Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A pyrrhic PB

Pyr·rhic victory
A victory that is offset by staggering losses.

Over the London Marathon weekend, I managed to pick myself up a new parkrun PB at Wormwood Scrubs.  I was fortunate in the respect that conditions on the day were pretty decent.  I was also in good condition as I'd been training for the following week's Greater Manchester Marathon.  This was the third time I've set a parkrun PB the week before a marathon and it was the perfect confidence booster ahead of the big day.

A friend from my running club also beat his 5k PB over the same weekend.

Unfortunately, it was something of a pyrrhic PB as he was actually running the London Marathon at the time.

So, when the gun went off, so did he -- like a scalded cat.  His split for the first five kilometres astonishingly turned out to be quicker than any of his previous stand-alone attempts at the 5k.  All well and good, apart from the small matter that he still had over 23 miles to run.

Unsurprisingly, he paid for it later on: I'm not sure if the time he recorded was also his best for the full marathon, but it was nearly a debut appearance in the wheelchair marathon -- St John's Ambulance were apparently taking quite an interest in him during the latter stages of the race, as he told me via email:

"Paralysed with cramp 400 yards from the finish attended to by st johns ambulance - not pretty. It has to go down as a textbook 'how not to run a marathon'."

A suitably poignant conclusion to the tale is that he then had to walk home, which proved a bit of a struggle.  He very graciously gave me his permission to relate the tale of his over-exuberant, unscheduled 5k PB as a warning to others.  Save it for parkrun, folks.


5 tips for marathon pacing

My blog post on the Greater Manchester Marathon


  1. Your most important 5k and 10k PBs should the be last 10k and 5k of the marathon.... not the first. Mine? 39:08(10k) and 19:10 (5k)

  2. I feel desperately guilty for laughing. A lessoned learned for him, I hope! Great story.

  3. I blame London for being one of the world's five major marathons, with an unbeatable atmosphere. It could have happened to anyone. If only he'd entered the Cleethorpes Classic or the Lemsip Market Harborough Marathon instead, he could probably have kept a lid on things.

    (Disclaimer: I'm pretty sure neither of those marathons really exist.)


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