Rob McTaggart and Rob Spencer in the TCS London Marathon

Rob McTaggart and Rob Spencer spearheaded a formidable looking Bournemouth AC line up for the 2024 TCS London Marathon

There is a very thin line between getting the absolute best of your capability and pushing yourself over the edge in a marathon. If a runner comes down on the side of the latter, it be can be a difficult and painful road to the finish. Many a marathon runner has experiences that and many will again. It’s the nature of the beast. In a way it’s that that makes it so sweet when you do get it right. The unbridled joy of hitting your goal time or producing your very best on the day is hard to rival in any other domain. That’s because it’s so hard to do and there is so much that can go wrong.

A very strong set of runners were out there representing Bournemouth AC at the 2024 TCS London Marathon and there was even talk that they might be able to contend for a prize in the UK Marathon Championships, like they did back in the glory days of Steve Way, Jon Sharkey and Ian Habgood. This year they had Rob McTaggart and Rob Spencer who were both capable of 2:25 or quicker. Also in their ranks were James Phillips and Jacek Cieluszecki who could both potentially come in under 2:30.

Tag had been the fastest Bournemouth AC man in the last two London Marathons, recording times of 2:24:48 and 2:24:30. The year before that it was Rob Spencer who was first BAC finisher, getting round in 2:25:56. They’d both done the Bath Half in 1:09 during the build up for this year’s race which showed they were in good form.

Jacek’s last road marathon was Annecy Lake in France which he did last spring, finishing in 2:36:38. James Phillips had run a sub 2:40 marathon to qualify for a Championship entry and that was with minimal training as he had been out injured for a lot of the build up. There was certainly scope for something special if he felt good on the day. He’d done the Wokingham Half Marathon in 1:11:36 which would put him in the right ballpark for a sub 2:30 marathon.

Having done the last four London Marathons, Rich Brawn certainly had plenty of experience of the race behind him. After missing most of his training block due to a knee injury last year, he scraped in for a 2:59. This time he’d had a full training block behind him though and was back to his best form. He was targeting his first ever sub 2:45 time, which he thought might be doable if he could avoid any cramp issues.

He’d done the Bramley 20 in just under 2 hours 9 minutes, the Milton Keynes 20 in 2 hours 6 minutes and the Wokingham Half Marathon in 1:18 during the course of his training. That was on top of all his usual marathon training sessions and some very good long training runs with marathon paced miles included.

Making his marathon debut, it was a step into the unknown for Ben Collins. He’d prepared well for it though, consistently putting in long runs of 18 to 20 miles at the weekends and his mileage had been quite high throughout the training block. He was careful not to overdo it though as he knew he couldn’t afford to get injured so took a sensible and measured approach.

Possessing a very good marathon repertoire, Alex Bonnet had managed a time off 2:50:26 in the Chicago Marathon last October. He also did the Boston Marathon in 3:06:37 earlier in the year. Then the year before that he did Edinburgh in 2:56:32 and Seville in 3:04:35.

One man who seems to enjoy his marathon training more than most is Barry Dolman. He likes the structure of it and the motivation that it gives him to go out and do sessions and long runs and to clock a high mileage. He has suffered the odd injury in the past when training for marathons but usually he finds that his body can cope with the heavy workload quite well.

He’d done a 25 mile run and two full marathons in his training block so he’d certainly done everything he could to prepare for what was ahead. Earlier in his training he also ran the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon after having already ran 7 miles earlier that morning. Then he did the Lytchett 10 double loop the week after. He also ran the Bournemouth Bay Run 10k in 37:49 at the end of a 20 mile run which was an impressive display.

His best marathon time was the 2:54:26 that he did at Boston in the Spring of last year and that was probably his greatest achievement in running to date. He was hoping that he could beat that at London though, since it was a flatter, faster course.

Grzegorz Kazaniecki with his number ahead of London 2024

Grzegorz Kazaniecki looking forward to the London Marathon experience

After just missing out on a sub three hour marathon time at Berlin last October, when he crossed the line in 3 hours and 28 seconds, Grzegorz Kazaniecki was determined to do it this time. He’d had his fair share of injury problems in the past and had been effected by an ongoing back issue but he’d trained well for London and was in good shape.

Clocking a time of 1:25:30 at the Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon, Grzeg had reason to be optimistic ahead of his London adventure but he knew he needed to pull out all the stops on the day if he was to achieve his goal.

