Aldershot athlete determined to bounce back at London Marathon after a “devastating” experience in Berlin

Lily Partridge has learned a lot of lessons since pulling out of her second marathon mid-race and says that “devastating” experience is further motivating her ahead of Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon.

The 27-year-old ran 2:32:09 on her 26.2-mile debut in Seville last year and had hoped to build on that in Germany, but her preparations were hit by injury and she took the tough decision to withdraw, having gone through halfway in 75:12.

The aim had been to put herself in contention for a Commonwealth Games place, but now Partridge has set her sights on a strong run in London and a spot on the GB team for the European Championships marathon, which takes place back in Berlin in August.

“It has gone really well, I have no complaints,” the Alan Storey-coached runner says, reflecting on her London preparations. “There’s no excuse for Sunday, it has gone as well as I could have asked for it to go. So I’m excited.

“I would like to run 2:28 on Sunday. I should have run under 2:30 in Seville but, it being my first one, you just never really know how you’re going to be.”

Partridge has been training in Spain recently, so is not too concerned about the warm weather forecast for race day. She has also proved her form since Berlin with results including a runner-up finish in 55:37 at the Simplyhealth Great South Run 10-mile, a European Cross Country Championships team win and 15th place individually despite running with just one shoe for part of the race, plus a 71:06 half-marathon at the inaugural Vitality Big Half in March.

Reflecting on her last marathon experience in September, she says: “Berlin was devastating, which probably sounds quite extreme but I’d put so much on it.

“Berlin was a big motivator but it was quite humbling in that these things happen in a marathon if you don’t do it right.

“I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I’ve incorporated a lot of cross training into my programme and I’ve felt that has really benefitted me.”

While 2:28 is her next aim, with her eye on a top 10 spot in London, Partridge respects the event and knows she will continue to learn. Looking to athletes such as Mara Yamauchi, Britain’s second-fastest ever female marathoner, provides another source of inspiration.

“Mara ran 2:23 and I think a lot of us British girls have to be looking at trying to do that in the next couple of years if we want to mix it with the Americans and the Africans,” Partridge says. “I think we have to look at those times.”