London Fever!

London Fever!

We're about to start week 5 of the runbritain marathon training programmes and there are 12 weeks to go until 36,000 runners get together on Blackheath to set off on that 26.2 mile journey. I have been watching and listening to those at my club who are resolutely following their programmes, logging the miles in their diaries and, in general, loving every minute of it. London fever has hit the group as they run together, compare notes and tick off the key sessions and races during their build up. I'm jealous! For many years my running focused around the London Marathon and so January to April was all about preparing for that one day and those 42 kilometres. On a trip down memory lane I dug out my old training diaries.

I have had a lot of fun in my pursuit of a good marathon time. In 1997 we went to the states for the Las Vegas Half Marathon and then myself and my partner travelled up to Sacramento to train with Stockport Harriers sister club, the Buffalo Chips for a week.  We then ran a 10km race in Santa Monica on the morning we got our flight back to Manchester.

My best London Marathon was in 1999 when I ran 2:48. The highlights in that build up were winning the Four Villages Half Marathon and the Stafford 20 (where I got a course record in 2:04:42). I was also invited over to Holland for the City - Pier - City Half Marathon and spent several days over there afterwards running beside Dutch canals and along the miles and miles of cycle paths that the Dutch are blessed with.

It was hard to decide which was the best build up but I noticed that I had more positive comments in the 2000 diary than negative, in other words more "I felt great on this run" than "My legs felt heavy and I found it hard". Below are a few examples of some of the runs and races I did and my comments on them.

(NB there were no Garmins etc. in those days. Runs were measured with a map or by time run and I was quite vague with distances and times often quoting a range rather than exact times for each rep!)






14th January

7.5 miles

57 mins


It was very dark and I was picking my way through fields and accidentally ran into a pond! Ran back faster on the road!

22nd January

13.1 miles


Cold in the wind

Four Villages Half Marathon. Finished 2nd to A. Allen.  Very pleased.

27th January


24 mins

Very windy

Nice and easy. Massage afterwards.

5th February



Slight wind

Alsager 5. I didn't really feel great but I did a long warm up and cool down to get some mileage in for London.

6th February

4 miles

40 mins


Took the school cross-country team to Alderley Edge. Great fun!

7th February

8 X 400m

8 X 78 secs - ish!

Very windy

Tried to hang on to Sarah!

12th February



Cold and Windy

Dewsbury 10km, Finished 8th. Big warm up and cool down

17th February

9 miles

56 mins


Good pace all the way around with efforts

20th February

24 miles

3 hrs

Sunny and warm

Lyme Park. Felt good all the way and ran steady.

22nd February

3 X 1.5 miles

3 X 8:50 ish

Good, sunny

Felt relaxed and okay. Ran quite well

25th February


24 mins

Sunny, good

Took the cross country team to Styal Woods

27th February

26.5 miles

3hours 1 min

Raining, very windy but warm

On the canal and round the golf course. Felt fine. Good pace.

28th February

6 miles

40 mins


Did 2 miles slow with cross country team then 6 miles on my own working all the way

8th March

16 X 400m

16 X 80-82 secs


Jogged 100m recovery. Felt in control and good

15th March

10 miles


Sunny and warm

Ballycotton 10. Finished 8th. What a beautiful place and superb race. I really enjoyed it

22nd March

24 miles

2 hours 45 mins

Still and quite warm

On the canal and River Dane. Tried to reasonably fast. Felt a bit weary from half way

29th March



Very windy

Alberto 10km, Swansea. Had a horrible first lap and then picked up. Also did a long warm up and cool down.

The ironic thing is that, although my build up to London seems to be the most enjoyable in 2000, in that the comments are mostly very positive the marathon itself definitely didn't go to plan and I didn't actually finish the race! - But that's another story!!

Photo of me running over Tower Bridge in 1999 - Jackie Newton, Stockport Harriers.