London Marathon 2016

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The Boss – aka Lee Dawson, was one of the NINE Poplar runners who took on the London Marathon this year… Amazing performances again by our runners. A few words from our emotional Boss follows…

On the Saturday a team of us travelled down London to start our London marathon journeys, first up is the visit to the excel centre to collect our running numbers, this place is heaving with runners and supporters, lots of advertising stalls and promotions. Time spend in the excel is more time on the feet which is never good prep for such a big race, but needs to be done. The rest of the day was filled up with booking into the hotel, food and rest.

Race day, I was up at 6am so decided a nice walk around the docks would clear the sleepy head, I was met with a bitter cold wind, rain and very dull clouds. 8am was our meet time in reception and before we knew it we had set off to find our coloured start lines in Greenwich park, the rain had stopped and the sun came out so this lifted the nervous mood. We arrived in good time to Greenwich park and filtered off into our pens to prepare to start the race.

Race start was 10am, and in no time we were running the london marathon, a nice flat fairly quiet few miles passed, the green coloured starters joined the blue ones after 3 miles and the blue starters joined together after 4-5 miles, the roads were very busy with runners, hard to get a good flow. The race comes alive at the cutty sark at mile 6, the crowds were noisy and had turned out in force, the atmosphere was electric. Between mile 6 and 12 you tend to get into a pattern with pace but all the time you are thinking of tower bridge. Now tower bridge is a very special moment in this race, both times I’ve ran London I’ve been an emotional wreck crossing over it, and I’m pretty sure the other 8 pops felts the same, speaking after the race this was confirmed….not only is it a magical atmosphere but it’s nearly half way, you pass the half way point and head towards canary wharf, which is famous for it’s support. Hitting canary wharf which is where our hotel was positioned was another special moment, the roads are tighter and a few bends added in all helped with the increased noise….amazing support, sometimes 7-8 people deep, our very vocal pops supporters were at mile 18 and gave us all that lift we needed. You tend to come out of canary wharf roughly at mile 19 and then you are heading in the right direction to the finishing line, obviously there’s still a lot of work to do and it’s around here runners tend to hit the wall or get tired, me personally I got tired at mile 21, but with 5.2 miles to go you just keep going counting down the miles and taking in the support and famous landmarks, at mile 24 you go under a bridge and come out seeing Big Ben and the London eye, it’s the first time in the race you think “hang on I’m nearly finished” just keep going get to Big Ben, swing a right turn and head up birdcage walk to Buckingham palace….one if the best feelings is seeing that sign reading 800 metres, then that feeling improves when you read the next one, 600 metres to go…..turn right again and the next sign reads 385 metres to go and you can see the finish line….wow what a feeling, you cross that line feeling emotional, tired, ecstatic, leggy, lost and confused, receive your medal and goodie bag, locate the lorry which your own bag is located, then I decided to head back to hotel, I know some guys stayed and visited the charities…the hilly with a lot of steps walk up to Piccadilly tube station was greeted with the pubic all saying well done and congratulations, which felt amazing, even had people taking pictures of the medal….somehow managed to negotiate my way back to the gang and pretty much headed home.

The one thing amazing things about this wonderful club I run for is the support we get, and today the support was amazing, the pops and friends were everywhere and from the bottom of my heart I want to say a huge thank you. Not only just to the people that travelled but to the mad people at home watching us on the tracker, that is amazing to hear so many were routing for us…..THANK YOU ALL, now I’ve not named any pops in my book/essay so here it goes,

Phillip Elliot 2.57.56…yes read that again, this lad is a gem, not only is he so laid back and humble but he is turning into one hell of a fast runner, this time qualifies for a good for age and to break 3 hours is unreal, everyone was very proud of him. Had the pleasure of a chat at 4 miles with him, when he said hey up sexy as he flew by.

Nicola Holmes 3:08:41…once again the ladies captain produced the goods, Nicola is flying and a time to enter the elites next year was a brill effort. I was lucky enough to run with her for pretty much most of the race, helping each other but she grew strong towards the end and there was no way of stopping her.

Lee Dawson 3:10:50….chuffed with a 27 minute PB, more chuffed with everyone else, was pretty fine all race apart from the usual tiredness until I tried to ring my boys after the race, complete meltdown could not get a word out.

Kevin Brooks 3:51:43….marathon debut and a great time, Kev will tell you he is not happy, but I think he’s done a great job even with a toilet stop and the folks at home all saying why has Kev stopped (in the loo). He will always be our favourite coach.

Mark Purvey 3:57:34…marathon debut and a brilliant time, was desperate to beat 4 hours and did, marks journey has been life changing and one we can all learn from. This guy stuck to his training and marathon plan to the letter and it paid off, well done pal you should be very proud.

Leanne Milner 4:16:39…another debut at this distance, and another brilliant time, I didn’t manage to see Leanne on the day, but with my eagle eye I saw her on the television at the start. Even though it was hard work I know she loved it and Im pretty sure she will do more, excellent work.

Damo Pedge 4:45:15….with very little prep because of injury, damo has once again proved what a ledge the pedge is. This guy raises thousands for LOROS and does the club very proud, a true gent, well done pal

Tanya Checkley 5:17:57….poor Tanya had a rocky start with being in then out then in again with starting the marathon, the late decision from UKA for her to run left her with no prep time at all, but this girl is tough and nothing was going to stop her finishing this race. I was chuffed to see her on course and even managed to squirt water over her haha, sorry Tanya, a real great effort, brilliant

Joanne Checkley 5:40:22….these Checkley girls are tough and another brilliant effort from Joanne, had the pleasure of a before the race kiss, thanks for that. Wonderful effort and time Joanne, very proud of you.

Sorry if this has dragged on, I’m not very good at these type of things, thanks again to everyone #upthepops

Thank you gaffer……book is out in July lol

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Jim fixed it for Kev

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