Virgin London Marathon 2015 From Start to Finish by John Pike

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In September 2014 we embarked on a training run one Saturday morning, starting with a 2.5 mile route. Through the winter we increased the distance by 2.5 miles every two weeks, which meant that by December we were hitting 15 miles per run. As you can imagine not every day was perfect for running and on a few occasions we did question what the hell we were doing running in the pouring rain and high winds! However, regardless of what the weather forecast was, we carried on with our training. We hit our longest run in March 2015 (21 miles) – I think we all suffered a bit at some stage during this particular run. However it meant that we were ready for the Marathon in April 2015.

On the Thursday before the Marathon we travelled down to register, get our race number and chip, as well as visit our charity at the Excel in London.

On the Saturday we all packed our bags and travelled to Westminster, where we were to be based the night, before feasting on one last pasta meal and getting our kit ready for the morning. After a good night’s sleep we all got up and had breakfast which consisted of porridge, flapjack and plenty of drink.

On arrival at Greenwich Park on Sunday morning, we met up with Gavin and Tony (who were in separate accommodation) and we all made our way to the start line after a toilet stop, before it all began. “Come on The Rhino & come on Peppa Pig” were the first shouts I remember from the crowd. At this stage we were all trying to find our pace (as it is always good to remember not to start off too quickly as it can ruin your race). After three miles we saw our first familiar face – Sue Carter – with a fantastic banner which appeared along with some great encouragement. At this point we were going well, there were a couple of issues, but generally everything was OK. At seven miles we saw some friends who had clambered up some scaffolding to get a great spot for watching us approach (it is always a boost when you see anyone you know as you seem to get a surge of adrenalin go through you). At mile twelve we were supposed to see the families of Hayley and Sue (another friend), but looked on the wrong side of the road and missed them. After about three miles of discussions as to where the heck they got to, we were running really well and I certainly was enjoying the day. Kerrie (another friend) was struggling with her knees a little so Hayley and Sue went a little further ahead than us at about 22 miles. At mile 25 we decided to try to summon up the energy to catch Hayley and Sue. I think they must have slowed down enough to let us catch up with them and at the finish we all crossed the line hand in hand which was fantastic, as the four of us had trained most of the time together!

At this point I personally would like to thank Hayley, Tony, Sue and Kerrie (all of whom I dragged kicking and screaming through 26.2 miles of pain) and who helped me raise over £10,000 for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

I can honestly say it was an absolute pleasure to run with all the guys and it just shows what you can achieve through sheer determination, not to mention the fantastic amount of money you can raise through lots of planning. Pikey

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