On what was one of the hottest marathon days on record, our five brave runners, Rob Bennett, Brian McGlinchey and Rob, Merrill and Darren Lynch took to the streets of London to challenge mind and body and help raise vital funds for our charity. We managed to catch up with them, (not literally!), so that they could share their experiences of a fantastic and emotional day.
Rob Bennett and Brian McGlinchey
After last year’s Marathon, Brian and I decided we wanted to do it again and represent the Lighthouse Club Charity.
My training was very similar to previous years, starting in December and building up to my longest run of 20 miles in March, (which was emotional!) I then tapered down my training in April up to race day, April 22nd. With hindsight I probably tapered my training a bit too much!
To help achieve our financial target, we ran a quiz night in Plymouth which was well attended by family, friends and local building contractors which helped us get to 75% of our target.
So, on Saturday 21st April myself, Brian and our partners Jo and Louise set off by train from Plymouth to Paddington and then ventured down to the expo to collect our race numbers and view some of the stands, then it was down the pub for a carb loading meal and a few glasses of wine to settle our nerves (probably another mistake!). An early night ensued followed by a 6am wakeup call ‘Race Day’!
We joined the masses trying to get to the start area and bizarrely bumped into the three Lynch Brothers who were also running for the Lighthouse Club.
It was well documented that the weather was to be the hottest on record and this changed my race plan dramatically. At mile six, I started to feel drained and by mile eight my heart rate had gone above 200 beat per minute. So, I changed my entire strategy and decided to play it safe by running five minutes and walking two minutes for pretty much the whole run. The strategy worked and I crossed the finish line at 4 hrs 41 minutes and Brian came in at a fantastic, 4hrs, 33 minutes. Our sense of achievement was amazing, especially considering the temperature.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported the quiz night, made donations and of course to the wives Louise and Jo who were instrumental in helping us throughout and supporting us on the day.
Rob, Merrill & Darren Lynch
After months of training, the frustration of injuries and last-minute worries, the big day of the London Marathon arrived. The excitement had been growing in the city during the week, and we had all been down to the Expo to register and take in some of the atmosphere.
The morning involved an early start, a trip down on the Jubilee line to London Bridge station, where there were thousands of runners waiting to get on to the train to the start at Greenwich. The sun was already warm and there had been many warnings to participants about staying cool, taking on enough water and adjusting goal times. Our aim was to stay together and finish together, whatever the time it took, especially since we had all sustained various injuries in the preceding month. Going under six hours would be good and getting close to five hours would be amazing.
Rob calmed our pre-race nerves as he drew on his experience running the event back in 2005, and we got into our starting area and eventually set off through the start line at 10.45am. We ran steady over the first miles, winding our around through the masses of charity runners, people dressed as pink lady apples, batman and robin and women on stilts.
The first big landmark was going around the Cutty Sark at mile six and the crowds were wild and vociferous on all sides, hanging out of windows, on top of bus shelters, standing on walls, cheering us all on.
The heat of the day was beginning to be felt, but regular water stations kept us hydrated. There were showers on the course and the fire brigade came out to spray everyone too. Still we kept on going steady passing over Tower Bridge at mile 12 and heading out towards Canary Wharf. At 1.00pm it was the hottest part of the day and it was necessary to slow the pace and reconsider our speed. We knew that family and friends were waiting for us at mile 17 on the Isle of Dogs and it was a massive motivation to get to them, and see our father, Liam, and Darren’s wife Lucy and baby Alistair.
Mile 18 onwards was tough and we needed to walk-run to cool ourselves down and ease the heavy-legged feeling. Our missed training sessions were becoming evident as none of us had gone past the 13-mile mark in training. Despite the brilliant crowd cheering on the ‘Lynch Brothers’ and running past the amazing London landmarks, these next miles became a bit of a blur, though we do remember getting passed by a couple of rhinos! From mile 24, we were feeling cooler and were excited to reach the end, and so we upped the pace, determined to finish strong and enjoy the run along the embankment, past the Houses of Parliament and towards Buckingham Palace to the finish line on the Mall.
26.2 miles in 5 hours and 50 minutes on a desperately hot day, and we made it to the end together. We are all so thankful for the sponsorship that we have received and we are delighted to have raised just shy of £8000 for the Lighthouse Club Charity. We’re already thinking about what challenge we can take on for next year, so watch this space!
Are you up for the challenge?
If you fancy taking on one of our challenges and raising money for our construction workforce, head to our Events page and see what we have coming up including this years British 10K or Ride London 100. It could be you we’re celebrating the success of next time!