Race report by Dave Phillips.
Well here we go again on what was my 28th London. As usual the coach picked us up at the Coventry Hill Hotel on the A45 at 09:00 hrs on Saturday and although there were only 17 on it, 8 were Massey runners and families. Top again eh?
The Excel Centre where we collected our numbers was absolutely manic-maybe too many in London now at 44,000? So after an hour we all met for the coach that (as always) took us to our hotel-The Clarendon right on Blackheath Common with the Blue Start just a couple of hundred yards away.
Well done yet again to Janet Walker and Mick Hollis of Centurion Runners for organising this for the 25th time I think. It’s a must do every year so I’ll let everyone know for 2019.
So what was all this heat news we kept hearing about? Well yes it was very hot on Sunday but not so bad that you could not breath as there was bit of breeze but the humidity was OK (ish).
So we started on the red start on Greenwich Common and as I joined Pen 2 (not pen 9 as I was meant to) our wait to start was not too long thankfully.
At 3 miles we merged with the Blue starters and the Green starters so it really was manic then with 000s of runners all over the place. Music Bands a plenty and the usual loud Drummers under the bridge at 5 was quite frightening for the “newbies”.
So on we went and never before have I seen so many onlookers lining the streets from start to finish – 5/10 deep everywhere. Seemed like the whole of London came out to encourage us. I had my full name on my Brain and Spine running vest and the great crowds always scream out your name as you pass them and I must have heard mine many hundreds of times. One chap even screamed out “I saw you at this place last year Dave”. “See you next year then” I replied.
So the crowds were fabulous as were the other runners. But yes the heat did slow us all down so again race walking was the order of the day for me and I literally overtook hundreds (maybe ‘000s??) as many had stopped running by the 10 mile mark.
Also I have never before seen so many runners pulling out and lying flat out on the pavements with the crowds trying to help them recover. Quite frightening really but with that heat it was not surprising. Even the Save the Rhino man (dressed as a Rhino) who I see every year said how bad he felt as we had our usual chat.
Eventually the 20 mile marker was reached so the final plod was on and from here on the huge 5+ deep crowds just kept you going – even if it was just one foot in front of the other.
Again huge crowds for the final stretch urged us all on and eventually we turned right at the Houses of Parliament for the last mile, past Buckingham Palace on our left (where Robina and I will be at a Garden Party with Liz in May) and home was in sight.
So a fabulous day again (despite the heat) then off to the Brain and Spine Foundation party at the Radisson Blu hotel in Leicester Square with the other 4 Massey members of Team Phillips. Loads of food and drink and we handed a cheque for £10,000 for the charity to our honorary captain this year Colin Jackson. Should be in the Daily Telegraph soon
So job done and a day well spent.
So just 8 to go for the 500 fulls but this London was something really special and unforgettable with the crowds and the heat.
Massey time: Dave Phillips: 6 hrs 17 mins.