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By Vic Lennard Aboudara

25 April 2016

So it’s the morning after the day before.

When I completed the London Marathon in 2015 I felt like a fraud. Six hour and 44 minutes just wasn’t acceptable. I hadn’t run a single step. Admittedly there were a number of reasons why my training was curtailed but I really didn’t feel I deserved the medal. And that’s why I decided to do it all again this year.

Inflammation in my left knee and right big toe cut out most of my training for the final few weeks. But I had speed-walked 32km at eight minutes per km pace some five weeks before the event and felt I could repeat this on the day. I then intended to jog the rest of the way and aim for a time around five-and-a-half hours.

Three days before the event I couldn’t put any weight on my right foot courtesy of the toe problem. Daily anti-inflammatories helped but I knew that running on this wouldn’t be easy.

So to the day. It started with a small bowl of porridge at about 6am followed by my adrenal supplement. I made up three bottles to take with me: Ucan superstarch for the start and a refill at 26km, and a protein/adrenal support drink for the finish.

For the event I was at the very rear of the red start zone which took almost half-an-hour to reach the start banner. Quite useful – it took a full 20 minutes to get reception for Spotify and for my Garmin watch. Once through the start I settled down to speed-walking to funk and soul music at 140 paces per minute (I really love Spotify’s running mode!)

I certainly started a bit too fast – or too long a pace in my case – with the first 5km completed at least a minute too fast. Settling into a regular pace, I reached 10km at 79 minutes and 15km at 121 minutes. At this point the pain in my knees and right foot started to slow me down despite taking pain killers. I reached the 20km mark at 163 minutes and by 25km I was a full six minutes outside of my schedule. By 30km this became 11 minutes.

One km further on I took the decision to start jogging a bit. At first I couldn’t sustain more than 100 metres before the pain made me drop back to walking but over the next five or six kilometres my times came down to eight-and-a-half minutes per km. I was jogging for about 600-700 metres per km and walking the rest.

Once on the Embankment and within 1500 metres of the finish, the crowd really lifted me. My last kilometre was seven-and-a-half minutes (even with my knees screaming “slow down”) and I crossed the line in five hours 55 minutes. Not as fast as I would have liked but still almost 50 minutes faster than last year.

I raised over £1600 for Backcare. I have a series of 10km races lined up over the next three months and I’m sure more will follow.

Will I do another marathon? Probably not – but the brain has a habit of suffering from convenient amnesia as far as the pain’s concerned!

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