Running Groupie Duff McLaren – London Marathon Report

As a runner, like me,  you might,  get excited meeting elite runners. When  I travelled to run the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon with a team from the Toronto Beaches Runners Club , naturally I asked for media accreditation from iRun Magazine.

Wednesday  was the women’s elite press conference. Race Director Hugh Basher (son of one of the founding members of the original London marathon) and former RD Dave Bedford  had organized a dazzling line up of fantastic runners. Five women  appeared for the press conference Mary Keitany, Edna Kiplagat, Florence Kiplagat the world’s fastest ever woman over 13.1 miles, Priscah Jeptoo,  (not to be confused with drug cheat Rita Jeptoo) together with Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia, are among the key contenders in a strong elite women’s London Marathon line-up.

Interesting note all of the elite women on stage are mothers.

The photocalls are just before the press conference , so the photographers gather at one end the boardwalk  and wait for the elites to come towards them. Security was tight so I was not able to get up and personal with them

I asked a  question to Mary Keitany , “When you compete against your friends do you change your tactics?” … Mary Keitany  replied “a race is a race”

Thursday was the Men`s Press conference. Both are held with Tower Bridge as a backdrop.

London organizers have billed the men’s race as a “Clash of Champions” as it’s the first time world record holder Dennis Kimetto and the world’s best marathoner and former world record holder of the marathonWilson Kipsang will race over the marathon distance. But to be fair, there’s another guy that deserves to be billed as a headliner: Eliud Kipchoge, Track & Field News’ #1-ranked marathoner in 2014 and the other defending champion of a major fall marathon (Kipchoge won Chicago, Kimetto won Berlin and Kipsang won New York).

As usual, there’s ridiculous depth behind the big guns Emmanuel Mutai  Geoffrey Mutai.

As recently as 2011, only one man had broken 2:04 in the history of the world. Four years later, there will be four guys who have done it lining up in the same race!

I got really excited getting this close to the 5 fastest men in the world. I got to shake hands with Geoffrey Mutai, and I gave Dennis Kimetto a picture I had taken of him with me in Berlin 2012.

As they were walking back from the photo shoot on London Bridge, I followed  Wilson Kipsang who was being escorted back by Tommy Bedord- son of the former Race Director Dave Bedford- and asked Tommy if I could get my picture with Wilson.

Bedford  said “Wilson this guy wants his picture with you” So Wilson flashed his huge smile at me and said “sure no  problem” then put his arm around me, we took the shot , I  shook  his hand and he trotted into the press conference.

WOW….now I have pictures wth the top five fastest men in the world -Patrick Makau, Geoffrey Mutai, Dennis Kimetto,  Emannual Mutai  and now Wilson Kipang.

At the press conference Roger Robinson commented the stage looked like the 2015 Worlds Marathon race and asked who was missing.  Wilson said -after looking around says “this is enough”

Most of the elites train together and Eliud  and Emmanuel have the same coach.

Dennis trains without a coach as does Wilson. Dennis runs with about 60 runners including their long runs and 3 weekly tempo runs…all the time.

While wating for the conference to begin, I met Roger Robinson speaking with Ian Stewart (Rogers. Mentor) from the UK Athletics – Ian ran in the first London Marathon.

I also had the privilege of meeting Joyce Smith (women`s winner from first London Marathon)

As luck would have it Eulid Kipchoge won the race,  so now I have to get his picture.

For the record, I beat (and so did all the other BRC runners) Geoffrey Mutai in the London Marathon.

Why, well we finished the race ahead of him……and for the record, he did bail at 21, but we finished the race and he did not, so we beat him.


Joyce Smith and Hugh Smith

Joyce Smith and Hugh Smith