London Marathon

20 April 2024 Peter Webb Comments Off

Good luck

If you are running the London marathon, then I’m jealous! But I wish you the best of luck and hope you have an excellent run. Good luck to all those running or watching the London Marathon.

I still harbour ambitions to do one more marathon. If I can stay injury free for a few years, I may try once more, but I’m getting old now, so it gets less likely each year. Nothing’s impossible, though, as I could always enter the wheelchair race!

Why running a marathon is a bit like trading

I think Running a marathon is a bit like trading. You start full of optimism, try really hard and feel good about it, and maybe you get off to a good start.

Then you realise that it’s not actually as easy as putting one foot in front of the other and takes a bit of effort and a fair bit of pain. Some people realise it’s a lot of effort and drop out. You often consider it yourself, push on and finally get in the zone. At this point, you really start to enjoy it. Eventually, you cross the finish line, feel it was worth the gargantuan effort, and start wondering, what next? Then of course, you have those that say it’s impossible and you probably never did it!

I remember the marathon’s endless preparation and those tough days during the winter when you really wondered if you had gone mad. But there was nothing comparable to crossing that finish line. This is why I’d love to do it again.

I first ran the London marathon ‘seriously’ for a running club in 1993. I was at the peak of my abilities at that age and demolished the first 20 miles of the course. That’s where you traditionally hit ‘the wall’, precisely what happened to me. So the final 6 miles were not so impressive. I never got used to that feeling and always preferred the half marathon, which I could time to perfection.

Later that year I ran my fastest ever 10k, 10m and half marathon and actually got seeded in the Great South Run, as the 117th fastest 10-mile runner. The following year a trip to Houston would pretty much change everything in my life and my running gradually took a back seat from that point onwards.

Trading the London Marathon

Until recently you could actually trade the The London Marathon on Betfair, but it was not a big trading market. But it did throw up the unexpected. In 2005, you could have backed the women’s runner in running at 1.50 at 22 miles while firmly in the lead thanks to an unusual situation.

It’s worth laying low or backing high when you have sports that are difficult to model. Athletics is one of the sports. I’ve done a video that accompanies this type of trade, so watch that if you want the whole story.

London Marathon 2005 market

Trading the London Marathon

My life is punctuated with some funny and, quite frankly, unbelievable moments.

A few years after my regular running had declined, I was working for Compaq when the London marathon committee decided to add some spice to the race by getting representatives from each club to run in a ‘football challenge’. Each team would be ranked by how quickly they finished.

Not all clubs were as enthusiastic as each other, and some were scrambling to find competitors. The company I worked for then sponsored Queens Park Rangers, and the club didn’t have an entrant. Step in, Peter, to bail out the club and sponsor. I was sort of pressganged into it, as I was the only person who had ever done any ‘serious’ running.

I only had about five months’ notice to get my fitness levels up to an acceptable standard, which was quite an ask. So I would turn up very early in the morning at the office, go for a long run around Richmond Park, shower, and then work for the day. By the evening, I may go for another run. Training for long-distance running is all about learning to run on tired legs.

I also got roped into helping with the PR for the London marathon. So I participated in photo shoots and press interviews for the ‘football challenge’. I even got interviewed by Radio five live! I remember it well as QPR were struggling to avoid relegation, and when asked as a ‘QPR fan’ about the situation, I said I would run the marathon the same way QPR would avoid relegation. Off to a slow start, but would pick up speed by the end!

I managed to make it to the start without injury but wasn’t fit enough to run the way I did at a running club. But still managed to get around OK. I learnt that running for charity with no time pressure allowed me to enjoy the day. Which I didn’t when I ran it competitively. There are always two sides to this race.

So with that in mind, if you are running, I wish you the best of luck.

London Marathon Football Challenge

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