With her partner James Phillips having qualified for a Championship place at London, Laura Rotherwell was desperate to do the same. To achieve that, she needed a sub 1:28 half marathon time, which she felt she was probably capable of. It was the Oxford Half Marathon that she’d pencilled in as her best opportunity to have a go at it.

Unfortunately, it turned out that she just missed out, completing the course in 1:28:09, meaning she’d come up nine seconds short. It was a devastating blow for her but she was hoping the Gosport Half Marathon might hand her a reprieve. It was crazily windy that day though and it just wasn’t realistic to do it in those conditions so she was resigned to the fact that she was again going to miss out, after also missing out the previous year through injury and lack or fitness.

Then, as luck would have it, her name got picked out of the hat a Bournemouth AC club place and thankfully, she was finally able to do it. She hadn’t really had the best of build ups after an illness had kept her out for three weeks at a crucial time. Nevertheless, she was determined to get out there and give it her best shot.

Sanjai Sharma at All Saints School

Sanjai Sharma at All Saints School for his pasta meal the night before the race

Another Bournemouth AC member who’s training hadn’t been ideal was Sanjai Sharma. He’d been really busy in the build up to London though, with three long haul holidays and one European getaway leaving him with limited time to get his training in. He’d also been distracted by the arrival of two granddaughters which he’d naturally prioritised so he wasn’t anticipating a great time this year.

He’d had a decent run in the Wokingham Half Marathon in February though, finishing in 1:31:12 and he also did the Hillingdon 20 a month before London, registering a time of 2:28:24. That was reason enough to give him a glimmer of hope that he might still be able to pull something out of the bag in what was amazingly going to be his 30th London Marathon.

Julian Oxborough with his London Marathon number

Julian Oxborough was raising money for the NSPCC

It was Julian Oxborough‘s 13th London Marathon, with his first one being all the way back in 1990. It was to be his 25th marathon in total, his last of which was the 2022 London Marathon, which he completed in 7 hours 12 minutes. This time he was hoping to do it in under seven hours but he had had a grade one calf muscle tear in March which had impacted his training.

Since he’d put the hard yards in though, he was determined to make it to the start line and he’d raised a huge amount of money for the NSPCC as well. Just under £4,000 in fact, which was really impressive. That gave him an additional incentive to get through it and to give it all he’s got.

Tag and Rob Spencer head through Tower Bridge in the London Marathon

Tag and Rob Spencer ran together for a lot of the race and attacked it fiercely

As they did at the Bath Half, Rob Spencer and Rob McTaggart ran together for a substantial amount of the race. It was good for them to have a teammate to run with, particularly at such a high level when there weren’t too many other runners who would even contemplate trying to go at that sort of pace in a marathon.

They were getting through their miles at roughly 5:25 sort of pace, or about 3:23 per kilometre. That took them through the first 5k in 16:45 and the second 5k in 16:50, putting them at 33:35 at 10k. Clocking a 17:08 and then a 17 for the next two 5k segments, they reached the half marathon point at 1:11:25.

Rob McTaggart and Rob Spencer in action at the TCS London Marathon

The BAC pair head over Tower Bridge at a blistering pace

If they could continue at that sort of pace they’d be on for a 2:23 and at that stage it seemed very doable. They’d gone through their next 5k at 16:53 which took them up to 25k. Then they went through the tunnel which sends GPS into a crazy stupor.

For the next 5k Tag was still going at the same pace, registering a 17:05 to take him to 30k. Spence had dropped off a little though, going through in 17:37. That was the first sign that the cracks were beginning to show.

Rob McTaggart heads past the London Eye

Tag wasn’t stopping for sight-seeing as he headed past the London Eye

It was at 19 miles that Tag started to suffer. His legs had started to go and his pace tailed off. He still managed a 17:32 for his next 5k though which took him to 35k. Spence was struggling a bit more during this phase and he went through that 5k in 22:04. For him the wheels had fallen off and it was now a case of damage limitation.

Rob Spencer heads down the road in the London Marathon

Once the wheels came off it was a tough road to finish for Spence

Tag’s plight was getting worse and worse as he progressed and cramp had started to kick in causing him to have a couple of brief walks. That culminated in a 19:06 for his next 5k which took him to 40k. At point he was in agony though and just wanted it to be over. It was even worse for Spence and he went through the next 5k in 21:21, taking him up to 40k.

