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A special year for the London Marathon

by kirsty
Tuesday 15th April 2014

Race report: Run247 columnist Kirsty Reade tells us why this wasn't 'just another' London Marathon - Virgin Money London Marathon, April 13, 2014

In many ways my London Marathon experience was pretty much the same as most years. There was the same nervous excitement on the morning, which never seems to fade no matter how many you do. Then there was the annual celeb-spotting at the green start and unfortunately the ability to do this does seem to fade, the further I get from the Heat magazine demographic. There was the fact that ‘it was all going really well until about 20’ that will be familiar to many, with my personal post-20 mile derailment of pukiness (all too familiar). Yes, it was all very similar to most other years.

Photos: Chris Thompson and Mo Farah size up the competition at the start. Steve Way runs to a massive PB © Run247

Except it really wasn’t this year. This year there was a very different feel about London and that has a lot to do with British interest. It’s been a long while since we had a British man expected to trouble the podium and, while it was always going to be a massive ask, it was an amazing dream while it lasted. And while that was a dream which wasn’t going to come true, another one did for British runner Steve Way, who snuck in under the radar and blew us all away!

Having Mo on the start and running the full thing this year obviously created a massive amount of excitement for spectators and runners. There were plenty of Mo masks and ‘Go Mo!’ banners in the crowds. I spent a lot of the early part of the race wondering how he was getting on and then at the halfway point I got my chance to see. There’s a point just after Tower Bridge where the course doubles back on itself and runners on the other side of the road are at 21 miles. As I approached the halfway point I saw the lead car coming the other way and then watched excitedly to see who would be behind it. Mo wasn’t in the first few runners and it soon became clear that he wasn’t going to be on that podium, but it didn’t matter because after a couple of minutes we saw him coming towards us and virtually every runner on our side of the road almost came to a standstill and a massive cheer erupted. It was an incredible moment, which gives me goosebumps thinking about it now, and it just summed up the London Marathon for me.

Photos: Kirsty soaks up the full marathon experience © Lewis Cousins

Mo might have grabbed all the headlines but there was an even more incredible British performance on Sunday. I think unorthodox would be the word to sum up Steve Way’s journey to marathon greatness. While most of his running peers were winning trophies in their teens and twenties, Steve was a self-confessed overweight smoker. While many athletes were training full-time and spending time at altitude Steve was spending time at his desk in his full-time job. While all the elites were tucked up in bed in the Tower Hotel on Saturday night Steve was sleeping in his camper van on his cousin’s drive! Since getting fit and healthy Steve has always been a fantastic runner and marathon runner in particular, but he had got stuck at 2.19 for the last few years and he felt that his dream of beating that was almost over. But an incredibly intense training programme, an amazing level of commitment, the determination of a hundred normal runners, and the willingness to take a big risk led to Steve finishing 3rd Brit and 15th place overall in 2.16.27. There wasn’t a dry eye at Run247 when we saw Steve’s result. 

London so often sums up what’s good about the running community. There’s barely a metre without supporters these days, runners are so supportive of each other and it seems to motivate non-runners to give it a go, or for those already running to bite the bullet and enter a marathon. My highlight is always the support of our running club and this year was no exception. High fives and hugs gave me a massive boost. And for total strangers to pat you on the back and will you on, even when they’re going to have to stand and look at your sick on the road for the next couple of hours, probably says it all.


About The Author

Kirsty Reade

I’d describe myself as borderline obsessed with running, racing, reading about running, and watching others run so hopefully I’m fairly typical of Run247’s visitors. I tend to do longer races, particularly off-road marathons and ultras, but am pretty much a fan of any distance. I'm passionate about helping runners of all levels to improve through running communities I'm involved in, such as Underground Ultra and Free Range Runners. 


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