Leicester student completes London Marathon in under three hours

A third year medical student has completed the London Marathon in an impressive time of 2.59.02, which saw her finish 66th in the women’s race, 52nd in her age category and 1755th overall.

This year's event on Sunday 23 April saw a record number of participants - more than 40,000 runners take on the iconic 26.2 mile run.

Joanna Male said: “The atmosphere was incredible; every stretch of road was packed full with spectators and entertainment. The first 7 miles were the easiest as I knew I had support from my running club at Cutty Sark but it got a bit lonely after that. Seeing Tower Bridge, then reaching halfway was a huge relief and I had support again at 16.5 miles which was a boost. I'd been suffering with knee pain since mile 2 which I was mostly able to ignore but it did get me down at points. I hit the wall at mile 25 but was so close to the finish, I was able to push on to just scrape in under 3 hours!”

London was her second marathon after running the Bournemouth Marathon in October last year, and she starting training 12 weeks beforehand with four runs per week and gym sessions to incorporate strengthening exercises. She used a local event, Ashby 20, as a trial run for the marathon, reaching 22 miles whilst on placement in Northampton.

She added: “Overall, the marathon didn't go to plan but it worked out in the best way possible! I was aiming to run 7:10 minute/mile with a time of sub-3:10 but all plans of pacing went out of the window as soon as the gun went off! Being in the Championship pen was great in terms of crossing the start line first and not getting stuck behind slower runners, but I got carried away and set off too fast. However, it showed me that I'm far quicker than I thought! I don't feel I paced it well (I kept missing my watch measurements at each mile) but I was capable of maintaining a much faster pace than I had planned. I thought a sub-3h marathon would finish me off but I felt comfortable throughout and finished strong!

“I'd love to do London again next year and my time qualifies me for Championship Entry, so I can apply in November. I'm considering an autumn marathon this year but not sure which one yet. New York is my dream marathon but it's very expensive, so that's one for another year!”