Thursday, April 29, 2010

Final report

I'm back in Cape Town, so here's the final report. The official time stands at 3:57.34, with fairly even splits. I'm very happy to be inside 4 hours, and trying to go a bit faster is probably the only reason I'd do this again.

The event is an amazing feat of logistics, with 36,000 runners and thousands of spectators lining the route. There were jazz bands, rock bands, people handing out food to complete strangers, it was amazing. Having your name on your shirt helps as much as everyone says - having people cheer you by name all the way round is great. My faithful supporters were at the Red Cross cheering point at about 25 miles, which was something to look forward to. They gleefully told me that while waiting for me to go past they saw a guy with one leg, a bloke dressed as a banana, and a couple of fairies. They also say I looked quite strong at that point, but you can judge for yourself from the pictures below.

Many thanks to everyone who turned out, sponsored me, sent me their good wishes, and listened to all my tedious running chat for the last 6 months.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm finished!

It's all over: 3:57.34 according to this page. I managed to run pretty consistently throughout judging by the split times: 1:58 for the first half and 1:59 for the second. Perhaps I could have started faster, but I'm very happy to have broken the four hour mark. The Red Cross reception was great - at a hotel so posh it had a TV in the shower. Now I'm back at Stu's, a bit stiff, but looking forward to a few beers.

Can't wait to get back to the family on Wednesday morning, but two nights in the pub between now and then...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ready to go

I am in London and ready to run! I was on the first scheduled flight out of Joburg after they re-opened Heathrow. It didn't feel real until I got to the registration, but they gave me my number and it suddenly hit me that I'd made it. I've got my stuff all laid out in my bedroom at Stu's house: shoes, socks, shorts, and Red Cross vest with my name carefully ironed onto the front, and the number pinned on. An easy day today, and then tomorrow it happens. Every so often I get a shot of nerves, so goodness knows what it's going to be like standing on the starting line.

Six months of work, and it all comes down to tomorrow. Apparently it's going to be hot for London, which equates to somewhere around 20 degrees, so I shouldn't freeze. That's comfortably cool, so ideal for a good time, although I'm still not really sure howfast I can run. I'd be disappointed to be over 4 hours, and very chuffed with anything under 3:45. All the good advice I've had says to run the first half slowly, so that has to be the plan. Maybe about 1:55 for the first half, then see how I feel at about 20 miles. I really don't know: it's unknown territory. Watch out for me on TV - I'll be the guy in the white had with the red cross on top.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

All my bags are packed

...I'm ready to go - la di da - cos I'm leaving on a jet plane..!

BA's brinkmanship paid off. According to Sky last night they had two dozen planes on the way into Heathrow well before the airport was re-opened. Willie Walsh was daring the CAA to divert him to airports 200 miles away while London remained closed. Whatever, it worked, and SAA at the moment think they're flying tonight. At least the head of customer services does. The woman on the swithcboard thinks there's a volcano erupting in London and all flights are cancelled for the foreseeable. I suggested she check the news.

So all plans, bets etc. are back on, and now I have to get my head around running on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flights and plights

103 hours of training. Just worked that one out. Tonnes of fresh produce rotting in Kenya for lack of a flight kind of puts it in perspective, although it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

So it looks like "Not the London Marathon" may be on. We are going to need:
  • Runners: Bruno & me so far, with one or two tentative extras
  • Family and supporters / sponsors to man water tables: several volunteers, and we can always
  • A route: 2 options so far: either to/from Hout Bay up the coast to Cape Town, then round and back towards Rondebosch or Newlands, OR to/from Hout Bay via Chappies, Fish Hoek, Constantia, to Groot Constantia. One takes us through Woodstock etc, the other over Chappies, so neither is perfect.
  • A T-shirt designer - offers / ideas?
  • Water, Energade, gels etc.
  • Other stuff I haven't thought of yet
It can't be too big, or we need permissions - probably a maximum of about 20 runners. Any suggestions?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sodding volcanoes

After 6 months and over 1100km of training, I am in the hands of meteorologists and the air traffic controllers. I've been focused on next Sunday since October, and it looks as though I may be on the wrong contintent when the gun goes. As John Cleese said after his taxi ride home from Norway: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". At this stage it's still touch & go whether my flight to London will leave on Wednesday night or not. Frustrating doesn't even begin to describe it.

The latest from another of those bodies I hadn't heard of a week ago is this:
... the latest Met Office advice is that the contaminated area will continue to move south with the possibility that restrictions to airspace above England and Wales, including the London area, may be lifted later tomorrow (Tuesday).
That sounds to me like some small cause for optimism, so we wait and hope.

If I don't make my flight, then I am planning to run "Not the London Marathon", which will be a 42.2km run (26 miles etc.) somewhere around the Cape Peninsula. Potential runners so far are me, Bruno, a few friends if we can talk them into it, and anyone else who is stuck here when they wanted to be running in London. With a bit of luck and work, we can get some T-shirts made, a bit of press coverage, and some nice sponsorship. Families will be manning water tables, and we can finish at a suitable pub. Let me know if you're in a similar position and keen to run. Watch this space...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I've made it!

The fundraising target, that is - many thanks to Alex for helping me over the line. And to everyone else who got me to the line in the first place. The bubble to the right should now say 100%.

Now all I have to do is run...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

After the pain

As my running winds down, I can start to think about what happens after the run. For all my sponsors & supporters, there is a Red Cross cheering point, and a reception. The Cheering point is at the junction of Victoria Embankment and Northumberland Avenue. The reception is at the Royal Horseguards Thistle Hotel, One Whitehall Place. Runners have priority on food & drink (it says here on the official Red Cross thing!).

Map below:

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm back!

It's been a bit quiet round here lately, as I've been on holiday. I did my last long run: 32km on my own in Plett. It's quite hard work running alone for that distance, but the family cruised by in the car a couple of times to cheer me on. I'm looking forward to similar levels of support on the big day, although it will have to be from UK based supporters.

So now I'm in the tapering period, when the longest run shrinks to an hour, and all the things I've read suggest that I will start to get my energy back, and be straining at the leash. Any moment now...

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I'm on holiday! Down the garden route with the family for 10 days or so. The thing is, the holiday atmosphere and the spartan, driven, hard core running thing don't really mix. I always find myself collapsing into a holiday, and discover that as soon as my body gets a chance it wants to rest all day. Running a lot doesn't help. I managed two 12km runs in the week, but getting my trainers on and getting out there took more self inflicted arse kicking than it normally does. This morning I was going to do about 25km or so, but we all overslept, and that plan has now turned into 30-35km tomorrow morning. That's probably a better option - I need to feel that I've done one more long run before the day, and this is the last chance I've got.

I had a chat with a friend who ran the Two Oceans yesterday, and he agreed that since we are both natural athletes (!), we probably need less training than most people. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. So: 30-something tomorrow, then a couple of days off, then some runs on the beach. Hopefully.