Rowe Running

Supporting the London Marathon - 21 April 2024

By on david sharon bognor regis tone zone runners the stragglers ranelagh harriers

I’ve previously written about how my running in 2023 went downhill a week after running the London Marathon and since I wrote that blog at the start of January this year nothing much has changed. I can run a parkrun close to 22 minutes (great), but am only running pretty much once a week with maybe two hours of gentle cycling during the week. I’ve been OK with that. I just have to accept it.

Back to running…. a couple of weeks ago I put my request to defer my 2024 London Marathon ballot entry in and I should hear more about it in June. It should be just a case of pay my entry fee for 2025 and that’s it.

For this years London Marathon Sharon and I decided to head up to the big smoke and support the runners. In the days leading up to the race I’d been adding people to the tracking app on my phone and we’d hopefully be able to use that to help us pinpoint when to see people we were looking out for.

I had a good idea of where I wanted to be (about 15.5 miles) into the route just after runners head onto the Isle of Dogs, which is about two miles before the crazy noise of Canary Wharf. We drove to East Croydon, caught a train to London Bridge and then three stops on the underground to Canary Wharf. A stroll along to Westferry Road and we set up camp. There were no barriers at the side of the road, it was quiet and there was plenty of space around us.

I remember this part of the route from last year (and previous years) and remember it being fairly quiet - and it still was. That was until Sharon got a cowbell out of our rucksack and rang it for the next few hours!!!

We’d made a couple of “supportive” signs for the runners (a few did enquire about the short cut!) and although we’d just missed the leading women we saw some that were slightly further back before long the leading males came through.

Our supporting spot

It wasn’t too long before the fast club runners started coming through. This in our eyes is one of our favourite parts of the event. These are regular folk who just run really really fast. All adorned in their running club vests and trying to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. They’re running in packs - not necessarily trying to beat everyone around them, but I think more working together to travel as fast and as efficiently as possible around London.

One of the highlights was seeing two ladies from The Stragglers running club in Kingston (a club where we were once members for a few years) right up there. They were both in the 40-44 age group and the fastest (Lisa Bailey) ran just over 2 hours 44 to finish 15th female overall in the mass start race. Superb.

As the race got busier we had to work hard to try and spot people on our list. I’d say out of about 20 people who we knew we probably saw 15 of them - that’s a pretty good result I’d say - especially with around 54,000 people taking part.

We gave some good cheers to people from The Stragglers, Ranelagh Harriers and of course our local club Bognor Regis Tone Zone Runners - as well as some other runners who we knew from parkrun.

It was good to spot and call out Mike Peace, running London for the 44th consecutive time as one of only six remaining ever-present runners at London.

Mike Peace - 44 London Marathons and counting

The main people we wanted to see were our really good friends Allen and Kirstee who were running to raise money for a local hospice which is close to their hearts. After they came through the first time we were able to rush off and see them at two other places during the next three miles of their marathon. They ran together (which was no mean feat when they were on separate start lines and began a good few minutes apart) and by all accounts had an amazing time. This race is special - really special.

Sharon asked if I was sad not being able to take part in the race. I replied that I wasn’t sad - but only because I had been able to defer my place to 2025. If I couldn’t have done that then yes, I’d have been sad. But now I was excited that I’ve got the opportunity to be here next year.

So now I need to try and slowly start to build up some regular running and not just once a week parkruns. Fingers (and everything else) crossed that my body can handle it. At the moment for 2025 I’m not looking at speed (maybe that sub-3 hour marathon dream will never happen) but I just want to be able to get to the start line next April able to run 26.2 miles.

© David & Sharon Rowe - - email me