Marathon Marcus, who in April ran both the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon and Boston Marathon one week apart, shares his experience of both races.
Despite running multiple marathons I’ve never run two marathons six days apart.
This April I ran in the coldest Boston Marathon and the hottest Virgin Money London Marathon on record within one week.
Both had weather conditions that were extremes to what I trained in, which made the conditions really tough on race day. Coupled with a knee injury I picked up 4 weeks before Boston, which I didn’t fully shake off, added to the difficulty.
With its rolling course, Boston is already challenging but paired with the worst weather the event has seen for over thirty years, my 17th marathon was the hardest marathon of my life
With the tough conditions my focus wasn’t about thriving, it was just about surviving. So I focused on advice I received from Paula Radcliffe in Chicago last year, which was about putting one foot in front of the other, and keep building until I reached the finish line.
Despite the conditions I somehow managed to run a new PB, and achieved my aim to earn the World Marathon Major Six Star medal. It was an emotional moment at the end of a journey. To earn this medal I ran the major marathons in London, Berlin, Tokyo, New York, Chicago and Boston.
Six days later my hope was that London would be my victory lap for the Six Star finish. However the hot weather added another layer of difficulty.
Prior to running in heat I had to ensure that I was adequately hydrated and took on board enough electrolytes pre and during the marathon. During the Chicago Marathon last year, I cramped up because I hadn’t taken enough electrolytes on board. I had learned my lessons and fortunately I did not cramp up during the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Unsurprisingly my legs were still quite heavy from Boston and they didn’t feel as fresh, so from eight miles in it was tough going to finish.
What got me through was the amazing support of the crowd that lined the route, and the banter from the London Marathon runners. It was one of the best I’ve experienced at a marathon.
One of my favourite comments I heard out on course was from the woman who said “My son’s called Marcus, that means that you must be amazing!!”
Also the guy near the finish line who yelled “I’ve done it!!” only to be told by another runner, “No you haven’t, the sign above says we have 385 yards to go…”
Finally the Run Dem Crew tunnel of epic support at Mile 21, and all of the people who I know from the running community who cheered me on, and really lifted my spirits and helped carry me to the end.
Once I crossed the line I was totally relieved and grateful to have a running break!!
On reflection post-race, whilst I’m not the fastest or the best, I work to be the best runner that I can be, and that’s enough for me. I ran my first London Marathon in 4:55 and finished in 3:33 after running Boston 6 days earlier. It’s steps in the right direction as I keep working to see what my best will look like.
If you want to see what my next challenge is, follow me on Instagram @themarathonmarcus