Rob McTaggart in the London Marathon

Tag heads toward the finish in a very difficult last couple of kilometres

Despite all his woes, Tag still managed to make it to the line in 2:28:11 which was still an incredible time for a marathon by any standard. It was enough to put him in 118th place in the masses out of 53,832.

Rob Spencer not looking too happy

The looks on Rob’s face tells its own story of the suffering he went through

As for Rob Spencer, he rolled in at 2:34:55, which, although it wasn’t the result he was hoping for, was still an outstanding marathon time on the face of it. That put him in 386th place overall.

It was a tough one to take for Tag and Spence but they’d toughed it out and made it the line, still recording mightily impressive times and that had taken character. It hadn’t quite gone their way on the day but that is the danger when trying to push yourself to the limit in a marathon. It doesn’t matter who are or what level you’re running at. Anyone can hit the wall and anyone can suffer greatly when they do.

Rob Spencer in action at the London Marathon

Spence did well to make it to the finish in 2:34:55 despite painful ending

Egdon Heather Harriers man Christopher Peck made it to the line a couple of places after Spence in the end. He’d paced his run really well, going through half way in 1:17:34 and completed the full distance in 2:34:57, giving him a slight negative split. That was also a PB for him so he was pleased with that outcome.

Twemlow Track Club man Chris Wood must have overtaken Spence as he finished in 377th place, recording a time of 2:34:45. That was an excellent run from Chris and he’d gone through the half way point in 1:16:46 and his average pace was 5:49.

One man who can usually be relied upon to maintain his pace during a long race is Jacek Cieluszecki. This was something of an experiment for him though as his mileage had been relatively low in his marathon training and he’d only been doing one session a week and had incredibly only done one 20 miler in the build up. He still thought he’d be able to achieve a sub 2:30 time though and that was the target for him.

He’d done it a couple of times before at London, finishing in 2:27:45 in 2014 and 2:28:17 in 2016. That was quite some time ago now though so it would be interesting to see if he still had to road speed to be able to produce a performance like that.

Going through the first 5k in 17:29, Jacek started thinking that maybe it was too fast. it didn’t feel hard but his body didn’t feel like it had properly woken up yet. He followed it up with the 17:44 for his next 5k, taking him to the 10k point in 35:13.

Jacek Cieluszecki races along in the London Marathon

Jacek Cieluszecki was bang on where he needed to be at the half way stage

After that he got into a good rhythm and was feeling pretty good. Going through the next 5k in 17:43, he then clocked a 17:40 for his next one and reached the half marathon point 1:14:30. That would be ideal to get him a sub 2:30 if he could keep that pace going.

His pace was remarkably consistent, churning out the miles at around 5:40 pace or slightly quicker. After going through his next 5k in 17:39, he went through the next one in 17:43, taking him to 30k in 1:45:58.

His splits continued to be relentless after that at a time when other quality runners were faltering. His next 5k was another 17:39 and the one after that was a 17:38, taking him to 40k in 2:21:15. His pace had been averaging out at 3:33 or 3:32 per kilometre and there were no signs of waning as the race went on.

Jacek Cieluszecki going well in the London Marathon

JC was one of the very few who didn’t slow down near the end

With about two miles to was ready to up crank it up a notch but he got he got a stich which prevented him from doing so. Going on to cross the line in a terrific time of 2:29:03, he’d paced his run amazingly well and it was a very pleasing result for JC. He’d finished in 148th place overall and was 4th fastest in the 45-49 category.

Poole AC man Brian Underwood had never quite got under 2:30 before in a marathon but he’d come very close, finishing in 2:30:05 at London last year. This was to be his day to do it and after going through the half marathon point in 1:14:36, he went on the complete the course in 2:29:53.

It was a massive relief for Brian to finally do it and no one deserved it more than him after the training he’d put in over the past few years. His average pace was 5:42 and he was the next 45-49 man over the line after JC, taking 179th place overall.

James Phillips doing battle in the London Marathon

James Phillips was hoping his injury wouldn’t hold him back

Tending to get quite bad luck when it comes to injuries, James Phillips twinged a calf muscle a few days before the race which was a real worry. He managed to make it onto the start line but had to approach it with a degree of trepidation as he didn’t know what the effect of that injury would be.

