London Marathon by Paul Bryers

After really enjoying London last year and getting a time of 3:17, I decided to have another go this year and aim for 3:10. Coach Waddi gave me my plan and at the end of December I started training 6 days a week. Everything went well in training as I had Gaz Holland as my side kick on most runs as he was doing Manchester marathon. I PB in 5k, 10k and half marathon along the way, so coming into the late stages of training Waddi was pushing me to go for a faster time.We travelled down to London on the Friday so I could take it easy on the Saturday just going to the expo then it was time to relax.

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Sunday morning, up early and raring to go. It was quite a cold morning so couldn’t complain about the weather and it this point just wanted to get going. As the race started I soon got into my race pace and the first few miles flew past. When the route merge together I saw Mike Harris across the many runners on the opposite side of the road. I didn’t want to waste energy so didn’t alter my route and concentrated on my pace.

Soon I had passed Cutty Sark and now just focusing on my pace and looking for Tower Bridge. As I crossed the bridge the crowds were so loud I could hardy hear the gaggle of Harriers which had made it down to London to show their support. It gave me a massive boost of energy and kept me going. My aim was to keep with the 3hr pacer until 18-19 miles and see how I felt, so after passing half way I tried to relax and get to mile 18.

I passed 18 miles and still felt ok. After about 191/2 miles you run around a roundabout and head in the opposite direction. As I was running away from the roundabout a hear someone shout my name, as I looked across the many runners I could see a fellow Harrier smiling away at me. It was Tim, looking relaxed and running well. As I passed the 20 mile stage a was slowing down and could feel my legs start to feel heavy. All I could hear was Waddi’s voice in my head telling me to “dig deep”. Coming back towards Tower
bridge again the shouts from the many Harriers kept me going and as I passed Lisa, my wife it give me a massive boost just to see her as she was down there by herself and had been in the same position for nearly 4 hours.

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Head back down and tried to pick the pace back up for the last 4 miles but I could just feel twinges of cramp in my legs trying to stop me. Big Ben was a glorious sight as it came into view and I knew I was nearly there. As I saw the 800mt to go sign I started to pick up the pace. That last 800mts felt like 800 miles. As I crossed the line I looked down at my watch and had finished in 3:04:38.

I was really pleased with my time and would defiantly recommend the marathon to everyone who hasn’t done it. The crowds are amazing and keep you going when your feeling tired.

Wigan Harriers Marathon Blitz!

With May drawing to a close it’s time to take stock of how the Club has fared in the spring marathons. An incredible 23 runners competed in four different events – Paris, Manchester, Blackpool and of course London.

PB’s were blown to smithereens, 3 hour barriers broken, Good for age & Championship qualifications for London were all just part of the story.

 

Paris

First up was our solo warrior Paul Platt who flew with the family to Paris for the first marathon. Read Paul’s fantastic report here….Paul Platt

03:24:14 Paul Platt

Although not what he wanted Paul stuck with it and ground out a great 3:24, his first Marathon in a Harriers vest.

 

Manchester

Next up were an incredible 11 runners at Manchester with magnificent entourage of supporters!

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The ladies….

03:10:35 Jayne Taylor V50
03:15:33 April Morgan V45
03:44:00 Annemarie Craven V40

The men….

02:57:06 Howard John Morton Avery
02:58:41 Tony Morgan V45
03:03:18 David Collins V50
03:11:22 Tim Pilkington V40
03:14:45 Mike Harris V40
03:35:27 Stuart Hamilton
03:35:47 Chris Green
04:47:48 Stuart Gibson

I’ve added links below to the brilliant write ups some of the runners compiled.

Tony & April Morgan

Chris Green

Stuart Gibson

Mike Harris & Dave Collins

Howard Avery led the team home with a superlative 2:57:06, not bad considered he was pointing the wrong way at the start. He was chased home by Tony Morgan in an excellent 2:58:41.

