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Alton Sports Ambassadors at the London Marathon!

We love London Marathon Weekend at Alton Sports. It starts for us on the Tuesday when we head up the Expo and then finishes on the Saturday night when we have to pack down after a few of the busiest days of our lives. Oh, not forgetting the actual marathon on the Sunday which is the best part. Four of our team were involved in running this year… check out what they had to say about the event!

Dave Warman:

“I may not be elite but I did it!! The Marathon is a challenge at best but with Coach Lambert (Alton Sports founder and 2;18 marathon runner) in my corner I can confirm “Mission accomplished.”

The atmosphere was incredible, there was support on the course from mile 1 to 26. I was using my new New Balance 1080 shoes and with my enhanced gel strategy with the Maurten Gels I felt good and crossed the line with a PB of 4:28, I knocked 21 minutes of my last go at the marathon (Jan 2018) and I beat my all-time best marathon (May 2017) time by 3 minutes & I am two years older!!

So there is still life in my old legs yet.”

Adam Marcinowicz:

“Sunday April 28th saw the 39th edition of the London Marathon take place with a record 40,000+ finishers.  I love London Marathon day, it is the best day, and an event I have attended 10 times since my first running of it in 2003, this was my 7th Run.

To my surprise this year, I was fortunate to receive a ballot place. I had to enter the ballot after the punishing heat of last year’s event caused the wheels to fall off effort to beat my Personal Best time of 3h00m02s.  So, this year, I thought I would take the pressure off and enjoy the run through London at a more leisurely pace and capture the atmosphere of the event on a 360 camera that I chose to carry. No-one had previously captured 360 footage of the event and I saw the great potential this could offer.

As one of the Alton Sports Run Ambassadors, I was asked to help out on one of the stands at the 4 day London Marathon Expo prior to race day. After an enjoyable yet long four days on my feet, the pressure really was off to run fast. The conditions were cool and perfect for all participants to enjoy. I chose to wear my New Balance 1080s on my feet for this run, a good choice as they were so comfortable in my training. To ensure I didn’t run out of energy I chose to fuel with Maurten drinks and gels.

My 7th London Marathon and for the first time I found myself on the Blue Start with some fellow Clapham Chasers. What I soon came to realise was that I would be running amongst and past a lot of the Guinness World Marathon Record Attempts since they start at the front of the green field.  There were all kinds of costumes and since I had my camera, I took the opportunity to chat to most of them on film, from a guy dressed as a unicorn to another as a tent! The day was full of cheer as the spectators turned out in their masses to spur us on.

I comfortable ran through half way in 1h35m whilst going with the flow of the runners.  It was in the second half where I knew so many people on the route including the Clapham Chaser Cheer points. There were high 5s and hugs which kept the spirits up.  This year for the first year I chose not to put my name on my front, I previously found I miss people in the crowd who knew me from the 100s of times I would hear my name being shouted. Everyone got a high 5 this time! The temperature remained constant throughout the day which was a bonus and I cruised up the Mall to finish in a time of 3h30m39s. So happy as for this run the time was irrelevant.

This is the best day that London has to offer, and I would like to say a huge thanks for all the support from the people who lined the route. Going through my footage now, there are some cracking bits to help relive the memories of a fantastic day. Boy, I want to make sure that I get more chances to run in this amazing race in the future.”

Al Pickburn:

“After the hot weather of last year’s race it was a great relief that the temperatures were close to half the 2018 levels. My plan was to aim for halfway in 74 minutes and see how things felt before deciding how to apporach the second half. As it turns out I felt really good running at 2hr 28min pace so kept it going as we entered the Isle of Dogs section around Canary Wharf. The support on course was electric as always (including from my family!) and although the effort gradually got harder I could still maintain the early pace.

I was using a Maurten 100 gels, which were super easy to take, requiring little or no water at the same time. As they form a hydro-gel in your stomach and control the release of carbohydrate into you digestive system I felt completely comfortable even taking 4 in an hour across the middle of the race. I was also wearing the Nike Vaporfly 4% race shoes, which are simply a joy to run in! The combined energy return of the embedded carbon fibre plate and Zoom X foam meant, I didn’t feel any real leg discomfort untill a few miles to go to the finish, when I started to feel the strain in my leg quad muscles. Thankfully everything held together to just squeeze 5 seconds under the 2:28 mark for a 1min 35sec personal best. A fantastic day to remember for long time!”

Jhon Cosgrove:

“My first London Marathon Experience and one I will never forget! I headed up to London on Friday to check out the Expo and see all my Alton Sports buddies who were far too busy to talk to me about how excited I was about running the marathon for the first time. Probably best for them.

