Pike’s ready to get serious in London

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Spalding runner John Pike admits he is going into the unknown when he runs his first serious marathon in London on Sunday.

The former British junior international jogged round last year’s Athens Marathon but on Sunday he takes to the streets of another capital city looking to make a big impression.

Paul Garner of Wyberton preparing to run the London marathon in aid of the NSPCC. EMN-140326-103824001

Paul Garner of Wyberton preparing to run the London marathon in aid of the NSPCC. EMN-140326-103824001

He hopes to knock an hour off the time of three hours 45 minutes he recorded in Greece last year, having trained harder than he has ever done since he was a teenager.

The 39-year-old said: “I’m very excited but very scared at the same time.

“I’ve trained really hard but I’ve enjoyed it. My highest week’s mileage was 110 miles and it’s the first time since I was a junior international as a teenager that I’ve done mileage like that.”

Pike, who finished 46th in last year’s Great North Run in 70.48, added: “I think I can run around 2.30-2.45 on Sunday. Even if I have a shocker, as long as I get under three hours I will be happy.

“In Athens I jogged round with Paul Larkins (the 
Crowland-based former international) andthere was a gradual incline that went on for about ten miles so at least it will be flatter on Sunday.

“I’d never really thought about doing the marathon seriously before but I’m getting old and if I don’t do one now I probably never will.”

After the marathon, Pike will target selection for the England veteran team as he turns 40 in December.

Another local who is preparing for his first London Marathon is Wyberton man Paul Garner.

The 53-year-old ran the Great North Run two years ago but has no concerns about running double that distance.

He said: “I’ve not attempted a full marathon before but the Great North Run wasn’t too bad and I got through my longest training run injury free so I am looking foward to Sunday.”

Garner, a former coach at Boston United, is running in aid of the NSPCC.