There were sparkling PB’s for Howard, Mike Harris, Stuart Hamilton, Chris Green & Stuart Gibson. Tim managed a lie down in his race but still managed to get up again and run home in 3.11 – fantastic!

Tony Morgan, Dave Collins, Tim Pilkington & Mike Harris from the Men all achieved GFA for London if they want it. Whilst with the women both April Morgan & Annemarie Craven managed superb GFA ‘s and Jayne Taylor managed an amazing Championship qualifying 3:10:35. Time will tell whether everyone who qualified for London chooses to take up the option.

 

Blackpool

Whilst his colleagues were in London, Andy crept off to breezy Blackpool and attempted to blast his way into the prizes. Unfortunately some poor marshaling and strong winds scuppered Andy’s chances but he still walked away with an impressive 3:11 & GFA.

AndyRatcliffe

03:11:19 Andy Ratcliffe V45

 

London

Finally watched by many on the television and an impressive number out on the course, ten runners took on the challenge of the London Marathon.

The ladies…

03:14:00 Julie Platt V40
03:41:46 Nina Fisher V35

The men…

02:57:30 Mark Glynn V45
03:02:03 Chris Smullen V40
03:04:25 Chris Burgess
03:08:55 Barry Abram V50
03:17:21 Paul Bryers V35
03:36:22 Colin McEvoy V35
03:41:44 Jonathan Blackburn
04:06:26 Tony Foster V50

The reports….

Nina Fisher

Mark Glynn

Chris Burgess

Chris Smullen

Paul Bryers

All 10 runners acquitted themselves brilliantly. There were a healthy 5 PB’s for the men with a further PB for Nina. Julie Platt managed to achieve a superb championship entry time of 3.14. Nina, Mark, Chris S, Chris B & Barry all achieved GFA. Storming his way up the club records was Mark Glynn, now holding sub three hour marathon times in both the V40 & V45 categories.

It certainly looks likely that 2016 will see another bumper entry into both Manchester & London Marathons. They are both excellent events so whichever you are in you won’t be short of Harriers for company!

A few of my favourite marathon season pictures…

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So how does this leaves the club records for this year..

Club records 2015

 

And very importantly the all time records!

All time records

 

 

London Marathon by Paul Bryers

Just under 2 years ago I had not even ran a 5K race, so why did I find myself on the way to run the London marathon 2 days before my 40th birthday ? 

It’s something that I have always wanted to do and with the guidance of coach Waddi through the last 17 weeks I felt ready for it.

Lisa and I headed down there on the Friday, making a long weekend out of the experience but it didn’t start well with Lisa getting on the tube behind me only for the doors to slam shut, causing her to get stuck in there. Luckily a man in his 70’s jumped to her rescue. I was none the wiser apart from grease all over her pink jacket. ( think I was in the zone !!!)

We were staying in Greenwich so all we did Friday was to have a gentle run around Greenwich park

Saturday consisted of meeting up with Darren, Gaz and Julie along with there partners at the Expo. After that we headed back to the hotel to relax.

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Sunday morning I was up and raring to go. A 5 mins walk and I was at the red start waiting for the gun to go off

My aim was to run at 7min 30’s for at least 15 mile and try and hang on as long as I could. Mile 1 was bang on time, mile 2 I was going too fast so tried to slow down. The rest is a blur up to Cutty Sark where I saw Dave & Jayne cheering me on. The next thing I knew I was running over Tower Bridge. Half way came and I found myself dancing and doing the moves to YMCA as it played from some speakers in the middle of the road. I did laugh to myself at this point thinking something is wrong and I shouldn’t feel this good.
Again the miles past and the next people I saw were Jayne and Dave again, followed by Neil Prescott then Mandy and Darren Bothwick. As I came upto about mile 19 I nearly had a heart attack with the scream from Darren Jackson as he saw me. He was with Lisa and had missed me around mile 7 so I was happy to see them all there.

