After successfully gaining the NLFR club place in 2021, I was able to gain a good-for-age entry for this year’s TCS London marathon (a good-for-age for F50 is sub 4 hours, for M50 it is sub 3.15, 6,000 GFA places are allocated altogether, so running the time no longer guarantees an entry).

Over 40 000 runners competed in the 42nd year of the race. As some of you may remember from last year’s report, I ran a dysphoric* race. But, this year, with my time of 3.40.10, I was 12 and a half minutes faster!

This year I was better prepared: I had recced parts of the route and associated them with pleasant memories, I had focused on 10 minutes  of little core exercises on alternate days, I had no alcohol for four weeks leading up to the race (not that I drink much anyway) and I had followed a personalised plan from Josh Griffiths (that cost me about £100).

It was still a wave start race and I left on the third wave from the green start. The weather was dry and became sunny. This time, I felt good at the Cutty Sark (6 miles in), at Tower Bridge (half way) and continued to do so. I was meticulous with gels (every 4 miles), electrolyte tablets and water.

True to the race’s reputation, crowds shouted encouragement along the entire course. I pinned my name on my vest this time and people did encouragingly shout it. Our esteemed Mrs Dom Nurse cheered me on at the boat and  Mudchutes. I kept my pace regular and was passing people right up to the end, there was even some elbowing at points as the course remained congested. The final several miles, where you see the sights, were actually pleasant, I was not clinging on for dear life like last year. The finish line came quickly, then what seems like an endless walk up the segregated runners’ area up the Mall to collect baggage. I got two medals, the other for the Abbots World Marathon Series that age groupers were entered into too.

So, I’ve entered with a good-for age-time for 2023, when the race returns to its usual date of April. I’d certainly recommend running the London Marathon to anyone, even though it is at the polar opposite of the races most of NLFR run. A flat road marathon is an attritional metronomic cardiovascular challenge, with some mental resilience thrown in, there is little outlet for the technical skills of you brilliant off-roaders, but it might be worth a try for you all?

— Lisa Rudkin

*dysphoric (adj) from dysphoria (n): a state of unease or general dissatisfaction. From the Greek dusphoros: ‘hard to bear.’