London Calling

After months of training and getting themselves in shape, the day had finally come. The five JJs were ready for ‘The London’ marathon.

With various different starts and wave starts it meant that most of the JJs didn’t see each other before the race. With journeys to the start by train, it was a chance to chat to fellow runners and one who was running bare foot. With just flip flops and his running kit, he wasn’t envied by his fellow travellers.  Louis and Simon were on the same start and met to discuss targets and tactics in the start area.


With the rain threatening, the start was warmly welcomed and the JJs set off in the drizzle and a wall of noise.  The Londoners were out in force, even with the rain, cheering on the runners.  Only Simon had done the London Marathon before, 23 years previously, and he was stunned by the cacophony of noise, not just at the main watching points of the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, the Embankment, Birdcage Walk and the Mall but all around the course. It was emotional and inspiring to be running through the crowd and the noise.  Sophie noted after the race that it was the best race crowds that she had ever experienced and those she passed running as fridges, radiators and golf bags, were surely people who had lost bets!

Louis stormed off at a good pace and stunned by the number of shouts of ‘Jesmond’ in a race.  David said that one of water stations someone shouted ‘I hope that’s Geordie Jesmond?’  With the sign of ‘Howay the lads’ in Canary Wharf, the JJs felt at home. Louis went off fast and admitted afterwards, maybe to fast, and hit that mythical wall but still was first JJ home in an inspiring 2:50:51. With his mantra of ‘smile every mile even if each one is harder than the last’, it got him round in a very respectable time.

Simon was the next JJ off, going slightly quicker than target pace, the emotion of the day getting the better of him but staying within a target time he had set. The wall was coming, and as he passed Andrew H and Jayne Oswald, he shouted grimly that this was going to be the hardest 7 miles. It was, and he gamely hung on with shooting pains in his foot from around 8/9 miles to record 3:34:57. It was great to see Joe Inns and his girlfriend around the course and at most unexpected points on the course where he needed to see a friendly face to cheer him on.

Sophie had a stormer, but at 22 miles got stomach cramps, and had nothing left as the dreaded wall caught up with her. Sophie is not one to give up and with not much left in the tank she still got round to record a PB of 3mins with a time of 4:09:04.

Gerry was next JJ home and with a smile and the shout of a man ringing in her ears of ‘these are miles on our health!’ Gerry took in the sights and sounds and the highlight being drag queens cheering her on and as she kept on telling herself to run the mile you are in; another respectable time was clocked up with Gerry coming home in 4:26:04.

David brought up the rear and was rather disappointed that they had moved the wall in his race to Tower Bridge, he enjoyed the day and experience to record a great time of 5:01:36.

The London Marathon is a race that is unique. A race where all humanity gathers to test their endurance and pain threshold. The ballot is open for the 2024 race and I think we wall and the JJs competing this weekend would highly recommend it. The ballot closes on the 28th April this year.

An amazing and emotional race and fantastic performances by all the JJs.

1546th Louis Gardner 960th M18-39 02:50:51

9913th Simon Wells 801st M50-54 03:34:57

21126th Sophie Reynolds 3135th F18-39 04:09:53

25934th Gerry Rowland 4122nd F18-39 04:26:04 PB

35832nd David Newman 779th M60-64 05:01:36