London Burning. 3 in a row. My last marathon.

Marathon report 2018

You will probably have heard by now that I did not win the London marathon on Sunday but if you had a bet each way  and predicted that I would come in 38,669th  place then you are in for a big pay out.

I may not have won but neither did Mo Farah as we both “struggled with the pace and the heat.” That’s the first thing we had in common.

The second is best described by Mo himself, “I was knackered at 30Km,”   So was I Mo, so was I.


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And thirdly I also had trouble finding my water bottle.



Jack Joe

So there it is, 3 in a row. The fastest ever followed by the fastest finish and then the hottest ever.  Despite my tropics training it still felt very warm as it almost touched 24 degrees. Ironically that’s the lowest temperature I would run in Malaysia  – if I got up at 5am. But this was different, very little greenery and a lot of concrete and too many people in my way.





They say it’s all about preparation and they say that the Kenyans do altitude training but after my tropics heat training I returned to a cold and wet Europe to acclimatise. However, where I really messed up was the location of the final pre-race camp. We wanted to be near the start and we picked Woolwich and I went to the Army foundry looking for inspiration but as it is the original home of the Gunners I’m afraid there was no inspiration to be found there.  Wenger was not IN that day.20180420_174338


The Excel centre exhibition is always an experience.  40,000 runners plus their families pass through the doors over 4 days and it runs so smoothly. A few Photo shot opportunities


26.2 Complete with the designer T Shirt Jack and Joe  IMG-20180421-WA0002

Here we are after a successful ironing task completed    20180421_215212

It’s always great to see the support for the Rhinos. For 3 years now I’ve met them and had a good chat.





Despite the well organised event we still end up togging out in a field


Here we are with the full medical support team.



And then we are put in a cage, and it was a miracle that Jack and I got in the same cage

Here I am trying to place a bet with Paddy Power.  Still fancy my chances!!!!!


We started together but as we approached the line I lost Jack. Some guy had called him over to thank him for running for Parkinson’s as his brother has the disease. It brought a level of reality to the situation.

Once we crossed the line our paces diverged and we said goodbye for a while. I struggled a lot with the heat as did many people. I made sure I had a bottle with me the whole time. If I was not drinking water I was supping Lucozade and any spare water was poured onto my head. I also kept eating which was surprising as I has been eating loads for days – thanks to Monica. But if you know me, you know I can’t resist the jelly babies so if anybody is wondering where all the orange ones went, I ate them.

Despite all the water I was drinking I did not have the same need to go to the toilet as other years when it was colder.  However when I did see my chance to go for the bushes cover made famous in the 2016 race, I made a dash but had a good look over my shoulder this year to make sure there were no “she wees” coming.


You know you are not doing well when the first Rhino passes you out within 5 km  of the start.



Which way did they go??


I began to wonder can I get to the finish before the massages finish.


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This is when I thought it was the finish line – much to the surprise of the woman in orange.




It would be so embarrassing if you tripped up this woman. Now that is impressive.

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I spent a while running near the bearded Beauty and the Beast which was another example of an outstanding achievement on a hot day.




If any of you lads in Tipperary want to run next yea, Craig will loan you his costume.


The London Marathon is special as it’s the day that London speaks. The support from the pavement is just unreal. It’s just like the previous two years.  If you ever needed a pick up you made eye contact with the crowds and they all knew my name. Just in case there was any shortage of cheerers I brought my own support club.  Thank you all for helping me through this marathon.  You are an amazing bunch of friends.


It was a special experience meeting Jack on the route after he finished. He looked in great form after completing the marathon in 4hrs and 35 mins. Well inside the top 50% of the field. That’s the first time he has ever run more that 13 miles.


He did look like he was sweating a bit after 20 miles.


We almost met on the route, I was at Mile 14 when he was at Mile 21.


The London Marathon is such a social event.  The last time I saw so many people dressed up that early on a Sunday morning was at a prayer meeting in Texas.

With 2 miles to go it’s an interesting feeling because you know you are going to make it and you can relax a little. So when I waved to 4 guys who were sitting on a wall to acknowledge their cheering they offered me a beer and I was really tempted.  I looked at what they were drinking and it was cans of Jack Daniels.  I was not aware that Jack Daniels did beer and if he did, would this be the right time to start? I politely declined and ran on but would have murdered a cold beer at that point. The embankment is always longer than you expect. When you first see the London Eye it seems so far away and you know you have to get past it to reach Westminster.  The PUK cheering point is at 40km across from the Eye and that is such a lift and the huge support group are there.


I was so focused on getting the right shot for the cameraman that I did not even notice that Big Ben was covered.

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As I ran down  Bird cage I heard a shout ‘Joe’ and I looked to find an old friend from work in  Algeria. He missed me last year so it was great to meet him this time. As I knew that last years’ time was unattainable we had a good chat. Great to meet you Daniel although there was a Stewarts Enquiry about why it took me 23 minutes to run the last 2 KM.