As I saw Big Ben in the distance I picked it up a bit and as I had 800 mts to go I started to sprint home, only for both legs at the same time to send shooting pains of cramp all the way up. At this point I thought I wasn’t going to make it so slowed back down to my normal pace to finish the course.
As I crossed the finish line I was very emotional. All the pain of those long cold runs had paid off and I had finished in a time I could of only dreamed of when I first started training.

imageI truly had a great weekend and would like to thank everyone for the support down there, Barry for his words of wisdom, Lisa for putting up with all the training, Waddi for the training plan, and my training partners of Darren,Gaz Holland sometimes Nina and Tim, but always Julie.

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Thanks

Paul

London Marathon by Nina Fisher

For all new Marathoners!

A wise old man (let’s just call him Graham) said to me before I started training for the London Marathon “The hardest bit is making it to the start line without getting injured”. Well, 118 days of training and what felt like one day of rest I did make it to the start line for my very first Marathon. I’m not sure how, but I did. It took just over 16 weeks of long Sunday runs; getting frozen hair, wet feet, muddy feet, numb hands, many slips, trips and falls, hailstones straight in the eyeball, swallowing midges and sometimes with Chris Burgess for company.

A week before my Marathon I had the pleasure of watching some of Wigan Harriers Endurance’s finest and Dave Collins compete in the Greater Manchester Marathon. I thought that this would be a good and inspiring way to get me mentally prepared for my challenge the following week. This was up until my very own fiancé decided to run so hard that his body packed in. However, he still managed to clock 3:11:22, not too shabby considering he had a lie down at 20 miles before getting back up and limping to the finish line. I spent the next few days looking after him and secretly thinking “OMG, OMG, OMG I’m not going to be able to do this”.

The weekend finally came for us to set off for London, I was very nervous and a bit snappy, and Tim will back me up on this I’m sure. I was fully prepared for the Marathon thanks to the excellent coaching from the oracle herself Jacqui Jones, I just didn’t believe it. I wasn’t going to believe it until I actually set off on race day. Sunday finally arrived; it was a very early start which began with choking down porridge in my hotel room, then gagging on a banana. I was told by another very wise man (we’ll call this one Barry) to make sure I got plenty sleep the night before and a good breakfast on the day. I got the breakfast but not the sleep; but that is another story.

With Barry, Julie and Tim as my mentors and guides we set off on the train to the start, nobody tells you how bloody far away it is and how many times you will convince yourself you need the loo on the way. Soon I had to leave Barry and Julie and head to the blue start alone (well after I had consoled Tim and wiped the tears away from his face and told him he would be fine without me for a couple of hours). So there I was, alone and about to start the London Marathon. I was calm, I was prepared, I had dropped my bag and was about to have some quiet time before heading to the starting pen. That’s when I saw him, bounding toward me like a giant puppy Labrador with red shorts on; Chris Burgess! So my peaceful start was about to be interrupted with tales of female urinals, a curry for one and him asking a man dressed as a giant telephone if he could ring his mum. But on a serious note it was comforting to see a fellow Harrier even if it was ‘Crazy Horses’.

