This turned out to be very tiring. My own fault. The previous Wednesday I ran twice. 3.5 miles in the morning and STRIDE THROUGH THE WOODS 5K TRAIL in the evening. I went there primarily to collect some Manchester Marathon books from my co-author Neil Shuttleworth to sign them for sale at the Greater Manchester Marathon EXPO the weekend after London. It was not a good run for me. I ran to the start, in the woods between the PeakForestCanaland the River Tame, as a warm up but on the first hill found myself breathless. My pace was consistent, though, the two laps being covered in 15:12 then 14:49 when I had warmed up more, to give me 30:01 and 63rd place out of 119 finishers and 1st M 70. Winners were Men, Mark Windsor, San Domenico RRC, 18:11,  and Women, Zoe Gmerek, F 35, Sale H. 23:01. Full results at race@hydevillagestriders.org.uk  Congratulations to the organisers on attracting a big field.

I was pretty knackered on my 3.5 miles the next morning before my train to London.I visited the EXPO in the afternoon, touching base at the Ronhill / HILLY section of the London Marathon Store booth and the nearby Sportstours International stand. I gave a public interview with Geoff Whiteman on the big stage which went down well and had a quick look round the whole show. One stand caught my eye, that of Slovakia. They were advertising the Kosice Peace Marathon, the oldest marathon in Europe. I told the two young staff I had been there in 1975 and had passed the halfway turn in 61 minutes something, leading. OK, cool drizzly conditions and a slight following wind. I came back in 77 minutes something, 28th place and suffering from exposure! My eyes wandered to the back of the stand showing pictures of historical highlights of the race. One depicted the 50th Anniversary of the race, 1974. I realised it was MY picture on there, in colour, at the turn wearing a mesh vest and union jack shorts! They were surprised and delighted and so wasI. 1974 was the date!  The next day the race director, Brano Koniar, found me and I think he invited me back in 2014 for the 90th anniversary. Anyone else fancy that?

I attended the Runners World reception in the evening and got to bed as soon as I could. Friday morning 5.5 miles at 7:22 AM, a longer run for me in keeping with my slightly higher mileage and closing out week 16 with 38.5 miles. Into the EXPO with only a megaberry muffin for breakfast. I greeted lots of runners including British marathon record holder Steve Jones visiting from his home inBoulder,Colorado. I told him all about the Athletes Reunited Lunch I was about to attend in the city and he said,” I’m coming.” The Loose Cannon echoed with the voices of 110 athletes from the past. I cannot begin to list them all but the three Brits who ran the 10,000 M in the Mexico City Olympics, myself, Mike Tagg and Jim Hogan were there and the three medallists in the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, me, Jim Alder and Don Faircloth were present.

Saturday morning I was out at 6:51 AM for a 5.5 mile wander run through the streets on a sunny morning. I spent 3 hours in the EXPO and transferred to the Crowne Plaza St James Hotel near BuckinghamPalace. That evening I spoke at a dinner for a group of YPO’s who had travelled to run the London Marathon with Thom Gilligan’s Company Marathon Tours, out of Boston. That went well.

Sunday morning, bright and sunny, I ran to Hyde Parkand covered 6 miles at 10:20 per mile. Fast for me. After breakfast I was driven to Ealing to do some filming for a BBC South programme for the Queen’s Jubilee year. I had forgotten that my second ever marathon was the Polytechnic,Windsor to Chiswick, and firing a silver pistol the Queen had started the race. The Queen looked so young and so did I Fifty years ago! I won the race in 2:21 59 from Franjo Mihalic, marathon silver medallist behind Alain Mimoun in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Third in that “Poly “was Ron Franklin, still running today. Back to Euston, train to Stockportand taxi to Hyde. Home at last.

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