 mile mark, and I stopped and we had a little chat and a hug, which was brilliant.  I feel a bit guilty as I nicked one of her Snickers bars, as I was really hungry and devoured it in a few seconds which helped too!

I also saw another couple friends (I think it was at about 17 or 18 miles) but I only caught sight of them fairly late on so didn't manage to stop and chat as I was running in the middle of the road at the point and couldn't get over safely.

The support on the way around was brilliant, and I'm really glad that I had my nickname on the front.  I was getting cheered on all the time but I think the last 2 or 3 miles will stay with me forever.  At this point, I knew I was going to finish, and when that dawned on me, it was pretty emotional.

I had managed to contact my wife and she had made her way to very near the finish line and when I saw her it was just brilliant.  We shared a hug and a kiss and I'll never forget that moment....it was really fantastic and emotional.  I remember whispering in her ear 'I can't believe it.....I'm going to finish....' and I'm not ashamed to say that I did shed a little tear.  She managed to get a great spot in a corner off the "racing line" (or, "plodding line", in my case!) and I'm really pleased that I managed to see her.  Unbelievable!

I crossed the finish line, and got my medal, commemorative t-shirt and goodie bag and made my way to the NSPCC post-race event, where I was able to get a shower and devour some food and drink.  I must say, the support from the NSPCC was great all the way around and it was nice to meet some of the other 450 runners who ran for the charity.  I'm pleased with the money I've managed to raise, which is for a great cause.

Would I do it again though?  Hmmmmm - I'm really not sure.  You can see in these pictures that I hardly look a picture of health!  In all honesty, I found it very tough.  Apart from the odd occasion, the training wasn't enjoyable at all and my knees were really sore most of the time.  There must be easier/better ways of trying to keep fit then this!

The memories from the day itself will stay with me forever, but I'd say for at least half of it I was struggling and in pain, even though I did pop a couple of Ibuprofen on the way around.  I only knew for sure that I was definitely going to complete it from around 23 miles or so.  I'm writing this at the moment fairly early on the Monday morning (I've got the day off work) and my legs are sore with my knees even worse.  Having said that, it was a great occasion and I know I've completed something that very few people manage (I've read less that 5% of the population complete a marathon) which is something that I'm very proud of.  For now, I'm going to concentrate on maintaining my fitness and drop down to the 10k distance, which is obviously far easier on the body and a different challenge, with a different mindset required.

I'm not really sure how to sign off, but this will probably be my last entry to this blog and I hope you've enjoyed reading it.  I've certainly enjoyed maintaining it, and keeping it updated has been a motivator for me to keep going with the training.  For info, I had my Garmin with me on the day, and the route can be seen from http://www.runsaturday.com/act/270746/subView/Speed and a screen grab of the route is shown here. Thanks alot for all the comments and emails I've received - they were really appreciated!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

I've done it!!

I can now say that I've completed the marathon, which is a fantastic feeling!  Very tired now though and my legs are aching alot.

I'll write more tomorrow with a better update.

Picture of my medal and commemorative t-shirt....

Last update before the marathon!

Well, here we are. 6 months of training has brought me to this point. 100's of miles of training on the roads over dozens of hours. 6 months of me nagging everyone I know for sponsorship are coming to an end, and I'm nervous......but also very excited for what's about to come. Bring it on!!

I'm in London with my wife and yesterday was all about getting to London and registering at the Excel centre to get my running number and timing tag, which I've done.

Also, I've eaten sensibly, drank plenty of water and kept clear of the booze for a week so I know I've done all I can to prepare and I've just been trying to relax, although I haven't slept all that well.

The Excel centre was great as that feeling of being part of something huge was even more amplified. Everywhere you go you see runners clutching their red Virgin kit bags and it's great to see and to know that I'm going be a part of something so special.

I was getting pretty nervous yesterday, but I'm glad my wife was with me to help calm me down. We had a nice meal (pasta, of course!) and we went and walked the last half mile or so. Even there, the atmosphere was building. The roads around the Mall were closed to traffic and we were able to walk up the finish straight, whilst the organisers were finishing off their final preparatons. I was able picture myself crossing that finishing line and I'm going to do all I can to make sure that happens.

