The Road to London (gets much longer)

A weekly catch-up with Courier & Weekly News sports editor PAUL OKEY as he builds up to his long-awaited London Marathon debut.

Friday, 20th March 2020, 3:32 pm

I started what was, essentially, a diary of my London Marathon journey with 100 days to go until the event.

Now there are 198 days to go.

Deflated just about covers it.

The organisers are spot on with their decision to postpone it, of course. But no matter the entirely justified reasoning, I can’t help feeling a sense of loss.

I’m not going to get those early mornings back and the hours trudging the streets in literally all-weathers.

And I know running is merely a hobby, London is just a race and preserving life is more important (especially so with both my parents being especially vulnerable at the moment).

But I cannot just forget the commitment I have shown to the training and specifically to try and lower my personal best below three hours.

What can I do with that training now? The rescheduled date is too far away to train through to, there are no shorter races on the agenda for the next couple of months at least and even a parkrun blast is out of the question.

I did take on the Milton Keynes 20 last Sunday but my already fragile mental resilience was being tested even before the start as I drove down in the pouring rain.

A considerable time in one of the (many) portable loos did not raise my spirits and as I shivered on the start line I was already planning my exit strategy.

Not well enough as it turned out as rather than two 10-mile loops, the race comprises three loops. So having burped and gagged my way to the ten-mile point I baled out three miles away from the finish line.

I took my number off but still had to endure the pitiful applause as spectators clapped me to the finish along with the rest of the 5k stragglers.

I’ve not run since and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

It will give my body time to heal after the heavy mileage, let me focus on things other than running and, most importantly, allow me to get my accommodation sorted in a more timely fashion than I did for April.

I’ll see you again in 98 days.