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When I got to the Palace I had a good look around, there was no sign of Mo, I think he was back a good bit so no need to worry about his final sprint,  I had time for a little celebration flight –  the one made famous by Henrik Larsson or was Laurie Edwardson.

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More concerning was that there was no sign of Frankielion who I had hoped to get a photo with and if anybody could get the queen to come out on her balcony –  Frankie could but I think she went back to bed after the early start in Windsor.  Well she did have a late night at her own birthday party the night before. I did track Frankie down eventually after a few days and he sent on this great photo. Frankie was a great target for my run. We played ‘hare and tortoise’ as Frankie was a walker and when I was walking I was much slower so I had to sprint regularly to get ahead. Thanks James for the company.



I’m getting good at this now although it’s taken me 3 years to know where to look for photographers. So the trick is not to be caught walking and get a bit of space in front so no emogee gets in your way especially in the run over the line. Another strategy coming in close to seven hours means there are not so many crossing and it is easier to get a clear spot and if you run a bit you look great as they are mostly knackered.


But I was gutted afterwards to find no photo of me over the line. Now I know you won’t believe it but I did complete my third marathon. Finally, after a week and much searching they finally found some photos of my finish.

I think this is my Mo Salah goal celebration.

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There is a surreal atmosphere once you cross the line, it’s hard to believe you are finished. You have this smiley grin on your face and you just want all the photographers to take your photo. It’s just a great feeling.

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You don’t see your family for ages. You have to collect your bag from one of the trucks which line the Mall. Finally, you reach the meeting area and the celebrations begin.



I cannot thank enough the supporters particularly this group on the day and the others I met on the route.   But I could never have kept going or done the training if it had not been for my fantastic wife and children.  What a team to have.

It was a real pleasure having Jack running on the day and this is what he had to say a few days later.

‘Even though we both had our problems with injuries during training, and it was officially the hottest London Marathon ever. Both my dad Joe and I were able to make it over the finish line today. Though I think he ended it in a much better state than I did, I don’t think a smile left his face for the whole 26.2 miles.

I’d like to thank everyone who came down to support as well, it means so much to have people on the sidelines cheering you on, it really forces you to put on a smile, pick up the pace and forget the pain for a little while.

Anyone who knows my dad knows how much of an inspiration he was and he has not let his diagnosis slow him down at all, completing 3 marathons all over the age of 60. It was my absolute privilege to run with him for his last London Marathon, (Or at least that’s what he’s saying for now). He’s raised so much for Parkinson’s over these three marathons and I know the whole family couldn’t be prouder of him, but unfortunately there still isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s yet, and what is needed is more funding. Our donation page will be open for a few more weeks after the marathon and it would mean so much to us if you were able to donate, no matter how small, it all makes a difference.’…/showROFundraiserPage…

For the statisticians amongst you a little summary of the 3 years. The Racing Form have a more detailed copy but I would like to point out a few issues.  I was placed higher in 2018 than 2016 and the median time for 50% of the runners was 27 minutes slower than 2016. So bearing in mind that it took me 23 minutes to run the last 2km this year all in all I’m happy with that. At least I did not join these statistics.

“Unfortunately, the hottest London Marathon on record was too much for 748 of the 41,003 runners who did not finish”






I think it’s taken me a few days to come to terms with the fact that it’s over. It leaves a little void in your life after the elation of the finish, the achievement and the pride you feel that you have truly done something amazing. You remember little bits of the course, faces of people you did not know who shouted encouragement to you, fellow runners that gave you that little nod or smile or recognition that we were in this together and you want to go back and meet them all again and thank them. I think that’s why people run a second marathon?
Running may not always be a team sport but it really felt like a team on Sunday and every time I saw a PUK shirt I got a lift. That’s another person pushing themselves to help find a cure for this terrible disease. I wish I could have been at the reception to meet and thank more people but I did not get there till 6pm but the PUK team were still amazing. There are just too many people to mention but thanks especially to those who gave me encouragement out on the course and my amazing family and fan club at the cheering stations.




DSC_1316 Flying


17th April

5 days to go starting to have a little anxiety but did a little 3 km run that helped.

Got the tracking links and sent them out.

Next Sunday Jack and I will be on telly running the London Marathon. If you want to follow us on the day download the Virgin Marathon 2018 app and insert our numbers 45262 and 45263 in favourites. I’ve downloaded it and added a few Kenyans and Mo Farah to my favourites I need to know where they are. I don’t want them sneaking up on me and pipping me at the post.

Read the full story on

Download now and don’t forget to donate. Thanks so much to all of you who have already done so, your support gives us great support and hope for a cure.

🍏 App store 👉

📱 Android 👉





12th April  Completed back to back 10 km runs.  I hope that counts as a long run.

