Our London 2021 Ballot Winner shares his race experience

Most years, the Club receive a place in the London Marathon, which is put into a ballot for members interested in running.  This is based on the number of athletes the Club has affiliated with England Athletics.  This year, the lucky member was John MacPherson – and he has told us about his race experience.

So in 2019 I did the London marathon with a charity place running for the Royal British Legion.  Back then I did not know anyone in the Spartans and as such trained on my own.  I found the long run a real struggle on my own. T he event was incredible and while my time was nothing amazing coming in at 4.06, I was hooked.  Back in 2019 I with two others I signed up for Paris marathon, then along came CV-19 and Paris marathon training went on for what felt like ever with the obvious lockdown delays and cancelations.  So when I heard London was on this year and Spartans had a place I had to enter the ballot, cause there was no chance France would get organised and let Paris marathon go ahead was there?  As it turned out there was and it did go ahead, so I ended up doing two marathons in two weeks, which was never the plan.

A group of about 6 to 8 mostly Spartans, some who were training for Jersey, did the long Sunday run together.  It was an enjoyable social, that we plan to keep doing which is great, running in a group really helps!

Anyway back to London, I was able to raise a few quid for Jersey Hospice by asking work colleagues to guess my time. When Saturday 2nd October came it was an early start flying to London.  This year was different due to Cv-19 restrictions.  We had to pack our bag for the end of the race and hand it in at the Excel when we picked up our bib number.  When we dropped off the bag we got a glimpse of the finishers medal and T shirt being put in our bag, which felt a little disappointing.  We also had to prove we were CV-19 free by providing a negative lateral flow test.  I was told mine was out of date and had to arrange another on Saturday afternoon, so a little more time on my feet.  Anyway it was easy to arrange and I was all was ready for Sunday.  In the morning it was nice to see the hotel dining room full of runners, this time I was careful to eat a good breakfast – a lesson learned from last time where I realised I did not fuel properly.  I arrived in good time to the Red start and waited for wave 7 to be allowed into our cage.  The nerves certainly kicked in at that point seeing thousands of people and all the helicopters above, a real buzz.

The run was incredible with lots of memorable moments from the crowd, bands, signs, people dressed up….

The atmosphere this time felt better than last time, maybe a reflection on people just getting back to normal again?

My training with others on the long run really helped this time and I was able to finish approx 10min quicker than last time in 3.56.  We stayed in a hotel in Canary Wharf, which I would highly recommend as you could see from the start to the finish and the race ran past the front door.  I did feel amazing getting back to the hotel in the afternoon after the run, only to see people still running past!

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