Two laps for Nigel
Nigel Armstrong - two laps of London, a hair raising thought.
Nigel Armstrong, whose main target for the season is to run the 56 mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa on 15 June, will run two laps of the London Marathon on 13 April in preparation. Last month he intended to run the Draycote Marathon in just under 3 hours but couldn't hold back as much as intended and ran 2:46:50. The original plan for London was also to go just inside three hours (rather than attack his 2004 PB on 2:44:32) and possibly help his friend Mark Clague to beat that barrier for the first time.
The training schedule that he is following involves a number of "back to back" long sessions at weekends and he thought about running a long session on the day before the London Marathon to ensure that he did not overdo the main event (the faster pace requires much more recovery time and therefore interferes with his ultra marathon training). But there were logistical problems with this plan and so he has been in touch with the organisers of the Flora London Marathon to arrange to run two laps of the marathon on the same day. They are always keen to get the extra publicity and so they are going to help him.
He'll start the first lap as soon as the roads close at 6 am. He plans to finish the first lap at about 9.30, 15 minutes before the main event starts. The organisers will have a car lined up to take him from the finish back to the start and he'll commence his second lap at 10 am. This will give him sufficient space on the road to wind his way through the slower runners. Although the lack of clear space will undoubtedly slow his second lap, he will be out to get close to his first lap time - possibly in around 3.45. The chip that runners carry on their shoes will record both times and the faster of his two laps will be included in the official results.
He'll have a light breakfast in between laps (the Strand Palace Hotel where he is staying is close to the finish) to get used to running with food. One thing is for sure, he will be so hungry for the next 24 hours that he'll even beat Mike Garrett (who has been planning his full English Breakfast on Monday morning for several months!) to the breakfast table. For the past three years Nigel has taken several of us to the Savoy Hotel after the marathon. The Savoy is currently closed for renovations but I'll take him to the Ritz this year if he achieves this target.
Unfortunately Nigel is struggling with a knee injury at the moment which may curtail his plans. I can't think of anything that will stop him. Can you?
Murray Lambden 01/04/08