A Marathon effort
Article by Jamie Forrester
Updated Wednesday, 20th April 2011
The former Scunthorpe striker Jamie Forrester, an Iron-Bru.net columnist and BBC pundit, tells us about his experiences in Sunday's London Marathon.
I thought I would try to put into words my London Marathon experience seeing as though I haven’t blogged for so long. My training programme was provided by Ian Willows (Director at V2 in Lincoln, http://www.vital2.co.uk)
"I was worryingly way ahead of schedule. At around this time I realised what "the wall" felt like. Everybody talks about it and you know that it will come but when it does it really knocks you sideways"
Initially I found the training quite easy. As the longer training runs became more frequent I must admit that I struggled both mentally and physically. When I announced to people I knew that I would be running the Marathon the vast majority of people cast aside my apprehension by declaring that I would be fine given my footballing background over the last 20 or so years. I knew that it would be a different ball game though as the training was so much different to football.
I trained up to 16 miles as my longest run. The training at this stage was becoming a chore and I was getting lots of aches and pains as a result. I decided to stop my training about four weeks before race day to save some in the tank. Looking back it was the right decision.
Race day was one of those days I will never forget. I was really up for it. The atmosphere on the way to the start on the tube was special. To see so many people in the same boat was very inspiring.
For the first few miles I was taking it all in. I felt very comfortable and was still running on adrenalin I think. I managed to get to half way at about 1hr 45 mins. I was worryingly way ahead of schedule. At around this time I realised what "the wall" felt like. Everybody talks about it and you know that it will come but when it does it really knocks you sideways.
I imagined that my wall would be around mile 16 given that I trained to that distance. In fact it came earlier at 13-14 miles. I think that was because I started so quickly. From then on my running technique was all over the place. It was a mental and physical torture until the end- nearly two and a half hours. I can safely say that I have never experienced pain such as that. I cramped up in my hamstrings on three or four occasions which worried me slightly. I think the heat on the day was a major factor for that.
As time went I saw more and more walkers, as well as more people requiring medical attention. At 22 miles I was done. I was very close to walking to the finish but I somehow talked myself out of it. Once the 24 mile marker was in sight I knew I would make it home.
The crowd along the way were absolutely superb. Others had mentioned the influence that the crowd had but you really have to experience it to understand the positive effect they have, particularly towards the latter stages.
So 4 hours 09 minutes and 35 seconds. I had hoped to be sub four hours but I feel an enormous sense of achievement in, not only competing, but running for such a worthwhile cause (The Lincoln Multiple Sclerosis Centre).
I have received many messages of congratulations. Many of those messages had the "I couldn’t do it" in there somewhere. Well, when you have a man in his 60′s encouraging you along after 23 miles with a smile on his face it makes you realise that this is something that anybody can do.
Please follow the link below to my Just Giving page if you would like to make a donation to The Lincoln MS Therapy Centre - http://www.justgiving.com/Jamie-Forrester.
Jamie Forrester played in 121 competitive games for Scunthorpe United between March 1997 and June 1999, scoring 43 goals and helping the Iron win promotion from Division Three. He spent 18 years as a professional footballer, playing in France and Holland as well as in the English leagues. His Beh1ndthescences blog and Twitter pages offer an insight into life as a professional player, he also runs an energy saving company and is a regular expert summariser on BBC Radio Humberside.