Sunday, 10 April 2016

Ashford & District Marathon #99

I had a great day out at Ashford, sunny but cold with a bit of a headwind outbound.

We started off uphill to warm the lungs up, immediately followed by a flying downhill and then on to the main part of the course - two near-identical figure-of-eight laps.  I felt good and clocked 1:43 at halfway, thinking a PB might just be on.  But the hills got the better of me and I slowed a little in the second half.  I knew the PB was off at around 18 miles.

Ashford number and tank medal
Not sure about the chip timing quote!

The last few miles were tough, but I was excited all the way round on this one to be completing my 99th marathon.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Snow, sleet, hail, mud and hills - Wendover Rail To Trail marathon

Trailscape know how to put on a good marathon, and didn't disappoint with the final event in the Rail to Trail Series.  It was snowing as I drove into Wendover, but this soon cleared and the weather turned out mostly alright.  Very cold, but fortunately only a few brief hailstorms and a bit of sleet.

This one had all the usual features of a Trailscape marathon - plenty of mud, plenty of hills, everyone missing an arrow and adding on a few hundred metres extra early on!  And plenty of motivational signs!  Apart from that the course was well marked and easy to follow, despite many twists and turns.

Trailscape frozen mud

Touch for power!
At times it felt like we were doing a 26 mile hill reps session.  I know this area well and knew what to expect so held back enough to keep tackling the hills all the way round.  The two laps were quite different.  On lap one I was always running in a loose group, with enough runners around to be holding the gates open for each other and always a few runners just ahead or behind me.  At the start of lap two the 10k runners were passing me very quickly, but after they forked off I was mostly on my own and at the first checkpoint everyone seemed to melt away and I had a quiet 8 or so miles on my own from then on.  I passed a tired looking runner at Chequers and then another coming down Coombe Hill.

As usual, great support at the checkpoints although unsurprisingly there weren't many spectators out on the course today.

At the finish I received a nice block of wood to hold all four medals from the series.

Four medals - North, East, South, West

In better shape than my legs

4:38:17 for my 98th marathon.  Now I just need to find number 99 and get it done before the Thames Path at the end of April.