Running really well for the first half of the race, he went through in 1:15:01, so bang on 2:30 pace. He started to struggle a bit after that though and his pace dropped a touch. His calf was starting to hurt and it all began to unravel for him over the second half of the race.

James Phillips in the London Marathon

James shipped quite a lot of time over the second half of the race

Rallying as best he could, he fought hard and made it the line in 2:41:11, which was still a brilliant marathon time. It certainly didn’t do justice to kind of runner he is though and the ability he possesses. It was just one of those days though in the end for him and he had to suck it up. It was still enough to put him in 847th place though so still pretty high up in such a huge field.

Egdon Heath Harriers man Matt Underhill had a sensational run, picking the pace up remarkably over the last 10k. He’d been going to around 6:10 to 6:15 pace for most of the race but was closer to 6 minutes per mile after that which was really impressive. After a 1:21:47 half marathon, the ended up crossing the finish line in 2:41:48 which was a superb PB for him and put him 892nd overall.

With a tendency to sometimes start off to quickly in races and then suffer in the latter stages, Ben Collins was determined to take a sensible approach to his first ever marathon. He started off at around 6:10 pace which seemed quite conservative to him, going through the first 5k in 19:09. He then ran his next 5k at around 6:05 pace for an 18:57 which took him to 10k in 38:06.

Ben Collins digging in in the London Marathon

Ben Collins feels the pain as he edges closer to the end

After that he was going at just over 6 minutes per mile for the vast majority of his splits, reaching the half way stage in 1:20:07. Going on the reach the 30k point in 1:53:51, he’d done brilliantly up till then.

Slowing down a bit after that, he went through the next couple of miles in 6:22 and 6:20 before recording a 6:16 for his 23rd mile. His last three miles were a real battle but he fought hard, finishing with a 6:31, a 6:36 and a 6:32. That brought him to the finish line in 2:42:32 which put him in 958th place overall.

His average pace for the run was 6:12 and it was a fantastic effort from Ben considering it was his debut for the distance. There’s certainly scope for him to qualify for a Championship spot in the future, perhaps even in his next one if he does it again next year.

Feeling a little nervous after what happened to him last time he’d attempted a sub 2:45 at London, Rich Brawn took to the start line tentatively. The last time it had ended in disaster for him as he had a severed bout of cramp that kept him in the floor for six minutes whilst being attended to by a medic.

He was intending to go out at around 6:13 pace and see if it felt comfortable enough. Going through the first 5k in 19:26, he then followed it up with a 19:11 for his second 5k, which contained quite a lot of downhill. That put his 10k time at 38:37.

Continuing on with a 19:21 for his next 5k, he then registered a 19:32 to take him up to 20k before hitting the half way point in 1:21:44. That would have put him well within his 2:45 target if he could keep that going but he knew from experience that a lot can go wrong in the second half.

His main concern at that point was that it just didn’t feel comfortable enough for him to be able to see the full distance through and he was worried that could result in another episode of cramp.

Rich Brawn works his way to the end

Rich Brawn had to slow the pace down with around 10 miles still to go

Keeping the pace going until he went through the tunnel on the 16th mile he felt like he’d have to start dialling it back a bit. Even if it meant he’d miss out on his time target. He knew he just couldn’t afford to have his race ravaged again by that same problem. Hence, his 16th mile was a tad slower at 6:30.

After that he got back to around 6:20 pace for his next couple of miles but he’d started getting cramp in his arms which was a bit of a worry. He kept trying to straighten them out as he went along which must have looked a little strange.

The 19th mile contained a bill so that was a fair bit slower but he knew he couldn’t risk overcooking it so he accepted the time losses. Reaching the 30k point in 1:56:30, he was now into the last 10k and was just aiming to keep coasting along as he was for as long as possible.

Rich Brawn nears the end of his London Marathon race

Rich did everything he could to keep going and stave off the threat of cramp

He got back to around 6:20 pace for his 20th and 21st mile before clocking a 6:13 for his 22nd mile. He felt like if he could get past 23 miles without experiencing any issues then he had a chance of making it through unscathed.

Keeping it at 6:20 pace for his next two miles he was now onto the last one. He could feel his muscles beginning to tighten a lot so he had to start trying to stretch his legs as he went. It didn’t really slow him down though and he managed to make it to 26 miles still in tact.