Just saw that my interview with coach magazine published on Parkinson’s Day

29th I managed the half today, just about.  Varied the running places so that I was not distracted too much by having to stop to talk to dogs. It was good that I am back on my ipod again after the terrible ‘leave it in your pocket’ incident with the washing machine.  EBay has delivered a replacement one and while I am not back on my podcasts I am able to listen to Radio 2 so I have the lovely Ken Bruce to listen to. It’s an incentive to get finished before 12 because that’s when Jeremy Vine arrives .  I just have to turn him off and have to question Charlotte’s further education in that seat of learning called Durham. How can they have turned out a supposedly clever person like Jeremy who lowers himself to delivering the ‘Sun’ on air. I just could not take it when he asked this week if it was ethical to use a dead man’s finger to unlock his mobile phone.



24th  Great news for Jack he managed a half marathon today in a great time, now the body needs to recover.

23rd and 24th Managed to do back to back runs to make up a long one.  Had the double lined gloves so it was not too bad although the second run was very tough.

A big thank you to all the donations which are so encouraging and really help drive the training.


Observation on running in British Parks. Firstly a big thank you to the Victorians for their foresight in providing such great amenities. I miss my dogs so I am always ready to watch other peoples dogs. I’ve decided that dogs divide into two types. Ball dogs and Stick dogs. The first group split into Footballers who are usually Collies who focus on diving headers and have not perfected the overhead kick and Tennis players which cover all sizes and are perfectly happy to chase that ball all day. The stick dogs are optimists based on the size of the sticks they try and carry and demonstrate all sorts  of skills in lifting and balancing large sticks. These optimists cover the full range of sizes with small terriers showing ant like capabilities.


13 hours on BA can be a challenge however I made good use of the recommended exercises on the flight magazine and they seem to have worked and I felt good after the flight.  I even managed a run in the afternoon 5km but at a pace almost 1 and a half minutes per Km quicker than the last run in the tropics. Now how much of that was just trying to keep warm. I definitely need to find my gloves.



The other good news is that Jack got his first run in as well today after a few weeks rest with a foot injury.


A new low.  Rejected by the SUN

20 Mar 2018.  Sorry for the delay in getting back . Unfortunately The Sun told me yesterday they won’t be running a piece.  The journalist loved the story but sadly the editor could not be convinced.

7 Mar 2018. On another note The Sun newspaper are looking at featuring some ‘Marathon Marvels’  and  I wondered if you would mind me sharing your story and a pic of them to see if they might include


19th March.  That Neymar is soft I was back on the road tonight  (and that is after being watching the dance floor at St Patrick’s ball on Sunday morning)  for a last run in the heat.  Did some sprint work to prepare for the MALL run in.

MARCH update



What has Neymar Jr and Joe Lacy got in common ?

No we are not both lying on the ground crying

No we are not both wanting to go to Barcelona

Yes we both have a metatarsal injury and worried if we will be ready for the big day.

It’s as simple as than we both have a sore foot.

I’ll be ready for my big day. 22nd April

Ready for 3 in a row.

A lot happens in 3 years. However if you had told me in 2015 that I would run 3 marathons and be interviewed by a high street men’s fitness magazine I’d tell you to stay off the mushrooms. But here we are at the cusp of three marathons in a row and this time it really is ‘we’. I’m delighted that Jack, my son, has announced that he will also run the London Marathon in 2018 to help raise funds for Parkinsons.
We did a great Volcano climb together in 2016 and ‘putting on the jersey’ with one of your children is a special moment. It’s not as if we will be crossing the line together (we are likely to be 3 hours apart) but just being in the same event together means so much.
When I finished in 2017, obscured by Ciaran, I never felt it was my last. However I’m pretty confident THIS is my final marathon (unless I get a free entry to New York Marathon). Training has been tough, interrupted by niggerley little injuries, although it’s fascinating to have similar injuries to famous footballers. I’m like Rooney and Beckham waiting to see if my metatarsal will repair in time for the big day.
Jack has to fit in his training in between his final exams but he is on schedule for the Bath Half on 4th March. I don’t envy his training weather but we did manage a bit of warm weather training at Christmas with our favourite buddies.
Having the marathon as a target keeps me motivated. Parkinson’s can be a motivation killer as well as a movement suppressor and it is so important to exercise as research has shown that regular exercise will slow down the progression of this disease. Running the marathon isn’t just about raising money for charity. This is personal. I am doing all I can to help fund research and hopefully, one day soon, find a cure for Parkinson’s. So once again I am asking you to sponsor myself and Jack. Thank you.
By the way, if you’re interested, I’ve recently written an article on ‘dealing with diagnosis’ which will be published in the World Parkinson’s Congress  blog. link
You can also follow adventures on my own blog.
the interview went well with coach magazine.
they will have it online 11 Apr.



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