Breathing Life into the London Marathon

Article by Colin Bathe, who is running the London Marathon on 21 April 2024

My first London Marathon was in 2017, which I ran for Breathing Matters, and this was held roughly 8 years after I had started running. At the time, I was reaching the peak of my running ability (I had run 6 marathons previously) and ran London in 3 hours, 27 minutes and 27 seconds – a time I was very pleased with.

Since then, I’ve run a further 6 marathons and 23 ultra marathons. Unfortunately, although I’ve been doing more running, I’ve also been getting older and with that comes a reduction in running ability and in general my performances have not improved. My marathon PB (personal best) from London 7 years ago still stands and I haven’t been able to get close to it in the years since.

For quite a while now, my objective for London 2024 has been to break my marathon PB and run faster than 3 hours 27 minutes. As I’ve been running well recently, I’m thinking that with luck I may also be able to reach an additional goal of completing in the London Marathon Good For Age time (for me, this would be 3 hours 20 minutes). Unfortunately, over the weekend, the London Marathon organisers threw a very big spanner into this target by redefining what was required for a Good For Age place and this is now 3 hours 15 minutes!  On the face of it, 5 minutes faster doesn’t sound much. It works out to be 12 seconds a mile faster. I can assure you though that, as a runner that has pretty much plateaued in my running ability, finding this extra speed is going to be close to impossible. There certainly isn’t any time in the less than two weeks before the race to make this improvement through training. All I can do is run as fast as I can and see what happens.

As important as I’ve made out my finish time to be, I’m competing with myself rather than other people. More accurately, I’m competing with my younger self from 7 years ago at the previous London Marathon, and that is a good enough target for me.

I am running London this year once again for Breathing Matters, a charity that raises funds for research into lung diseases, a cause that is important to me. If you can spare a few pounds, it really is appreciated and is going to a very worthy cause as they do great work; 98.9% of the funds raised go into research and, as my place in the marathon has been paid for by me, all donations will go towards their important and pioneering research work.


Please donate here:
Thank you for your donations.


If you want to read about Colin’s previous London Marathon that he ran for Breathing Matters, you can do so here:


Colin finished the London Marathon in a personal best time of 3 hours, 22 minutes, 10 seconds.  Although this was just shy of his good-for-age target, this time shaved off a massive 5 minutes, 17 seconds off his last London Marathon time in 2017. As a bonus, Colin also got a second PB for a half marathon at 1 hour, 35 minutes.
Colin would like to thank all those who have donated. He says, ‘For people to give so generously is fantastic and all the money is going to a great cause. Lung disease is a killer and research into cures is worth a donation.’

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