Rich Brawn with his medal at Horse Guards Parade

Rich Brawn with his medal at Horse Guards Parade

After a much slower last 11 miles, he’s assumed his target time had gone way out the window and was wondering if he’d still be inside his best London time of 2:48:29. Hence he was shocked when he turned the corner onto the Mall and saw the clock just ticking over 2:45. He then looked at his watching and saw that he had enough seconds to make it to the line before it ticked over 2:45, since he hadn’t been one of the very first people over the start line.

Rich Brawn after completing the London Marathon

Rich was well pleased with his new PB of 2:44:51

Going across the line in 2:44:51, he was in a state of shock and disbelief that he’d actually done it. But he also had an overwhelming feeling of elation. All that hard training he’d put in over the past 14 weeks had bared fruition. It was an amazing moment of relief and joy. That put him in 1,160th place and 188th in the 40-44 category.

Andy Leggott of Lonely Goat was just ahead of Rich, finishing in 2:44:23. He’d done the first half in 1:20:09 but had fallen away a bit over the last 10k. Emlyn Hughes who some may recognise from the Hampshire Road Race League completed the course in 2:44:33. He started off fast, getting to the half way stage in 1:19:41 but he wasn’t quite able to keep that pace going over the second half. It was still a good time though.

Alex Bonnet after the London Marathon

Alex Bonnet (left) ran well to complete the course in 2:51:08

Pacing his run really well, Alex Bonnet went through the first 5k in 20:01 and reached the 10k point in 40:18. Making it to the half way stage in 1:25:21, he looked on course to be very close to his PB of 2:50:26. He’d have to maintain the pace well though, or even up it slightly in order to do it.

He’d been going at around 6:30 pace or just under for the majority of his splits. That carried on until he reached mile 23. There was a slight drop off after that but not much of one and he managed to make it to the line in 2:51:08 which out him in 1,898th place. Alex had only just recovered from flu before the race as well so all things considered, it was a great result for him and very close to his best.

Barry Dolman crosses Tower Bridge during the London Marathon

Barry Dolman heads over Tower Bridge

Starting off at 6:35 pace for the first couple of miles, Barry Dolman went through his first 5k in 20:24. Following that up with a 20:18 for his second 5k, Barry got to 10k in 40:42. His pace remained extremely consistent as he progressed round the course, reaching the half marathon point in exactly 1 hour 26 minutes.

Barry Dolman heads past Big Ben

Barry was hoping to clock his best marathon time yet

He was definitely on course for a marathon PB at that stage. He just needed to keep steadily churning out the miles. The segment between 20 and 25k was his fastest one yet at 20:13 and the signs were looking good. He was still going well with 22 miles ticked off. It was only in the last 7k that he started to find it tough going.

Barry Dolman nears the finish of the London Marathon

Barry works his way toward the finish

His pace dropped to around 7 minutes per mile for the last full 5k which he got through in 21:10. Then he only had a third of a mile to go before reaching the finish line. Clocking a time of 2:53:58, Barry had secured the PB that he came for and he was mightily relieved.

It was a super strong run and he’d held it together well in the end when it started to get tough and that takes character and commitment. He finished 2,322nd overall and was 90th in the 50-54 category.

Barry Dolman heads toward the finish line

Barry puts in a final burst to the line

There wasn’t much time to dwell on it for Barry as he needed to get himself to Wembley for the FA Cup Semi-Final tie between Man United and Coventry City. Barry is a huge fan of the Sky Blues and he wasn’t about to miss that game for anything. A win or Coventry would have capped the day off perfectly and they very nearly delivered but in the end lost on penalties. Nevertheless, it was a memorable day for Barry and one he’ll look back on fondly for years to come.

Grzegorz Kazaniecki on the start line of the London Marathon

Grzegorz takes to the start line before beginning his 26.2 mile escapade

Beginning his quest with a 20:14 for his first 5k, Grzegorz Kazaniecki reached 10k in 40:20. Keeping his pace very consistent, he went though the half marathon checkpoint in 1:25:13. If he could keep that going, he’d be in for a huge PB and would be comfortably under three hours.

He made it to 25k at that same pace but began to drop off a touch after that. A 20:41 5k took him to 30k, leaving him with just 12k remaining. He did start the slow down further as he got closer to the end, registering a 21:12 5k to get to 35k. Then a 21:50 took him up to 40k. He’d had to dig in a bit and grind it out but he had enough grit and determination to do so which lead him to a fantastic finishing time of 2:54:35.

