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Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

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Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  KBFitz on Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:18 pm

Last year I set a Personal Best marathon time of 3:11:51 in London. So I enrolled in this year’s event seeking to better that time. But travel and brutal weather interrupted my training so frequently this winter that I was in no shape to take a serious shot at another PB. Instead, I pledged to run easy with no time goal and to see the sights.

As it was last year, race day Sunday April 13th was sunny and brilliant. Temperatures rose from 52°F at the start to 60°F at 2pm with constant 6mph westerly winds. Once again we were cautioned not to wee in people’s gardens on our way into Greenwich Park. And there was no need as each start area included urinals in addition to porta-johns. Why don’t all large races do this? Big city marathon directors should take note—urinals considerably shorten porta-john queues.


The start was somewhat congested. But this was expected. Flow improved after runners from all three start areas converged. By the time we circled the Cutty Sark (just beyond 10K) it was clear sailing. And a Ska band added some pepper to our step. Cool runnin’s. 


At the Cutty Sark (6.6 miles)

I ran in the colours of my running club this year. Serpentine takes its name from the lake that snakes through Hyde Park. Heading into Surrey Quays (15K) we were treated to the lively vibes of two steel bands. Somewhere in Rotherhithe (before 20K) a fellow Serpie passed me. I could have stayed with him but I was running easy and didn’t want to push it. I told him my race begins at 20 miles. He said he’d watch for me.


Tower Bridge (20K) was a real treat, packed deep with spectators. I didn’t see the Tower of London last year. No wonder. It’s not a tower really. It’s a classic low-lying white structure that may have a small tower somewhere on its campus. I crossed the half marathon point at 1:39:01—five minutes slower than last year—taking it easy and feeling good.


I got the see how the elite race was unfolding in my mile 14. The race leaders came toward me early in their 22nd mile on the highway. Two Kenyans were at the front followed by two more Africans within 30 seconds. Kebede was a minute back and looked very strong. Mo Farah was two minutes back running alone surrounded by a perpetual rolling cheer from a massive crowd as he passed. Exhilarating!


As I approached the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs the leaders of the men’s elite race were finishing. As he did last year, Kebede remained strong through the finish. But unlike last year, that would not be good enough to take the race. Wilson Kipsang set a course record in 2:04:29, followed by fellow Kenyan Stanley Biwott in second and Tsegaye Kebede in third. Mo Farah placed 8th nearly 4 minutes back in his debut marathon. The Women’s race concluded with a thrilling sprint finish between two Kenyans. Edna Kiplagat took the race in 2:20:21, beating Florence Kiplagat by 3 seconds.


Meanwhile, I was winding my way easy-peasy through Docklands. A world class steel band was in full groove in Heron Quays (just over 18 miles into the race). They were so good I was tempted to stay and dance a while. With my race slated to begin at mile 20 though, I resisted the temptation. But I’ve got to say that the pulse of steel bands on course was really great stuff.


At mile 20 on Poplar High Street I put the hammer down. I pushed the pace for two miles through Limehouse and onto the Highway at Shadwell. It was great fun to pass everyone in sight. But even though I had taken it easy for 20 miles the distance still takes its toll. At mile 22 I threw in the towel and returned to an easy pace. I was simply enjoying myself too much. Past the Tower of London and London Bridge, through Blackfriars, onto the Embankment, past Westminster and into St. James Park the crowds we enormous, growing and vocal.


Then on Birdcage Walk, within sight of the ‘600 metres to go’ sign, a fellow runner crumbled to the asphalt not too far in front of me. It would be a great shame to come so far and not finish. So I stopped and offered to walk him in. With his arm around my shoulders we gave it a go.


Birdcage Walk in St. James Park (25.8 miles)

But he was quite wobbly and could not hold his own weight. So we sat him down for a few minutes, made him drink and tried again. Still, no go. So I left him with the marshals. He was soon thereafter in the capable hands of the St. John’s Ambulance Corps. He was treated in the med tent and returned to the course, running the last 800 metres unassisted. If interested, you may read the story (posted April 15th) on the Serpies facebook page: www.facebook.com/serpies

Even though I wasn’t able to help him, it was well worth stopping and trying. I’m most pleased that he got the medical treatment he needed and completed the marathon. All-in-all the episode took about 5 minutes—nothing really in the grand scheme of things. I crossed the finish line in 3:29:20, not beat up at all from the journey.



Finish (26.2 miles)

After the race I joined my good friend Wendy Addae at Goat Tavern on Kensington High Street for grub and a few pints. Just the ticket to close out a fine day!


I’ve now run four of the six Marathon Majors at least twice each. [I have not run Berlin or Tokyo and have no intention to run either.] While Boston, Chicago, New York and London is each unique and worthy, London is the only Major to get two thumbs up from me. It’s a fast course and no detail is overlooked. Kudos to the organizers.
 
Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 Official Splits
Split  Time Of Day  Time   min/km  min/mile
Start  10:00:20 AM   0:00:00               
.  5K  10:22:31 AM   0:22:12   4:27   07:09
. 10K  10:46:03 AM   0:45:44   4:43   07:34
. 15K  11:09:58 AM   1:09:38   4:47   07:42
. 20K  11:34:07 AM   1:33:48   4:50   07:47
.HALF  11:39:20 AM   1:39:01   4:46   07:39
. 25K  11:58:20 AM   1:58:00   4:52   07:50
. 30K  12:23:25 PM   2:23:05   5:01   08:04
. 35K  12:48:01 PM   2:47:41   4:56   07:55
. 40K   1:14:13 PM   3:13:54   5:15   08:26
Finish  1:29:40 PM   3:29:20   7:02   11:19
 
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  fostever on Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:27 pm

Good Samaritan! Good job Kevin, looked like a perfect day.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:06 am

Great job Kevin. Good Karma for helping that gentleman out. Congrats on the race. Looks like a good experience.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Paula Sue on Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:40 am

You are a hero.  Stopping to help a failing runner when the end is so near puts you on the win list in my book.  Loved your report...and your mind set.  Congrats on another London done!
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:45 am

Congrats Kevin, great race and tremendous act of kindness. I would expect no less from you! Hope to see you this weekend
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Jerry on Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:11 am

Kevin runs strong and with good heart!
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  ounce on Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:18 pm

Great job, Kevin.  But you didn't wear the white cowboy hat that shows you're helpful.  Maybe next year.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Seth Harrison on Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:49 pm

If you were going to run easy with no time goal, you should have been in Boston pacing me again!!!!!

More seriously, no surprise that you were the one to stop and assist another runner.
Thanks for taking us along on what looks like a really fun marathon.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  jon c on Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:02 pm

Another great report and story from you, Kevin.  Congrats on the race, and on your efforts to help a fellow runner.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Julie on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:50 pm

Great job! Great you could stop and help another runner, too. I'm glad he was able to finish.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Mark B on Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:38 pm

Well done on the race, Kevin! And as for the act of kindness... well, we've come to expect no less from you. Bravo.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Matt W on Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:32 am

That was another typical Kevin report:  a good read, a solid performance that makes running 26.2 sound as fun as it can be, and a selfless act to help someone out.  Great job. 

Hopefully, I'll see you sometime in the near future, either at a race or wherever life may have our paths intersect.
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  KBFitz on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:03 am

@fostever wrote:looked like a perfect day.
And it was perfect!
@Alex Kubacki wrote:Great job Kevin. Good Karma.
Thanks Alex, good Karma indeed.
@Paula Sue wrote:Loved your report...and your mind set.
Thanks Paula Sue. It's great fun to run without a time goal.
Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Congrats Kevin, great race and tremendous act of kindness.
And congrats to you on a well run Boston! Good to see you yesterday.
@Jerry wrote:Kevin runs strong and with good heart!
Running strong is good for the heart I am told.

@ounce wrote:But you didn't wear the white cowboy hat.
I would have but the other fancy dress folks going for World Records had me beat.

@Seth Harrison wrote:If you were going to run easy with no time goal, you should have been in Boston pacing me again!!!!!
I know. But you did famously by taking us with you via GoPro. Well done Seth!
@jon c wrote:Another great report and story.
Thanks Jon. Sorry I didn't get to see you in Boston this year.
@Julie wrote:Great job! I'm glad he was able to finish.
So am I!
@Mark B wrote: Bravo.
Thanks Mark. All the best.
@Matt W wrote:a good read, a solid performance and a selfless act.
Good to hear from you again Matt. Hope to see you at an event some time soon!

And now for something completely different. Here is the difference over the last 7km between last year and this year.
Last year                              This year
         
V
ive la différence!
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  Chris M on Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:01 pm

Great report, great race, and check out the further details on the story of what Kevin did for that guy at the very end...

Now, as to why I'm reading all this on 365 and Facebook and not hearing it told me in person in DC as we do a run together, well, that's a bone of contention!  Let's get together soon and catch up!


Our President received a message of thanks to a Serpie Samaritan at Sunday's London Marathon. The thank you and Serpie story are well worth sharing:
"I wondered if you could pass on my thanks to a serpentine runner who helped me at the end of the London Marathon yesterday. I apologise to the damage I may have done to his finishing time, but his assistance was greatly appreciated! If you can let hi...
m know, that I survived and after 2 hours in the medical tent managed to complete the last 800m and finish, I'd be most appreciative."

It turns out that the Serpentine Good Samaritan is Kevin Fitzgerald. Kevin says:
"It is very good to know that Steven is alright and that he was able to complete the marathon after a lengthy stay in the med tent. He was not alone. There were plenty of runners down in the last few miles.

Since my training has been sub-par this winter, I was taking it easy, enjoying myself and had no time goal. He went down in sight of the '600 metres to go' sign. Now every one of us would be bitterly disappointed if we did not finish after covering very nearly 26 miles! So my response was not remarkable. I did what runners do. I stopped and offered to walk him in.

After getting some water into him, I hoisted him up and draped his arm over the back of my neck. But he was too far gone to hold his own weight. So we sat on the curb for a few more minutes and tried again. At this point it was clear that he was fading and w ould need a gurney or wheel chair. So I left him with the marshals and trusted that he would soon be in the hands of the ambulance corps. Indeed, it appears he was. And that's what matters."
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Re: Virgin Money London Marathon 2014

Post  KBFitz on Sun May 04, 2014 4:40 pm

@Chris M wrote:Now, as to why I'm reading all this on 365 and Facebook and not hearing it told me in person in DC as we do a run together, well, ...
Uh Oh ... looks like I'm in the dog-house. And with a DC summer coming soon it could get hot in there. Run or race, your pick. I'm running the National Police Week 5K this Saturday. Wanna come down to the National building Museum and join me?
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