I nervously made my way to the starting pen, ready to go. It really is an amazing atmosphere and a fantastic marathon for a first timer, and I was about to find out first hand. On setting off I was surprised by the sheer number of people around me, there was no danger of me setting off too fast, it was just so congested; people did spread out eventually and a few miles in I was able to relax and enjoy the race and atmosphere. The most amazing thing about the London Marathon is that the whole 26.2 miles of the course is lined with supporters; sometimes 10 deep. I almost missed the Harriers support crew at the Cutty Sark because it was so loud and busy.
I soaked up as much of the atmosphere as I could and the early miles ticked by, I had made it to the half way point, London Bridge and only 3 minutes behind schedule (which given the slow start I was pleased with). At this point my race strategy, given to me by Tim, was to only think about the next mile, not what I had done and certainly not to think about what was left.
It’s a bit of blur from 14 to 20 miles, I remember very little except hearing Waddie but missing everyone else at 17 miles. Then I saw ‘The Borthwicks’ at Canary Wharf, oh and there was the idiot who tripped me up at 19 miles. I was overjoyed at getting to 20 miles, and rather stupidly, for the first time broke my strategy and said in my head “only 10k left”. Quite possibly the biggest mistake I made all day. 10k is a long way after 20 miles, 20 to 23 miles was the hardest point of the whole race. I believe I was spotted ‘having a word with myself’ by the Kaufmans who both thought I was “chatting”. I knew I was slowing and there was nothing I could do about it. With hindsight, I was being soft, I could have just suffered a little and kept the pace up but I was scared of blowing up completely. However, I managed to complete mile 23 and somehow get a second wind, I picked up got back on pace and made it to the end unscathed (well except for almost having to hurdle a photographer with 385 yards to go) in a time of 3:41:46.

You go through a strange feeling at the end of marathon; sort of joy, relief, an overwhelming sense of achievement and absolute agony. It’s like your legs have forgotten how to walk, I couldn’t turn my head around because my shoulders and neck had seized; much to Dave Collins’ amusement. I could walk in straight lines, but couldn’t get up and down curbs, I certainly couldn’t scale the foot high fence that everyone had decided to stand behind by the W in the meet and greet area ( F for Fisher was the closest meet and greet area, everyone decided to meet at W, I bet you can guess how far away that was). I’m ashamed to say that when I finally made it there I burst in to tears!
All in all it was a brilliant experience, and 1 week later I can honestly say I loved it!

Thanks to everyone for their support along the course. Thanks to Barry (my guru) who was brilliant in the weeks leading up to London. Thanks to Julie for looking after me on the morning of the race. Massive thanks to Jacqui for the best coaching ever and lastly to Tim for putting up with me when I was not very loveable!

Well done to everyone else who ran at London and Manchester, some outstanding achievements and what a superb club to be part of.

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London Marathon by Chris Smullen

I’ve been running for about 7 years now and for the first 6 years I’ve avoided any injury or even minor niggle. Not surprisingly, that lucky streak had to come to an end and the past 12 months have been littered with ups & downs injury wise. I started 2015 with 3 weeks on the couch with my feet up, getting more frustrated and fed up…….I knew I needed to rest my injuries but I missed running and it was driving me crazy. Late in January I faced a simple decision, pull out of the London Marathon or push on through the injury and take the consequences. Against professional advice, I took the latter option……..

Come race day on 26th April, I was 80% fit and wished I had a couple more 20 mile runs under my belt but I’m sure I was not alone with those feelings…….the path to a marathon never runs smoothly in my experience. After clocking 3.04 at last year’s event I was in the “good for age” section for the first time……..Wow, I felt like an elite athlete. No queues for the toilet, a marquee to get changed out of the drizzle & cold and a starting position just yards from the start line. After this experience, I had already decided that a sub 3.05 (to get this again next year) was a minimum goal for the day!

On the start line, just 2 rows ahead was a fellow harrier who I didn’t even know was planning to compete, Mark Glynn. It was nice to see a familiar face and we set off together for the first mile or two. Inevitably, we drifted apart in the crowds but I would see Mark again later in the race. The great thing about the “good for age” start is that most people are aiming for a similar time so it was relatively easy to drift along with the sea of runners without having to weave and waste energy. Passing through landmarks like cutty sark and tower bridge brought a smile to my face and reminded me why I love this race so much. The crowds were great and as big as ever, despite the dull & cold conditions, and it’s the atmosphere that has dragged me back 6 years in a row.