Grzegorz Kazaniecki with his medal after completing the London Marathon

Grzegorz with his well earned medal after an epic performance

Grzegorz Kazaniecki in full flow

Grzeg battles through in the latter stages of the race

It was a huge performance from Grzeg and he’d absolutely smashed his PB. That put him in 2,437th place overall and he was 283rd in the 45-49 category. After narrowly missing out on his sub three at Berlin, he certainly wasn’t going to be making that mistake again and that was motivation enough to see him come in five and a half minutes under.

Barry Dolman after the London Marathon

Barry collects his thoughts after a tough but rewarding race

Barry Dolman and Rob Spencer after the London Marathon

Barry and Spence met up afterwards to exchange stories

Putting in a 22:50 for his first 5k and a 22:46 for his second 5k, Sanjai Sharma got to the 10k point in 45:36. Following that up a couple of 23:10s for his next two 5ks, Sanjai made to half way in 1:37:06.

Sanjai Sharma nears the end of his London Marathon crusade

Sanjai was having a much better run than he thought he would

Since he was targeting a sub 3:30, that was a very promising first half for his prospects of doing that. The fear was that since he hadn’t been able to focus on his training as much as he usually would that the endurance wouldn’t quite be there. He kept it going well up to 30k. It was only in the last 10k that he started to struggle.

His pace dropped to a 24:07 for his next 5k and then 24:40 for the one after that. That took him to 40k leaving him with just 2k to go. It had taken all his willpower not to stop running in that last 10k but he’d carried on made it to the finish line.

Sanjai Sharma with his granddaughter wearing his medal

Sanjai with his granddaughter who looks happy wearing his medal

Not only had he done that though, he’d also done it a lot quicker than he was expecting, going over the line in 3:17:51. That put him in 6,918th position overall and he came 84th in the 60-64 category.

Considering he’d had other priorities during the build up that was actually a fantastic outcome for Sanjai and most definitely exceeded his expectations. Of course, having a wealth of experience behind him would have helped but he really had to dig in toward the end and grind it out and that’s exactly what he did.

Laura Rothwell in the London Marathon

It was a race of two halves for Laura Rothwell and she was quite happy at this stage

Reaching the 5k point in 22:26, Laura Rothwell registered a 22:18 for her second 5k, giving her a 10k time of 44:44. Making it to the half way point in 1:34:56, she continued on to 25k. After that she really started to struggle and had to dig deep to find the resolve to keep going.

Laura Rothwell starts finding it tough

There may have been some tears from Laura but there was no quitting from her

Although she was having a tough time out there, both physically and emotionally, she didn’t give up and kept going all the way to line. It wasn’t the way she would have envisaged the last 17k going but it just wasn’t her day and she had to accept that.

Laura Rothwell and James Phillips after the London Marathon

Their races may not have gone according to plan but at least they got to share the experience of running it

Crossing the line in 3.26:50, she’d finished 9,106th overall and was 1,660th female. It was a set back for Laura but one that she will learn from and no doubt come back stronger from after she’s had a rest and recuperated. Provided she doesn’t take up wine for the rest of the year that is, which is what she suggested she might do after the race.

Laura Rothwell nears the end of the London Marathon

Laura must have been relieved to when she got close the end

Reaching the 5k point in 46:10, Julian Oxborough went to follow that up with a 43:59 for his next 5k which took him to 10k in 1:30:09. He was concerned about his calf muscle so had to be careful not to aggravate it. At the 11 point, he actually considered pulling out but the crowds were so supportive that he decided not to.

Going on to reach the half way stage in 3:17:11, it was looking like he could well be on for a sub seven hour time. Of course, a lot can happen in the second half of the race though so nothing can be taken for granted.

Julian Oxborough in full flight

Julian makes his way gingerly round the course

He’d been following the sub 6:45 pacer and he knew if he could stick with him he’d be on for a good time. Making it to the finish line in 6 hours 42 minutes and 36 seconds, Julian had smashed his 2022 London time of 7:12:53 out of the water.

Julian Oxborough heads past Big Ben

Julian got to take in many of London’s most famous landmarks such as Big Ben

It was a great moment for Julian and had made all the hard work he’d put in in training worthwhile. It was easily the fastest marathon time he’d done since getting back into running in 2016 and that was quite an achievement.

