It must be possible! Key points included that the marathon is not like a parkrun apparently! Water is for drinking not pouring over your head — but there are showers on the way round! Participants were forwarned about female urinals they are not for all and reminded there are loos en route — the first set just one mile in, which is worth remembering. Bring an old jumper or bin bag for the start that you can discard when you get moving. It takes a while for so many people to get moving.
Key landmarks were pointed out which are great markers of distance traveled en route for Sunday, but also, more importantly, helpful preparation for me too, as I was planning to attend the marathon-themed parkrun at Southwark the following day. Both are in the kit bags. The kit bag is the most common item of lost property at the Expo!
That is both understandable given how frenetic the build up is, but also alarming. If you are going yourself next year, hang onto that bag. Trust no-one, relinquish it to no-one. If you are a supporter, carry it at your peril. I think the runner has to take ownership of that for themself. Not only can they deal with cramp and blisters and patch you up to carry on.
They can also give out supportive hugs as part of their job description. Now that is good to know. Most of us surely appreciate a hug on a long run. I hugged every marshal en route of the Round Sheffield Run last year.
How excellent this is an accepted part of the medics remit for the London marathon. They clearly know their runners on this route march. Good top tips. One let down, was the reality check that when you finish, you will gather up your goodie bag, and then head to the bag drop.
As you approach, a volunteer will already be holding out your bag for you. Then to horse guards, and there is a gathering area. If arranging to meet others, the advice is to factor in say 20 minutes to cross the start line and maybe 15 minutes or so to get to the rendezvous. There are loads of flags with letters. You can be unoriginal and choose the first letter of your first name say, but if you want to avoid a crowd then maybe X marks the spot. Not likely to have too many Xmen and women running. Well worth knowing that, forewarned could save a considerable amount of marathon meet-up related angst.
As well as the top tips, there was a bit of history too. We were shown a picture of the mile 9 mark back in I think with no spectators at all, and then the same shot last year. Fair to say interest has grown! It is an extraordinary phenomenon indeed! There followed a nutrition talk, which was probably a bit too late in the day for most. No midnight pizza and pasta fests after all. However in a marathon you probably are going to drain reserves, replenishing that requires planning and forethought. Curses, not my forte.
What was interesting, or was to me anyway, is that these pacers just literally aim to do the same speed for every mile. Quite different from pacers in Sheffield events who have to factor in the killer hills. Despite the big team of pacers they might still be hard to spot in such a massive field, so good to know they are out there, but if you want to find one, head to the back of your particular pen.
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Note to self for next year, I probably do need to consciously start to think about pacing. At the Expo one stand had wrist bands with cumulative times for each mile according to target times. Handy, and not difficult to do. Beyond that I think you must be on your own. The final speaker for the 4. Well, dear reader, I can report I thought he was a brilliant motivational speaker.
I was really impressed. I daresay none of his points are actually all that original but his presentation was great. He used photos to illustrate key points. For example the importance of paying attention to kit, showing a nicely relaxing well kitted out runner pre race and a collapsing mankini wearing runner who may have been having some fancy dress regrets post race.
Nicely memorable:. As the mankini shot went up, the guy next to me suddenly came to life. It was indeed his bare buttocks magnified on screen above! In fact I just took a surreptitious one of him as he walked away. Is that inappropriate? Probably, but, tenuous as it is, it might be my only claim to fame for the weekend, so in this post it goes! Sorry I blew it people, I just bottled it. An opportunity that passed me by….
I will report that at one point his children stormed the stage which was endearing rather than annoying. It was not quite on a par with that serious TV news interview photo bombed by toddlers the other month , but it was fun to behold all the same. All the speakers emphasised this point.
Runners were also urged that if they fall victim to their own negative internal voice the secret is to look outwards. Notice the crowds, even get inspiration from looking at the wrecks of other runners around you who are also struggling. Remind yourself if they can still put one foot in front of another then so too can you…. Harsh, but true!
You entered, you can do it. And all that cheering by crowds lining the way?
Just make sure you have your name on your shirt to guarantee some personalised support when the going gets tough… and it will. So, upshot is, the talks were great, I learnt loads, and I do think it will help me to look back on all these pearls of wisdom next year.
It blooming better be. Talks over, I went back to ambling about. Taking in the stands. I also had a beetroot shot. Not sure about that, I like beetroot a lot, but as a food rather than juice. I always forget beetroot does that to me. I was flagging by now, so took advantage of a stand that had some massage machines and just stayed there for ages, having a mechanical back rub.
As we changed tubes, you could start to see other fellow runners also on their way there. It reminded me of our journey to the Boston Expo last year as we just followed the other runners to the Excel.
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He was such a nice guy but very nervous. Also very cool as he worked for F1! It was fairly quiet about 11am Friday of which I was grateful for. I was really surprised at how cheap the Adidas marathon jacket was. It was a great Expo. I spotted a few people I knew; one of the organisers from the Sports Tour International company who went on the Tokyo trip, the lovely Sarah and Dan from the Xempo kit stand and my friend Ade.
Nice to see lots of friendly faces.
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I was happy enough with the photos I got! We were in and out in an hour and hopped back on the tube to head to Covent Garden for some lunch. We decided on Monmouth Kitchen , which looked rather good from Trip Advisor and from general outside appearances. It was tapas, so the portions were obviously very small. However, I did enjoy it the presentation and taste were amazing and my mum really liked it. For pudding we both got chocolate rolled in these crispy spring roll-style pancake things with coconut and passion fruit sorbet. Very tasty, but again very small portions. We then did some shopping.
There are special desks at the Running Show for international runners to register — these are clearly marked. Whatever your target time may be, the Runner's World Pace Team will be on hand to help you achieve your goal. Find your pace setter for the Virgin Money London Marathon at runnersworld. After you have collected your belongings, you should move away from the baggage lorry area as quickly as possible. Please leave the secure area via the designated exit point only. There is a runner meet and greet area where you will be able to meet your friends and family at one of the meeting points on The Mall and in Horse Guards Roads and Horse Guards Parade.
These meeting points will be marked with letters of the alphabet, so you can arrange to meet at your family initial or another pre-arranged letter. International runners have their own dedicated meet and greet area in The Mall, close to Admiralty Arch. If you secured a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon but are unable to take part on the day, find out what to do to run in Start Times Buxton Natural Mineral Water Every mile after mile 3 through to 25, apart from miles 7 and 11, where Lucozade Sport is available.
Water is supplied in ml race bottles with a flip-top Lucozade Sport Available at miles 7, 11, 15, 19 and 23 Lucozade Sport Carbo Gel stations can be found on The Highway at miles 14 and Compostable cups Three Drinks Stations will be trialling compostable cups instead of bottles this year. Recycling We work to recycle as many bottles as we can and you can help.
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Getting to the start A map of the start and the three coloured Start Zones is available to download below. You can get to your designated start area via the following transport options: By car We DO NOT advise competitors to travel by car, but if there is no other alternative you should remember the following: Roads in the area will close at There is NO parking in the vicinity of the finish. Follow this link to apply for a coach pass The deadline for coach pass applications is Friday 29 March Kitbags and baggage lorries The PA systems at each start area will tell you when to put your kitbag onto the appropriate baggage vehicle in the start area.
If you do not register at the Running Show you cannot race.