I passed half way in just over 1.28 (vs. a target of 1.27.30) so all good and feeling strong. In the past I have struggled with the “no mans land” of the London Marathon (miles 13 to 20) but this year I just zoned out and kept going. Mark Glynn tapped me on the shoulder at 16 miles and we ran together again for around a mile. He was ok, but complained of heavy legs………then eased away from me…….wish I had heavy legs like Mark, I thought!

As they say, mile 20 is the real start of the race and I got here in 2.16 something (vs. a target of 2.15) so not a disaster and all to play for. At mile 21 the runners world 3hr pacer eased alongside. In previous years this has been a challenge mentally for me but I didn’t panic. I raised my game and kept with him for a couple of miles before he started to pull away. This wasn’t going to phase me, I just needed to concentrate on my own race and my goal.
By mile 24 I was starting to suffer, but a sub 3 was still possible……….however, by mile 25 I needed a Paula Radcliffe style last sprint! Into horse guards parade and the signs came thick in fast…….800m to go, 600m to go, 400m to go (at this point my watch clocked 3 hrs)…….in sight of the palace and just one corner from the finish and my ideal goal had gone. Nevertheless, I knew a good PB was on the cards and pushed on to a 3.02 finishing time………queue huge emotion and tears. I cry every year at the finish and I’m never quite sure why……..sheer relief I think!

Hopefully it will be lucky 7 next year and I will finally join that sub 3hr club. Well done to all the harriers at London, Manchester and other spring marathon venues. I was delighted to see that Mark had pushed on and achieved his PB of 2.57 – great effort!

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London Marathon 2013 Report – Chris’ Story

Before joining the harriers in June 2012, I had been pounding the streets solo for about 4 years, gradually improving my marathon time each year in London. The main reason for joining the club was to meet like minded people and to take my running on to the next level. This year’s event would be the yard stick to see exactly how much the training and support from my fellow club runners had taken me.  The PB to beat was 3.23 set in the capital 12 months ago…….

Winter training had gone very well, supported by Andy Ecc’s tried and tested plan and having a training partner (Neil Prescott) really helped on the long, cold runs. The morning weather report confirmed perfect running conditions, so the list of pre-race excuses was now fully depleted! Continue reading

London Marathon 2012 – Darrens Story

Wigan Harriers own Darren Jackson lined up in London for his first attempt at the 26.2 distance after solid training build up. Running for the Ron Pickering Trust the pressure was on for our Marathon debutante, and Darren confessed to feeling the nerves jangling as he waited for the off at Blackheath.

Super Darren and trusty sidekick Wonder Platt

He set off at a good pace and passed through the half marathon point in an impressive 1:38. It was at this point that a niggling hip flexor issue begin to make itself known. A drop in pace allowed him to continue until accosting a St Johns Ambulance volunter who he press-ganged into performing a hip flexor sports massage, (something of a change from their normal duties handing out vaseline and plasters!).

At 19 miles the marathon begin to bite and Darren was locked into the mental battle familiar to so many distance runners when the body wants to give up but the will to finish drives us on. Darren wasn’t about to admit defeat after logging all those tough Winter training miles, and he focussed on the advice given before the race by fellow Wigan Harriers to run through the tired legs and enjoy it.

The last 10k were a mix of pain and joy as he fially crossed the line to record a 3:51:50. It may not have been the time he hoped for but the row of blisters on every toe end is testimony to the effort and determination it took to run through agony, (and a sign that he needs bigger running shoes too!). His fellow passengers in the first class carriage back to Wigan may not have been as impressed as he displayed his war wounds on the way home though…

The last we saw of Darren he was jetting off to Lanzarote to bathe his weary feet in the sea, but he sent his thanks to Dave the coach and the rest of the Wigan Harriers Endurance Group for all their help and support on the way to his first Marathon finish. Super-Darren will surely be back to run another 26.2 in the not too distant future….

London Marathon 2012 – Daves Story

Marathon day was going smooth, Dave Waddington (your writer), Jacqui Jones, Julie Platt and Barry Abram had all made it to the start in good time after a 7:30 meet at Euston tube station.  Jacqui and Julie went their separate ways to their start pens (Jacqui to Blue and Julie to Green good for age), whilst Dave and Barry went off to the “Red fast good for age” start pen.

