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The day's temperature was set for scorchio, so I knew a speedy approach wouldn't pay dividends. Instead I treated it as a slow pootly jog that would double up as my One Pound Challenge run for the day.
I pushed right onto the front row of the Green Start next to Liz McColgan, with my foot against the starting mat. When the hooter sounded, Liz and I lead out for the first 100 metres or so until I chose to back right off to heart rate just over 160. I enjoyed watching swarms of people overtaking, thinking there would be all the more targets to aim for in the 2nd half.
The first mile arrived at 6:20, and I kept the 6:30 miles going until halfway at 1:25:06. That was half of the race out the way without breaking sweat.
I then got a bit too excited after mile 14 and started pressing too soon. Runners were there for the taking, but I attacked with too much vigour and then started feeling a bit washed out around miles 16 to 20. Gels and lucozade were taken onboard, fighting back the queaziness, and around mile 22 I started winding it up.
One last lucozade station just before the delicious coolness of the underpass, then back out into the searing heat for the final 2 mile section along Thames Embankment. My target time of 2:50 was now out the window, unless I could clock sub 6 minute miling to the end. I ramped it up again to what felt like a sprint to cross Parliament Square and race up Birdcage Walk passing dozens of flailing runners.
Hitting the final bend beneath Buckingham Palace I turned to hammer into the closing straight, but couldn't make any sense of what I was looking at: Runners veering off at all angles. Red, green and blue lines aiming for 3 different gates. Officials giving no directions. Clock times that made no sense. Completely baffled I jogged into the middle of the 3 gates in a hoarde of other runners finishing simultaneously.
I felt fine after finishing, apart from the endless trudge down The Mall to find some grass to slump on. And pleased enough to have run 20 minutes quicker than last time, clocking 2:53:19.