Sorry to have this rushed off but just what I put on the RW site last night...
Many thanks to everyone who came and cheered me on- it was definitely appreciated.
eal game of two halves. Set off in a slightly manic fashion from front of pen one to catch up with the guys I was planning on running with - many thanks to the anonymous RW lurker who was marshalling at the start of pen 1! (Brilliant to be greeted by "oh- so you're hobbling harrier!" before getting head marshall and saying "this guys legit- he won a gold medal last week!" - many thanks for your help!).
Manic start anyways but after about 800 got settled into a very comfortable rhythm and kept moving forward through the field with an absolutely huge group forming together with Coro, MikeB and Christchurch Jon - just clicking through 5:40s. At this point I was incredibly comfortable, my calves were sore almost from the get go but holding up well (despite Coro kicking me). Aerobically I wasn't in any discomfort and legs turning over smoothly. This carried me through pretty much to half-way where I was running strongly as we went through in just over 74 minutes. At this point I was feeling pretty good despite the sore calves and was thinking if I could negative split to get 2:27:xx - sadly that wasn't the case! A few miles later and I was in trouble and couldn't really work out why. Suffice to say the lead few disappeared off and I was struggling to move my legs at all. No real pain just dull through the whole of my legs (GI playing up a bit as well) - it probably wasn't hydration judging by the amount of times I had to go to the bathroom afterwards! Very odd feeling with both inside sides of quads in pain. At mile 17/18 I honestly didn't think I was going to finish but had to just convince myself mentally to get to mile 20. Managed to somehow do that and despite the pain I'd managed to stabilise at just about 6mm. Very hard work both mentally and physically - I was looking for any excuse I could find to drop out but apart from sore legs which weren't moving very fast didn't really have any! I worked out that if I could just keep at 6mm I would still run something okay though sub 2:30 was out the window!
As I got closer got a bit more confident- mile 23 and mile 24 were huge landmarks mentally! I knew I was going to finish at mile 23 and started pushing a bit at mile 24 and finished fairly strongly - especially over last 400m or so as I unfortunately went past a thread hero who was having a monumentally bad day at the office but still managed to finish. Sorry I didn't realise it was you at the time or I'd have cheered you on!
Anyways 2:31:16 - not the time I was aiming for but a fairly solid debut. First British U23 and possibly first U23 in whole race (Kebede is 23 but apparently qualifies...) as well as somehow winning the Varsity Marathon Match (you qualify for a year after you leave) so some very pleasant silver linings.