After an easy parkrun at Victoria Docks on Saturday and all the carb loading, flat lay pics and generally trying to contain the Zebedee-esque excitement that was burning inside of me, it was time for the London Mara! I was starting in Blue and could see the elites warming up, whilst everyone in my zone were warming up by peeing on the fence. Big Andy started us off and it was go… my plan was to run 6:45/6:50 pace for the first 20 miles and then see if I could kick on for the last 10k and nail a sub 3 time for the first time. 

I loved running through the sites of London – the constant cheering and landmarks made me feel like I was in a computer game. I had a massive smile on my face all the way round as people were hollering ‘go vegan’ at me as they couldn’t read the badly printed DIY attempt at ironing my name on my shirt. I got to 20 miles, ran a couple of faster miles and then even managed a cheeky sprint finish to come home in 2:58:19 and to complete this computer game for the first time. I’d never been so happy and was even happier to run a negative split. I celebrated by eating an apple and stretching on the grass before hiding a few pints inside of me in the evening. Can’t wait for next year! 

I ran in my Hoka One One Tracer 2 and used Maurten Gels and used the Maurten 320 Drinks Mix before.

Are you ready for your next marathon? Check out altonsports.co.uk for everything you need!

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The Miracle of March – London Marathon Training with an Alton Sports Ambassador!

After the highs of ‘focus February’ the training continued with Toby (Alton Sports founder and super quick runner) always a text message away giving advice and encouragement.

The month started with a nice parkrun sandwich, I ran 3 miles to parkrun, did the parkrun, scored a PB of 25:23 & unbeknownst to me I did my 50th Parkrun all in a nice neat package. I then had a slow 8 mile run home, Marathon day felt so far away & yet it is closer than I thought.

The week carried on with standard training runs with speed targets thrown in, I also got to attend an Ambassador Day presented by Salomon & we got to try out the Speedcross 5 shoes – I am really warming to trail runs and it’s good to mix up the types of surface you run on.

Sunday 10th March brought the official warm up race for the marathon. I was running in The Big Half in our nation’s capital! I travelled to the event with some other members of my running club and as some of them were a bit quicker and we were all starting in different starting waves Due to the bad weather I was really cold, I was taken pity on and I was given a plastic bin liner to wear before the race, I started to try and maintain some body heat.

This was the second race I have attended and Sir Mo has been competing, however this time I was free to cheer for him, I started about 25 minutes after he started so by the time I got to see him on the other side of the course he had already done six miles, however I made sure I gave him a big loud “Come on Mo” that was obviously what he needed to spur him on to win the whole race.I did have to stop for the first time in a race for a comfort Break but actually once I was back in the race I knew I was against the clock so I really did run as hard as I could. The March Miracle came at the finish when I came in with a chip time of 1:52:13, I had a watch time of 1:51:22, and I even made it on the TV. 

The course was awesome, flat, fast and part of the London Marathon course. The next target Toby has set for me is a sub 1:50 half marathon time, I believe with the right attitude and hard work this is achievable. Sadly the good result I had achieved at London had taken its toll on my ageing body and I walked away with a hip & a knee injury.

I knew I was in pain the moment I tried to do my recovery run and it felt like I was kicked in the rear the further I ran. After consulting with Toby he changed my training plan and instructed me to foam roll, stretch and rest. With my training runs dialled down I was willing my hip to stop hurting. The following Saturday I went for a Toby approved 3 mile run with my running buddy  & chief medical advisor, Nurse May, she said the same thing as Toby and we still managed a fast run covering 5K in 25:10. I was happy with that pace.

As time moved on I found the hip feeling better & I attended an interval session on our local running track, I am not a track person but I did enjoy the session and I gave my hip a good test.

The Friday night came bringing a message from Toby, 18 miles split into three:

  1. Run to parkrun
  2. parkrun as fast as I can
  3. Run home 

I put my big boy shorts on and tried my hardest, I achieved a second parkrun PB of the month in 25:11, looking back it’s only a few seconds but at the time it was a big deal and I was waiting for the award ceremony. Sadly I still had to run a further 8 miles home.

The final week of March presented itself with a personal challenge for me, as always I give Coach Lambert the options my running club have and he chooses if I run with the club or on my own to his targets, this time he picked an 8 mile club run with a much faster group than whom I normally run with. On this night I did 8 miles with the “wolfpack” – I was fortunate because Richard (The speedy Swede and Alton Sports team member) was running that night and like he did at Farnborough he paced me perfectly, to the point that I wasn’t the last “wolf” back to the meeting point. 

March has been a miracle, I have clocked up 110 training miles, overcome an injury and I am looking forward to being on the start line of the London Marathon in Amazing April.

Dave Warman – Alton Sports Ambassador