By Claire Wynarczyk
I know a few days has passed since I completed the fifth edition of London Landmarks Half marathon but it’s given me time to reflect on the most perfect day and come down from the high.
After a computer error knocked me out of the first edition and many failed ballot applications since I bit the bullet and raised £350 for a Tommy’s baby charity I was meant to do it in 2020 but .. yeah you know the rest I opted to defer to spring 2022 rather than summer 2021.
Could this have been the wrong decision (spoiler alert it all worked out ok in the end)
Most people will know in September while at a parkrun in London the day before a 10k, I broke a bone in my foot, so there was no 10k race for me.
By this point I wished I had opted for landmarks in summer 2021 but hindsight would have been a lovely thing. I then knew I had almost seven months till race day and would have to see how recovery was going as to whether I could train and do the half.
Fast forward a bit and Christmas time was when I could start running properly and begin to transition into a three month rehab plan from Sophie Marr physiotherapy.
It was a great 12 week build up following plan and making my return to Group 5 (finally) this was instrumental in my comeback and training for a half – thank you leaders.
After all the training, I was on coiled springs and couldn’t wait to do the event having heard good things about it. I was mainly looking forward to sightseeing and on route entertainment and boy was it everything that I expected and more.
I went into the race super confident and excited to do a half … This was rare… no race nerves nothing I felt it was too good to be true… was the crash going to happen between 8–10 miles like in training? Would I see myself walking all the way from Tower of London to Downing Street?
I got talking to people who recognised my Northern accent as I got of the tube near the start and then we were off.
Miles 1–3 saw Dan Buckley and Rachel McCracken after 1 mile before coming out of theatre land to the sound of One Day More from Les Misérables, first perfect part of the race temperature and weather was sunny and cool perfect all going good as got onto embankment.
Mile 3–6 mostly round St Paul’s and the Ministry of Justice running parts of the course I didn’t get to run in the London 10k in September felt like I wasn’t missing much and the only walking so far was a quick taking of photos crowds atmosphere and music really helping to lift us.
Miles 6–9 still going good but with seeing runners in all different directions it felt like how many streets do we go down before we get down to the river, I was still loving it though got to run through the Guildhall with volunteers dressed as Romans. Also got to hear the bells of Bow sound sent shivers down by spine.
Mile 9–10 finally down to the river and uphill towards Tower Hill and Tower of London. This was where I was a bit wary of could it all go wrong, I decided to walk the uphill small section to mile 10 in the hope it would save me some effort for the part of course I seemed to be looking forward to. I seemed to be looking forward to running along the embankment from Tower Hill to Big Ben along the Riverside. A spectator giving out bananas gave me the boost I needed for the last 3 miles.
Now let’s pause a minute Target A was finish after my accident, Target B was sub 3 ,Target C 2:50.
At 10 miles 2:10ish I knew 3 hours was mine to lose and 2:50 was still in sight a realistic target (pb 2:32 but had to be realistic).
It was then along the embankment and out the Rave tunnel (didn’t feel much like a rave tunnel but it kept us moving ahead of the slight uphill break I had to get out of it)
Big Ben was in sight at this point I could still sense I would be close to 2:50 after turning at Big Ben it was back along embankment toward Whitehall in the last half a mile passing the choir singing This is Me from The Greatest Showman, again a well perfect passing of a choir listening to a motivational song.
All that was left to do was run down Whitehall to finish right by Downing Street and surprisingly I found the energy for a sprint finish to cross the line in 2:49:58 boom target B was smashed (just).
But seriously after everything I finished sub 2:50 was a perfect bonus to round off a perfect event. It all worked out ok in the end and I made the right call deferring from summer 2020 weather was perfect and recovery and training came together at the perfect time. I surprised myself even more by not burning out.
The medal this year was Big Ben and a spinning clock face which opens up with route inside of it.
Now onto Edinburgh Half 2022 training…