Getting to this point has probably been one of the hardest things, physically and mentally, that I've had to do. Now, all that's left is for me to do the final bit and soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it.

I'm not sure how accurate it is, but if you want you should be able to track my progress at

All that's left to say is 'thanks' for all the donations so far......they are really appreciated! Any more sponsorship of any size is gratefully received athttp://www.justgiving.com/graydon-widdicombe/

Friday, 23 April 2010


This is normal, right?

I'm looking forward to getting to the start line now and the excitement is really growing.  The BBC marathon adverts are on now and all the forums are buzzing with a mixture of nerves and excitement and I'm really feeling part of something huge!  It's a truly great feeling.

My SiL Steph (she ran the marathon last year) is away travelling at the moment and I know she'd be there cheering me on if she was in the country.  She took the trouble of updating her FaceBook profile with a picture of her holding a "Good luck Grade....!" note, which is fantastic and made me chuckle.

Tonight I just have to make sure that I have packed everything that I need.  Then tomorrow, I'm off to London to register at the Excel centre and then trying to chill out and relax in the day and trying to get some sleep tomorrow night.

So that's it really.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Last training session before the main event!

Wow!  I think today will be my last training session before the event next week.  It was a fairly easy 6 miler and it was a good session.  The weather was warm, but I was out before it got too hot so it was a nice way to end the training.  Also, it was really nice as my wife was out as well, which was great.

Looking back, I've completed nearly 400 miles in training, plus gym sessions and several long walks.  I'm confident that I've done all I can do, and I've completed the training to the best of my ability.  I was toying with the idea of doing another 4-6 miler in the week but I don't think I will now as it's not going to be much use for the day itself and I'd be worrying about injuring myself unnecessarily at this stage.  I think all that is left for me to do is do plenty of stretching in this final week and try and eat and drink sensibly.  I always knew the hard part would be the training, and now all I've got to do is 26 miles on the day.....

I was chatting to a mate about what I may feel like at the start, and I have a feeling it may be like those nervous minutes before an exam.  Do you remember those moments immediately before an exam where people were talking about what they have/haven't done in preparation?  I have a feeling that it may be like that at the start line, so I'll probably be an anti-social sod and just keep my ear phones in!  That thought, together with the fact that there will be a strong smell of deep heat is making me feel sick at the moment....

In all seriousness though, I'm nervous but I'm also looking forward to the day as well.  I'm hoping for cool, misty rain conditions, but even if that's not the case I'm looking forward to being part of a great day. 

I've even downloaded the BBC London Marathon music and put it on my iPod.  I'm hoping to run through the line to this.....!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Running vest is prepared!!

Ironed my name and nickname onto my NSPCC Team Go running vest today....looks good!

Not long to go now.  I'm trying to travel light as my wife will be carrying our stuff around with her whilst spectating and cheering me on.  A lot of it I'll be taking to the start, where the organisers store it for the runners.

However, there is still a fair amount I have to take.  In no particular order:
  • Knee support
  • Train tickets
  • Hotel reservation
  • Lucozade
  • Water bottle
  • Granola bars
  • Shredded wheat
  • Nip Guards (don't ask....)
  • Go Gel and belt
  • Trainers
  • Running stuff (vest, t-shirt, underwear, shorts)
  • Jogging bottoms
  • Registration form
  • Passport
  • Virgin magazine
  • Garmin and heart rate monitor strap
  • iPod and earphones
  • Vaseline (don't ask...)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Spare T-Shirt and underwear
  • Spare phone and charger (I'll be running with an old phone in case of emergencies)
  • iPhone and charger
  • Safety pins for running number
  • Oyster Card
  • Camera
So, quite a lot of stuff bearing in mind I'm just going to London for a little run....

Other than that, today I did 7 miles or so, which went well.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Last short quick run

Went out on one of my 'normal' routes today (about 4.25 miles) and did it in a quick time for me.

In terms of training, I've basically got two more training sessions before the marathon, which feels good actually.  Other than that, I'm just eating sensibly and stretching a lot too.