Thursday, April 7, 2011

London Calling to Justin Mock

I had tears in my eyes as I picked up my finisher's medal after last year's London Marathon and shook hands with those around me. Sporting a huge smile, I had never felt so good about a race before. Race volunteers congratulated me and asked where I was from. "Colorado, in the USA," I answered. I had come a long way to race in the British capital, and it paid off with the race of my life. I was ecstatic.

After a few years of steady improvement, I knew I was long overdue for a big marathon PR. I had run 2:43:26 in 2008 (while winning the Colfax Marathon in Denver, on a course later determined to be long), but was confident enough to think that with the right training, I might be able to break 2:30. With the desire to travel and the potential to visit a friend in Spain, I started considering European marathons. By the time I decided to race London, the entry lottery was closed and my only way in was with Marathon Tours, a Boston-based vacation outfitter. Coupled with a four-night hotel stay, the entry package cost a whopping $1,475. Marathon Tours assured me they would get me into the proper starting corral given my ambitious goal, but I still fudged my marathon PR a bit to make sure that I was placed as close to the starting line as possible.