But no sooner had they got to the entrance than they split up as Barry nipped off to the bushes saying “I’ve got a weak bladder”, rather than go in and queue for the loos inside. So I was left on my own for 40 mins with about another 2000 runners. A couple of visits to the loos and getting gels into position meant the time soon passed. The final visit to the loo was I’m sure courtesy of a “Beetroot shot” I’d just downed that Jacqui and Julie had brought back from the marathon exhibition the day before. They were sold on the sales patter “perfect for marathon day”.  With about 15 mins to race start I took my place in the start pens. There was a fair bit of chatter about what pace or time people where hoping for, I heard a “6:15 pace” and then “going for 2:45”, I felt that maybe shouldn’t have managed to get so close to the front.
It was 09:45 and we were off, I missed the first mile marker (how could you), the 2nd mile came, 13:45, right on target. I went through the first 4 miles at 6:50’s pace (sub 3 hour pace allowing for a few dropped minutes in the 2nd half), then at Cutty Sark I caught Tracey Dutton up. “Alright Trace” I said, the reply was something like “….too fast”, I couldn’t hear with all the shouting from the speccys.

I managed the same pace up to mile 9 then spotted Barry Abram just in front, I went wide past Barry I don’t think he spotted me (he had his dark glasses on).  Then got to mile 10 and all of a sudden I thought this is feeling a bit hard already. Would it be an early bad patch I’d run through, or was the dream of sub 3 gone already?  Half way came in 1:29 and realism hit: now it was a question of how much past 3 hours would I go.

Each mile was counted off “get to 20 then 10k only left” I told myself . At about 15 mile a runner with a stick appeared on my shoulder and I thought “whose this **** in fancy dress?”. Then I realised he was a pacer for an even 3 hour target and I almost got knocked over y by the scrum following him.  From that point on it was a real slog, the Docklands Railway stops were getting more and more inviting; I was having a good argument with myself to stop jumping on the next train. The 20 mile marker came, 10k to go, I thought of all sorts of incentives and justifications to keep at it (at that point I’d have probably dealt with the devil). I felt a spasm of cramp in my hamstring and my pace slowed  more, I realised it was going to be an even bigger slog to the end.

After about a mile my cramp eased and I ran on in what seemed like 10 min mile pace but it was probably 8 min mile. As the miles crawled by I started to think about Barry, Tracey and what about Kevin Edwards, I’d seen him in the start area briefly as we passed in the loo queue. I thought it wasn’t a matter of if, but who would be first to come past me. What about Jacqui and Julie as well?  Just after 23 miles the tunnel at the Embankment came, (lots of runners escape from the crowds here and  walk in peace). I can’t stop, I thought, I’ll never get going again.

I was on the way up the slope to the exit an heard “Come on Dave”. It was Barry, “I’m knackered” he said as he drifted past me effortlessly.  I thought get with him and tried to go a bit faster, then bang, cramp in my left hamstring, I had to stop a walk for about 10 yards then hobbled on and saw the 24 mile mark. I looked at the clock, I had about 25 mins to get under 3:15 my “good for age” qualifying time.  I was desperate to get under that time, so off I went shuffling along feeling sorry for myself.

Birdcage Walk eventually came then a sign “800m to go”; nearly there – dig in only 2 laps of the track to go”. Then after what seemed like an age came a sign 600m to go. Runners poured past me with their last spurts to the line. I looked at the clock and shuffled my way in to a time of 3:09:28. I was very pleased to get under 3:15 but boy did I ache: every step was met with a bolt of cramp. Barry was leaning on a barrier “3:07” was his reply to my inevitable question. He said “it was hot, and it was a lot hillier than I’d remembered” I agreed wholeheartedly.