That put Julian in 52,118th place overall and he came 2,043rd in his category. It was a terrific day for Julian and he was really pleased with that outcome. There were times  when he felt like packing it in but he stuck with it and that’s what a true marathon runner does. They have to overcome any adversity that comes their way.

Other notable performances from Dorset based runners came from Dave Hicks of Poole AC who was 9th fastest in the 50-54 category with his time of 2:37:31. That was a tremendous run from him, putting him 563rd overall.

Julian Oxborough with his medal after completing the London Marathon

Julian managed a faster time than he did in his last six marathons

After going through the half way stage in 1:15:24, Lewis Clarke of Poole Runners found it tough going in the second half but still recorded a time of 2:38:02 which was enough for a Championship qualifying time. He’d had a daughter arriving three weeks before the race so his focus had understandably been elsewhere during the build up. He came 594th overall.

Julian Oxborough after completing the race

Julian tries on a fetching new outfit after completing the race

Charlie Williams of Egdon Heath Harriers was a candidate for the most even paced run out of all of them. He didn’t slow down at all near the end and after going through the half marathon point at 1:20:13, he ended up recording a time of 2:39:15 so he’d actually sped up over the second half of the race.

Going through the half marathon point in 1:21:15, Jack Galloway of Twemlow Track Club also managed to speed up over the second half of the race to complete the course in 2:39:36. That was a very strong run from him.

Vicki Ingham of Poole Runners completed the course in 2:50:06 which made her 58th fastest female in the race and put her 1,782nd overall. Mark Peddle, also of Poole Runners, clocked a time of 2:52:07 which put him 2,036th overall and 210th in the 45-49 category.

Also finishing quite high up out of the women in the race, Molly Rasch got round in 2:52:10 which put her 2,045th overall and she was 73rd fastest female. Natalie Lawrence of Egdon Heath Harriers arrived shortly after, crossing the line in 2:52:33 which put her 2,097th overall and 78th placed female.

Rich Nelson supporting at the London Marathon

Road Runners captain Rich Nelson was there to support the Bournemouth AC runners as they neared the end of their gruelling journey

Egdon Heath Harriers man Matt Faramus was aiming for about 2:50 but after going through the half way stage in 1:24:12, he fell away a bit over the last 10k and finished up in 2997th place. His time was 2:57:37.

After doing the Arc 50 mile race at the end of January, Alex Door hadn’t been able to get many speed sessions done on the road ahead of London so she was a bit concerned about that. It went quite well for her though and she ended up completing the race in 3:06:37 which was easily enough for a championship qualifying spot. Her main aim was just to get in under 3:15 so she certainly exceeded that target.

Mark Packer of Littledown Harriers did it in 2:58:27 which put him 3,219th overall and 168th in the 50-54 category. Heather Khoshnevis was 24th in the 60-64 category with her time of 3:41:38. Helen Ambrosen was 28th in the 65-69 category and she clocked a time of 4 hours 13 minutes and 19 seconds.

Former Poole Runners man Sean Hogan, who now runs for Southampton, finished 5th out of the masses, recording an incredible time of 2:17:02 after going through half way in 1:08:58.

Sarah Swift in the London Marathon

Sarah Swift ran the entire route in reverse before actually starting the official race

Perhaps one of the stand out performances of all the Dorset runners came from Sarah Swift, who ran the route in reverse during the night and then ran the official race in the morning. That was a staggering total of 52.86 miles and she probably was staggering by the end of it as well! That took her 8 hours 55 minutes.

She didn’t just do it for giggles though. There was method to her madness as she’s doing the Comrades Marathon in June and that is 55 miles, making the London Marathon and the reverse route beforehand the ideal distance for a training run for that very event. She handled it well and that will certainly stand her in good stead for Comrades so it will be interesting to see how she gets on.

It can be great fun to run a marathon, especially London as the atmosphere is so special. But its an unforgiving distance and if you get it wrong, it can very quickly unravel and leave you in a world of pain towards the end. That’s one of the things that makes it such an achievement when it goes well though and you hit the target you are aiming for.

There are so many different elements to factor in. The fuelling, the hydration, the electrolytes, the pace, the kit. Everything has to be carefully planned out and executed to perfection on the day for an athlete to realise their true potential. Since the training blocks tend to be so hard, it’s imperative to get it right on the day as you don’t want all that effort to go to waste. It’s a lot of pressure and often there is some pain that comes with it but if it goes well, there can also be a lot of pleasure and that’s what every athlete strives for.