4 hours, 2 minutes and a few seconds (official time tbc), that was the time it took me to complete the 35th Berlin Marathon yesterday. I new before I crossed the line and stopped my stop watch that I hadn't managed to finish in my target time of under 4 hours. I was intially distraught and spent the next 20 minutes trying to hold back all the emotion that had built up over the final 10km as I could see the time slipping away. Having slept on it I now realise I should be proud of having completed my first marathon.
Looking back it was a great experience. The weather was perfect, sunny but not too warm and the crowds were out in force cheering us on which helped no end making for a special atmosphere befitting of one of the worlds greatest marathon races. With over 40,000 runners taking part it was the largest turn out yet in the events history. To top it off Haile Gebrselassie broke his own world record, set in the same race last year, by winning in a time of 2:03:59.
"I am so, so happy, everything was perfect, the weather was perfect, the spectators were perfect, everything - I am so happy," said Gebrselassie.
It's amazing to think that the great Gebrselassie finished just under 2 hours quicker than me. A stunning time, incredible!
In hindsight I realise there's a good chance I could have finished in under 4 hours if I hadn't tapered as long as I did. My taper lasted 5 weeks (the time between my longest training run and the actual race. See posting 'Marathon Training Schedules for detail'). In fact my taper should have been no longer than 3 weeks in order for me to be in top form. I've learnt an important lesson the hard way and will make sure that if I run another marathon in the future I won't make the same mistake.
What a mistake it was, with 12km to go I hit 'the wall'. All the good work Dave (my running partner) and I had done, it terms of keeping a 5 minute cushion, started slipping away kilometre by kilometre. Those last kilometres were the hardest run of my life. As I write this a day later I am still hobbling around like an old man and can hardly get up and down stairs, its quite pathetic really.
(me as I struggle through the last 300 metres to the finish line)
One thing both Dave and I can be sure of is that we gave 100%, were had nothing left to give.
I have to give a big thanks to Dave for his support throughout the run, my sister Amy for her great support and my love Betty not only for her support and patience but also for the great photo's you see in this posting.