Three hours, 22 seconds and a little something. That's my marathon personal best. Bearing in mind I used to work for a running magazine, it isn't that great - I'll spare you the boring detail but, trust me, I should have gone much faster.
Then again it isn't too shabby, if you've ever run a marathon you'll know that the race itself is bloody hard, but the months of training for it even worse. So, hats off to Lance Armstrong for running 2:46.43 at the New York City Marathon on Sunday. He finished 698th, which could be seen as a bit of a come down for a fella who's won seven Tours, but then he didn't have to ride against 39,084 people in the Le Grand Boucle.
To put Lance's run in perspective the men's world marathon record is Haile Gebrselassie's 2:04.26 and Paula Radcliffe holds the women's best of 2:25.25. So, Lance is nowhere near being a world class runner, which is something a few experts - who should have known better - actually predicted would be the case when he made his marathon debut at New York in 2006.
But, his was still a brilliant run - in his first 26.2 miler he managed 2.59.36 and claimed what is an unachievable Holy Grail for the vast majority of runners, a sub-three hour clocking (the biggest group of runners at the Flora London Marathon finish in around four hours). And to take just about 13 minutes off of your personal best is hugely impressive by anyone's standards.
Now all we need is a recently retired marathon champ to have a crack at the Tour...
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