Carolyn Kovash came all the way from the USA to take part in the London Marathon on behalf of the MS Trust. Below is her race day report.
"The London Marathon has finally come and gone and while I fell short of my 4:19 goal, I eeked out a PR with a 4:27:19 finish in my seventh marathon and first international marathon. For me, that was a great birthday present. I was also sixth on the list of top fundraisers for the MS Trust in the UK. Not bad for the only American on the team!
"There were some interesting features of the London Marathon I had not seen at other races. We played guinea pig to a new paper disposable peeing device for the female runners. While it seemed like a nice idea, we still chose to stand in the long port-a-potty lines instead. The London Marathon also gave out water and Lucozade sport drink in bottles rather than cups, which was somewhat problematic when 45,000 runners took 3 sips and then threw the more than half full bottle away. I was tripping over bottles at every drink station.
"The course is known to be fast - mostly because of elevation, however, the narrowed streets and large field of participants did make it challenging to keep up with my intended pace... and to find my family among the spectators! The start consisted of three different waves and we ran different streets for the first three miles and then converged. At that point, we were pretty much elbow to elbow for the remainder of the race. It took a lot of finesse to pass slower runners. At mile 14, the course took us under an overpass and I was under long enough for my Garmin to lose its satellite connection. After that point, my mile splits were not accurate and I had to rely on "feel" for pace.
"What a beautiful course and great spectators. I would run this race again, only slot myself much closer to the front if possible. The weather was spectacular - it did hit nearly 70 degrees on race day and many runners did fall victim to the heat. The MS Trust were wonderful hosts, providing us with a massage, beverages, and a hot shower after the race.
"As for the elite race, it was also pretty fantastic. Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru smashed Martin Lel's one-year-old course record to win the marathon in a personal best of 2:05:10 after a gripping battle with Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede who finished just 10 seconds behind. In the women's race, Germany's Irina Mikitenko became the first woman since Paula Radcliffe to retain her London Marathon title as she held off a spirited challenge from Britain's Mara Yamauchi to win the third marathon of her career and cement her first place on the World Marathon Majors leaderboard. What amazes me is that the men's winner was 22 years old, while the winner of the female race was nearly 37 years old! There is hope for all of us older female runners!" Carolyn