Run Another Marathon

The story of the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017

Firstly let me clarify something.  This is not me​


and those of you hugging and kissing this bloke were embarrassing. Especially you Pauline.

What a great day again, so much warmer than last year but not too hot so it was enjoyable, if you can ever say a Marathon was enjoyable. At least I was still smiling after 26 miles.


Our trip started off with a big send off from Malaysia and the now standard selfie in Preston Train station.
We visited the pre race exhibition on Friday which was great for pumping up the adrenaline.
However adrenaline will only get you so far you also need some rocket fuel.
Taped energy
I find it better than the way Paddy carries his energy supply.
The atmosphere at the start was fantastic again. This year we had a little more time so it was easy to get comfortable. I headed over to meet up with my old friends the Rhinos.  I had a chat with Abby who I met last year she was carrying 8kg of suit with poor visibility, a hell of a job for them  They had to start right at the back but at least 3 of them passed me.

I was even photobombed.

I got into pen 8 of 9 and that made such a difference to when I got over the start line as I was 20 minutes earlier starting this year. This did mean I was in a larger crowd on the road and made it harder for the fans to get to see me and catch up to the next cheer station.
One thing that was  much better than last year was water management so we had no repeat of the “bushes she wee ” incident.  I was carefully not to get too full and supped early on and used any queue free toilet I saw.  It worked well and I never felt full or dehydrated. There was one point when I stopped to get jelly babies and the lady offering them had a pint in the other hand and it looked really inviting. I asked if I could have some and the shock on her face was instantaneous,  then she said sure before I told her I was joking
I was much more aware of the route and the sights so I was looking out for the holy water this year so I got a picture of Christian Aid helping the poor runners.
Nothing like a little holy water to cool you off.
About 5km into the race I was going strong at times but moved to the side occasionally so that I could walk a bit. As I passed one family I hear the mother say. “……..and they are not all that young either” knowing well she was referring to me, it brought a great smile to my face.
One of the times I pulled over to the side a man stopped to check if I was alright. I reassured him I was fine and as he trotted off into the distance I noticed he was from the RSPCA (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Scotland. It’s nice to see the Scots have a wide agenda.

One of the reasons I ran again was simply it was such great craic last year. The support you get from complete strangers is amazing. In a world where interpersonal communication appears to be dying this anonymous interaction is so uplifting. We were not idols on a  football pitch playing for their favourite teams but we got the same adoration and maybe even more so, as we got none of the abuse. Anytime you felt you needed a “pick up” all you had to do was to make eye contact with the crowd and they reacted with immediate response regardless of age, gender, race, or religion. “Come on Joe you can do it” with fist clenched or “Go Joe”. As much as you felt you needed to respond with a “thank you” or a hand gesture there were never anything expected. It was all free encouragement.

One of the favourite parts of the course for everyone is going over tower bridge. There are a lot of sponsors have their cheer points there so there is always a lot of noise there. It is also near the halfway point so when you see it you realise you are nearly over the hump.


Obligatory selfie.


One of the mentally challenging parts of the course is when you see the earlier runners on the other side of the road. That seem to be going so strong and you realise they are about 2 hours ahead of you at that point. I kept myself busy then watching for PARKIES and giving them a good shout.  I did find one of my buddies Andrew in the centre with cramp and stopped to encourage him for a short while. He was in a lot of pain with the cramps but I was delighted when he contacted me afterwards to let me know he finished ok.

London is such a diverse city and you really feel it when you go through the different areas. Woolwich has it’s own distinctive feel and later I certainly came into an area with a lot of Irish support with a Dublin man on a microphone calling out to all the runners like they were his cousins.  As we reached one part of the course the crowds seemed to really thin down and the only name I heard being cheered just in front of me was Abdullah.

Looking back on my pace I must have dropped off quite a bit between 25km and 35km. I don’t really remember why that was but there were a few time us PARKIES (people running for Parkinson’s UK) had to have a chat together so it may have been that. The crowds at the cheering points were so much bigger as well so that my fan club were split up a bit but they were just great and were so good to look forward to and gave me such a boost when I got there.


The embankment is really long and you really feel the turn in the river. You are looking out for Big Ben because you know that is where you can turn and you are in the home straight but there just seems to be so many bridges before that.  Also I was looking out for the last sheer point and it seemed to be ages before I got to it but I was getting a new lease of life by that time.

Photos at the last cheer point 40km done.

With 5km to go I did some mental maths and realised that I was in danger of missing last years time so I managed to get some energy from someplace and skipped stopping at the last cheer point and amazingly I made up 10 minutes over the last 7km.  Well I did take a lot of selfies last year especially in front of the palace. However I was gutted to discover I missed the time by 26 seconds so I know how those Kenyans feel.  My running mate from last year Kipchoge was telling me that he was gutted as well when he missed the under 2 hour marathon on Monza recently by 25 seconds.  You spend days going over it in your mind, did I carry too much supplies? Those jelly babies I had in my backpack surely they were heavy enough to delay me a second each mile? There were enough on the course but I did not notice them last year. Maybe I chatted too long with the other Parkies? Or maybe it was the discussion I had with the man carrying the sign “Wenger Out”. Maybe it was the pub I went into? Well it takes a while to pull a good pint of Guinness.

Last year I had no target so I took in all the final mile with lots of selfies and several of the professional photos show me walking so I wanted to make sure this year that every time I saw a photographer I was running and putting on my cheery face.  I did not do too bad.

And the final run up to the line.


They tell you in the build up to try and get a bit of space to go over the finishing line and get a good photo.  With 50 meters to go I cut across the lanes to be in the best position ( no Stewarts inquiry announced) but I still managed to mess it up or at least Ciaran did. Probably Irish.

