Final blog - THE Marathon by Stephen Ralston

It’s been great to read all of the other blogs into the run up to the Marathon. In many cases I share all of the same feelings that others have conveyed: gratitude to the club; the excitement of the start line; the struggle; and finally the heat!  I don’t think I could write a story of the day in the way the others have captured all the feelings, so I wanted to share some of my own thoughts on the day.


  1. It was warm at 5 AM.  The Eagles bus to Greenwich was a joy and made it so simply to just disengage and travel comfortably (thanks to all who arranged this). It was a different story at 5:15. I had calculated that on a lazy day I can run from home to Ealing green in about 10 minutes.  I thought 20 mins would be enough, although as it turned out I gave myself less. After 5 minutes I realised I was going to be late so decided to run for a short while; a couple of minutes on decided to run again, this time bringing a sweat up.  Despite all the weather warnings, texts from VLM and Facebook club advice I think it suddenly dawned on me, “its not long past 5am and its already warm, maybe I need to rethink today!”
  2. How far to mile 23? First half of the marathon was ok. It was hot, I ran with Andy, Harry and Kieron and shared words of encouragement, and with the exception of feeling hot and looking for every water stop, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the idea that I was running THE Marathon that I had grown up watching.  I thought of my late Grandmother who had always watched the marathon (both live and highlights) and how she would have felt watching me run on the day.  That was the first half anyway.  Not long after seeing Mo Farah on the other side of the road I suddenly started to struggle a bit (in retrospect my ‘C’mon Mo’ probably used up too much energy). I felt a cramp in my left thigh and paranoia grew.  Everywhere I seemed to look there was Zombies who had hit the wall, people were falling, or had stooped to stretch.  My fear was that if I stopped to stretch, it could make things worse and I would struggle to get going again. I vividly remember mile 13,.. the dread of thinking that I think I need mile 23 now, and that’s ten miles away!
  3. A river of Lucozade. This isn’t exactly as you would picture it. At every Lucozade drink stations there seemed to be streams of quarter drank discarded bottles everywhere. Each stream had a mind of its own snaking up and down, left and right across the road.  It was like an assault course and as the distance grew, it became more perilous as the fear of one slip on a bottle could trigger an unexpected cramp. This wasn’t the same as the water stops where it seemed that everyone drank and discarded.
  4. The beauty of a lookalike. Everyone who shouted ‘Come on Dave/ Stephen/ Daddy’, that was me! I was taking them all, even if they though David Powlsen was running the Marathon. I recommend it! It’s a great way to add some cheer to a tired moment!
  5. The cruelty of a lookalike. Dave P, I thought we had an agreement to meet at the phone box at mile 22?? No sign of you! I was broken, in heart and in mind!
  6. Mile 23.  People said I looked really tired when I got to mile 23. Don’t be fooled I was hamming it up. Nothing to do with the struggle from mile 13 that I describe above.  You were all great and a real boost to have such a reception.
  7. Injury.  I was injured before and I’m more injured now.  Hopefully I will see you all soon, but its just light running for a while and loads of physio prescribed stretches and exercises. My physio is great. You go in with a sore hip, and you come out with a hamstring tear and a misaligned pelvic.  I don’t know where I misaligned my pelvic but effectively I’m a medical miracle given my structural imbalance.  She does have a way of looking at me to suggest that things don’t heal that fast and that I can’t realign a pelvis that fast, but I plan on giving it some beans and booking an October Marathon. Let the healing commence!


  1. End of blog.  I went to Five Guys on the evening after VLM and it felt very much deserved.