Garmin Ambassador Steve Way hits top 20 in London Marathon

In his last London Marathon blog for 2010, Garmin Ambassador and
Bournemouth Athletics Club member Steve Way gives us the low down on how it feels to be an Elite athlete at the Virgin London Marathon and race with the worlds best.

there I am on my own individual camp mat in the Elite tent lying opposite
Andrew Lemoncello, Sammy Wanjuri and Dan Robinson who are all in a row.

couldn’t help but smile as I wondered what my reaction would be if someone told
me 2 ½ years ago I would be here…….probably would have choked on that pie I was
eating for sure!

previous 24hrs had been both exciting and nerve racking as I had my first
experience of preparing for a big race as an “Elite” athlete. Not sure if it
was the pre race nerves or taper madness but my resting HR on Saturday was
20bpm higher than it had been on Monday, another thing for me to worry about!

quick rain shower which hit before the race had died down and it was time to
line up on the start. I had chatted to a number of other guys in the hotel and
there were a few of us looking to go through half way in around 68:40 (5:15m/m)
so I was confident we would have a good group to run with. Our 5k splits would
need to be around 16:20 but we would allow a slighter faster 1st 5k
due to the notoriously fast “Mile 3”.

got off to a smooth start and I was happy with how comfortable the early miles
were feeling at the necessary pace. You can’t guarantee a good marathon in the
first few miles but you can certainly tell if you are going to have a bad one
if marathon pace doesn’t feel easy enough. I decided not to have my HR as a
viewable field on my Forerunner 310XT as I would run on feel and review the stats
afterwards, but having since checked, my HR was bang on in the right zone for

group I was in went through 5K in 16:09, picked up my first water bottle and
gel from the elite table and was happy everything was going to plan. The next
10K was quite uneventful and I found myself sharing the work in our group with
Dave Wardle who also wanted to maintain a good pace and we were able to get
into a nice rhythm. Even at this early stage we were already starting to pass
those who had gone off too fast. These two 5K splits came in at 16:24 and 16:22
so a couple of seconds down on the plan but the first 5K made up for that.

exhilarating moment of crossing Tower Bridge came and went with fantastic crowd
support, a 16:26 5K split took us through halfway in 68:52. I was still feeling
good at this stage and was happy that the halfway plan was in the bag within
seconds of my target.

had a great morale boost at 15 miles with some enthusiastic support from
friends, but it was then that things started to get harder in order to maintain
pace. Taking each mile at a time I worked my way through to the 20 mile mark,
quite a few of the group had fallen off the back but I found myself running
alongside Dave Norman who I would end up running with until 23 miles when he
was able to pull away.

5K splits up until 30K were 16:26 and 16:14 
so things still going to plan although I was now right on the limit for
a sub 2:18 and I would have to maintain pace all the way to have a chance.

is when I encountered my main problem of the race – something unexpected, not
the calf muscles, not the hamstrings, not the glutes, but the stomach!

leave the finer details out but lets just say I spent a couple of miles
weighing up the odds between stopping for a “pit-stop” and awkwardly carrying
on which was enough to stop me from really pushing myself to the limit. Dropped
my HR monitor to my waist to try and feel more comfortable and didn’t take any
further gels “just in case”.

don’t believe I quite had the strength for a sub 2:18 on the day anyway and I
don’t think even without the stomach issues I would have made it, but I did
find myself in a position at 20 miles where I had a quick re-evaluation in my
head regarding my goals….

  1. Target finish
    time to ensure a sub 2:20
  2. Don’t do a
    “Number 2” in my running shorts
  3. Enjoy the finish

to say I managed all 3 including being able to blow my wife a kiss just as I
turned into the Mall (to whom without her support I wouldn’t be doing this) and
then building the crowd up into a frenzy on the final straight. The final 5K
was a 17:06 but it was worth it to ensure I met all 3 targets.

time of 2:19:38, 17th place overall and 7th Brit. After
the initial celebrations of crossing the line I managed to find a very helpful
VLM member of staff who escorted me immediately to the washrooms.

learned for the day; don’t eat too much for breakfast.

I'm currently enjoying some “R&R” in Phuket but I don’t think it will be long before I
have to pop along to the hotel gym. Sunday was just the stepping stone I needed
and my drive and enthusiasm could not be higher to try and progress to the next

well everyone!!"