Paul Hutton represents FOAG in the 2017 London Marathon

30 May 2017

Read about Paul's Marathon Experience

The conditions on the day were ideal for running. By luck I was in pen 4 at the mass start, an area for runners aiming for between 3.30 and 3.45. The marathon organisers fund pacers, who as the name suggests run at a specific pace to achieve a finishing time. I started about 20 meters behind the 3.30 pacers who were easy to spot as they run with backpacks on with large flags poking up well above head height. I waited in the pen for about 40 minutes before the start of the race and it was eerily subdued, with serious runners focusing on what lay ahead.

At 10.00 the race started and it only took a few minutes to get through to the start line. The first 22 miles were uneventful, I just sat 20 metres or so behind the 3.30 pacers and went around. Uneventful doesn’t mean relaxed, there were so many people on the course that it was a constant battle of elbows, shoulders and wits not to end up on the floor. In the first 30km the sub 3.30 group overtook more than 5000 runners, which was hard work in the relatively narrow streets. On to the 22 mile point and in the space of a few hundred metres I went from thinking I was comfortably going sub 3.30 to realising quite emphatically I wasn’t. Watching the pacers slowly moving ahead and being unable to respond was tough, especially as we were so close to the finish. I think seasoned runners call this hitting the wall, but it is simply a lack of training, and in my case the mind writing cheques the body (specifically the legs) couldn’t cash.  

The last 4 miles were tough, but the crowd support was superb. I also knew that quite a few people back at home were tracking my progress on the London Marathon app (of course there is an app) so there was no thought of stopping. I crossed the line in 3.39, looking decidedly dishevelled and feeling glad to have finished in one piece.

I won’t run London again, it was too big, too crowded and too commercial. There are many smaller marathons to run and the challenge is the same after all.


Well done and Thank you, Paul.


So far Paul has raised over £1,650 for FOAG. Contributions can still be made via

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