2022 London Marathon Diary, Nicola Bishop loves marathons, and appears ahead to London


On this function, Stuart Weir permits us to get into the thoughts of marathoner Nicola Bishop, a PE instructor who loves marathons. She is racing London on October 2, 2022.

The Love of the Marathon

When Nicola Bishop stands on the beginning line for the 2022 London Marathon, it is going to be her eighth London Marathon.  She has additionally finished Paris, Berlin, Chicago, Barcelona and Boston as nicely three digital/solo marathons, whether or not laps of her mother and father’ backyard or on the roads. Her instances are within the area of three:15, however a sub-three-hour marathon may be very a lot one thing she has her sights on.

A full-time PE instructor – and a part-time operating coach – operating has been an essential a part of her life since she switched from soccer to marathons at college: “I had beloved soccer (soccer) in my teenagers, however I ended having fun with it.  College was an important alternative to take up completely different sports activities.  I took up operating and beloved it as a result of it could possibly be particular person.  I may prepare by myself if I needed to.  Then in my last 12 months, I used to be profitable within the London Marathon poll, which is remarkable.  So college was a reset button.  Operating has additionally develop into a giant psychological well being automobile which retains me sane and provides me a spotlight on daily basis, protecting to a coaching plan”.  

Nicola Bishop, courtesy of Nicola Bishop

Regardless of having run marathons in 4 different international locations, London stays the favourite: “No doubt, London.  Maybe it’s nostalgic as a result of it was the primary I did in 2014, and I’ve run it consecutively since then.  Additionally, as a result of it’s an hour down the highway and accessible to family and friends to return and watch.  You possibly can say when it comes to crowds, solely Boston rivals it.  All of the elite runners are there; it’s on BBC TV, with a memorable theme tune.  And I’m so aware of the route now”.

Her reply begs the query, what makes one marathon completely different from one other?  In spite of everything, it’s simply operating 26 miles. Nicola would argue that every one is distinctive when it comes to crowd, environment and the entire expertise, to not point out variations within the course: “I appreciated Berlin and Paris as a result of they’re round.  Chicago is, too, but it surely was very a lot up and again.  In Paris, you began on the Champs Elysée. That was good as a result of runners are launched in a form of curler coaster vogue.  They might let one aspect go after which the opposite, launched from pens in order that as quickly as you began, you have been on this huge large Champs Elysée.  It went from a slim pen to ‘oh my goodness, I’m operating down the Champs Elysée’.  And also you noticed the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Berlin was the identical, operating underneath the Brandenburg Gate.  Simply happening the course alone, Paris or Berlin with Barcelona a detailed third.  Barcelona was alongside the seafront, which was good but in addition unhealthy as a result of it was so scorching and in addition very windy. By way of environment, I feed off the power of the crowds lots. Due to this fact, I discovered London simpler due to the environment with the crowds 5 or 6 deep”.

Whereas everybody has their PR for the marathon, comparisons are tough due to the completely different programs and the elevation profile.  Nicola explains: “London is flat, Barcelona is flat whereas Boston will not be flat, and that was extremely tough. Berlin is a quick, round course with no sharp bends.  Whilst an novice, you may comply with the blue line, which implies you run simply the space, 42K, not 42.5K.  There are rumors that the tarmac in Berlin is a bit bit bouncy.  Nevertheless it’s not web uphill or downhill as a result of it’s round.  Simply flat with good curvy bends – though my quickest time was not in Berlin. That mentioned, in each marathon I do, I wish to PR, and there are particular marathons that I’ve entered simply to get a PR.  It’s, so to talk, about controlling the controllable.  On the identical time, I’d do the London Marathon yearly, but it surely’s not a PB course”.  

Nicola identifies a number of causes London will not be more likely to produce a quick time: “London is so crowded, which means that you just don’t run the shortest line.  Individuals say that it’s worthwhile to prepare to run 27 miles for London.  What I imply is that if I’m operating a 7-minute mile and I run an additional half-mile as a result of it’s so crowded that you would be able to’t run the shortest line, that’s going to be an additional 3:30 greater than physiologically what I’m able to run. That’s the reason I entered Barcelona as a result of I’d heard it’s flat and never crowded so you may run on the blue line the entire manner.  I entered Barcelona realizing that physiologically I’m able to shaving three or 4 minutes off my time with out doing something completely different.  So in London, I ran 3:17 (aiming for 3:15) and did Barcelona 4 weeks later and ran 3:12. Not as a result of I used to be fitter however as a result of the course was suited to operating sooner”.

With 15 marathons behind her, Nicola Bishop is as bold as ever.  There’s the purpose of going sub 3 hours.  There’s a want to finish all six majors – New York and Tokyo nonetheless to go.  Past that, as she likes to journey and expertise metropolis marathons, Valencia, Geneva, and Melbourne are all on her bucket listing.

Nicola Bishop, picture courtesy of Nicola Bishop

Even Covid couldn’t cease her as she ran three digital marathons: “I did one on my 26th birthday as a result of I believed I needed to.  I did the backyard marathon, the place I ran laps of 25m – about 1600 laps, which was an important day in lockdown.  Then I did the official digital timed London Marathon within the rain.  None of them was my quickest – most likely my slowest – however I used to be doing them for a distinct cause, whether or not to have fun the birthday or increase cash for NHS heroes.  The backyard marathon was actually ‘what can I do in lockdown with out breaking the foundations?’  My mother cycled for 3 ½ hours within the pouring rain for the official digital one.  Mates got here out. All of it creates a vibe”.

This 12 months can be on the streets of London with the cheering crowds.

  • Since 2015, Stuart Weir has written for RunBlogRun. He attends about 20 occasions a 12 months together with all most international championships and Diamond Leagues. He enjoys discovering the quirky and obscure story.


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