Just like last year there was a great feel about coming over the line and a great sense of achievement. Unfortunately Kate did not wait to give me my medal so I had to hug somebody else.  I had the customary photos taken and checked that the medal was not fake. (amazingly some of the  finishers T shirts were. )

While Kipchoge struggles with breaking the 2 hour barrier I failed again to break the 37,000 barrier with a 37,504th finish compared to 37,397th last year.  I think everyone was slower and the Kenyans certainly were about 2 minutes slower than last year.

News that I finished was met with Wild celebrations in KL.


Paddy thought it meant there was no more training and Lilly just loves hugs. 

IMG-20170423-WA0026Meeting up with the supporters club, I could not have done it without that mob.


Which was the best bit?  The Massage or the Beer

Great job by all the Parkinson staff and the physiotherapy and chiropractic students who do the massages, they really helped.

It wasn’t all without a little pain, the braces that did such a good job protecting my knees too their toll.  Afterwards I looked like somebody out of Da Vinci Code,  but surprisingly the mind blocks it out at the time.


I missed a lot of the costumes this year but checking the photos there are a few options to help be a bit more visible if you are thinking of doing it.

One of my favourites which finished just behind me was Little Red Riding Hood above.

What now for the jersey? Will it be pulled on again?


The Mind needs to adjust for a marathon.


Maybe you have not seen the back of me yet.


Jack wants to do it next year, maybe we will do it together? Who knows ?  What’s important is to keep exercising and if the Marathon is the driver then it’s a great fulfilling target. The support has been amazing again with over UKP 7000 just passed in donations. It was never going to meet last years 17,000 but it is still fantastic. There are also donations to Irish Parkinson’s , Malaysian Parkinson’s and Michael J Fox foundation. It’s so important that the funding continues as the science continues to evolve but more studies are needed. Last Thursday we attended a lecture in Manchester which highlighted 2 new areas under investigation. They left us very encouraged and excited by the entuisism and dedication of the researchers. We can’t wait.


20 April 2017.

Website still up and running

So go ahead and donate now

Ireland in Euros

If you are in the USA or a US tax payer MJ Fox does a great job supporting research.
 20 April 2017    OMG it’s only 3 days to go. I wish it was 3 weeks. Bad day today never got going felt full all day so probably nerves. Maybe it’s just the concern to make sure I think of everything and that I don’t reach into the bag on Sunday and find I have no JELLYBABIES.
What a day on Sunday I’ll have to hurry as there is Arsenal v City. Tipperary V Galway  and Leister v Clermont all playing so maybe drop into a pub?.
Tracker    46298 is my number so if you put it into the following link you can see me running around London. It will only start after 10am Sunday so you can’t see what I’m up to on Saturday night.
Heading to London tomorrow and the weather forecast looks good.
2 April 2017  3 weeks to go
The Big 20 is done. Conditions as perfect as I will get. Steady drizzle and 23 degrees. My time could have been better but I got ambushed by the neighbours cat who needed feeding. Only concern was the left heel bursa that’s very sore. I listened to my body and walked a lot, I really think I should run without a watch. The main thing is that I feel I can beat the “pick up bus” and maybe even beat the 37,359th place of last year. Maybe a wee celebration tonight. Stay injury free partners.

The 6 stages of Marathon Training

1. Practice getting a quick start, you don’t want to be left behind by the Kenyans.


2. Avoid bumping and crossing


3.  Get into a steady pace


4. Run through the wall


5. Sprint to the finish


6. Avoid fights about “who won?”


23rd Walked 9 holes and did half an hour on the elliptical and also on the bike. That was really exhausting, I need to get back on the road .

22nd Massive thunderstorms and went on the threadmill instead

20th 1 Hour on the bike and a swim, Achilles sore.

19th This is what happens when you are out late.


18th Celebrated at the Ball. I’m sure that pints of Kilkenny is good for energy.

17th St Patrick’s day. celebrated with a 10km run in 1.22 so that seems to be my range.

13,14,15, 16Days of rest

12th March

Half Way there. Really struggled at times but got to the target but 10 minutes behind last year’s pace. Sore heel this morning.


11th March

Just a swim and a cycle today, still building leg strength. Walked 9 holes yesterday.

9th March


As predicted after the race, I have been upgraded more than 50 places and I’m not making any comments on that in case I’m accused of spreading fake news but I think the Russians were involved.

March 6th Tough. Hard to believe that it is so much slower than 5 days ago.


3rd March 2017.  No run today or yesterday. still tired from 12km on 2nd but did walk 9 holes carrying my half bag yesterday.

1st March 2017.

Best run so far, felt strong. really nice rain


Snow falling along the river but never felt cold.


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17th Dec 2016 First run of the new season yesterday with my new bionic knee and my new Brooks Fusion 3. Lovely mild day better than London in April 2016. Merry Christmas everyone. Stay injury free in 2017.

Image may contain: shoes

The beautiful avenue in Haslem Park Preston. One of the nicest runs there is.

Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature



  1. Joe, you are a great inspiration to all of us, if I had 10% of your courage, drive and energy I would be really proud of myself. The focus is on you and your achievements which keep rolling forward. You have created a unique legacy of supporters and fanatics. We may be far away but you have brought so many people together and our hearts and minds are with you now and forever. Our time and our lives are here and now, thanks for making my time so good, keep on running Joe.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great and entertaining summary, Joe, and what a wonderful effort and experiences. Indeed, much to be proud of. I went the Michael J Fox route this year so as to get some tax recognition. Cheers to all, Steve

    Liked by 1 person

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