Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Nearly a photo finish.....

North Devon Marathon

Looking forward to this event for such a long time, as I`ve been to Woolacombe so many times before on boys weekends that when I saw this event I knew I just had to enter.

Training wise - from what I knew from the area I knew that I wouldn`t be running all of the course but feet time would be important. I was also hoping some of my long runs from VLM would carry over. My actual long runs were - 17M (with a parkrun in the middle), a 20M & a very hilly & warm 18.3M (30Km) Plus Doking 10 & the Bracknell Half - I was fairly happy with that.

I was staying at a friends parent`s cottage - in the middle of nowhere. Stayed there before - didn`t see Johnny Kingdom :-( in the local pub On Friday afternoon I managed to miss all of the Glastonbury traffic which was great so made good time. Saturday I spent on the beach at Saunton Sands & roaming around the local area. It was going to be hot.

I`d plan to be at the starting area on Sunday at 9.00am so all fairly normal there. Parked up in the main car park (£5.50 per day). Arranged to meet my Mum there (who was in the area - holidaying) which was cool. Fluffed around a bit before the 10.00 am start. .

Basically the route (and to include the half) was a figure of 8 with Woolacombe in the middle - 1st half going over to Croyde way & the second half was over Mortehoe, Lee area - I didn`t know this part of the course !!!

Soon enough we were herded into the start area. Saw a few folks I knew - Gymfreak & Foxy Davy. Said hello to Muds (who had a great run). Gymfreak pointed out some of the 100 marathon crowd including Brian Mills - who has completed over 720 marathons!!!

We were off - we were given a 10 minute head start on the Half Marathons runners.

Kept it steady for the 1st few miles (did go a bit fast during mile No. 2 - opps). Saw the front runners already opening up a very impressive lead. Just before my 3rd mile the first half marathoner came flying past - he was quick & had a good lead. Gladly we didn`t have to go up the Pole. Even this early into the event the views were just impressive - took your mind away from the terrain. First lady came past - wow! Down into Croyde - took a gel at 5M and Gymfreak came along side. Then in a bizarre turn we were sent across the beach - sand running - Ohh good I read about sand running in my Chi book. Anyway across the stream, over more sand & unto the rocks - so that`s Road, track, grass, sand, water & rock - we had just made it to 6M point. !!!! Walked up the hill. We followed the coast road which looks towards Saunton Sands. Then about mile 8 we had to go up the first of the major steps - not a lot of fun. Then along the top of the ridge - you could see all around the local area. One of the half marathoners asked me if I was doing to the full event - I said "yes, only because that way I get the most out of my car parking fee".....time for a couple of jelly babies I think.

Beforehand I was guessing I`ll be through half way in around 2:00 - 2:10 but I knew it was going to be later, we run the same bit of the course from about 11M so I guessed around 2:20. Picked up a Lucozade (Fuel & Focus) - I thought I was be pretty sick of gels & water during the 2nd half. As I ran through the start / finish area it was great to hear your name being called out. Momentum carried me through to around 15 - then I had to stop due to the scenery - took out the phone & took a couple of snaps. Saw Sammy the Seal sunbathing on `The Point`

At this stage it was like one of the Ultras - running by yourself, maybe seeing the another runner in the distance. The course got harder from about 16 with the ups & downs, `steps` and then the small hill around 18 that seemed to go on and on and on.....(Lee) but with water stations every two miles or so there was always something to look forward to - the marshals were just great - they knew what we wanted. I can`t actually describe in words how my head felt when I squeezed the sponges over it or how it felt when I put back on a soaking wet cap - let`s just say it was one of the many great memories from day.

There was a nice section by the Water Reservoirs along the disused railway line, however it was slightly uphill but I ran next to a chap who was a bike (I felt like a slower version of a Boxer & his trainer). At the water station at the top the lady said only 6 mile to go - which actually I thought was a shame. What seemed only a stone`s throw away the next water stations appeared - only 5 Km to go :-( Just follow the road down and up into Woolacombe. Great feeling to see the finish in the distance. As I ran along the side of the hill I heard a massive cheer - I guess England had scored...well I didn`t think it was for me :-O I did take my England flag from the Camelpak.

Down the final hill and unto the road we had started - half mile to go and I get a bit of cramp in my left calf. Well crap to that - carried on and through the finish.

As it happened my Mum was behind the finish line with the camera - instead of taking a photo she took a small video of my finish with my name being called out and everything....

Saw the prize giving and headed over to the Red Barn to watch the remaining second half of the England game. It was packed - enough said about the rest of the afternoon I think.

On reflection - it was a great day and maybe even the best event I`ve done this year. Also despite running further on three occasions this was the hardest marathons I`ve done esp the second half - and yes (IMO) even beats Caesars Camp Midnight 30.

I`m hoping the next marathon would be easier. *

Final Time 5:46:37


1) - 1m - 10:01(10:01/m) - 126cal
2) - 1m - 8:44(8:44/m) - 130cal
3) - 1m - 10:14(10:14/m) - 132cal
4) - 1m - 10:28(10:28/m) - 125cal
5) - 1m - 9:17(9:17/m) - 129cal
6) - 1m - 10:40(10:40/m) - 128cal - Croyde beach run.
7) - 1m - 12:09(12:09/m) - 119cal
8) - 1m - 16:30(16:30/m) - 113cal - 1st steep hill,
9) - 1m - 12:20(12:20/m) - 118cal
10) - 1m - 11:22(11:22/m) - 122cal
11) - 1m - 11:44(11:44/m) - 121cal
12) - 1m - 10:22(10:22/m) - 127cal
13) - 1m - 10:30(10:30/m) - 128cal
14) - 1m - 13:22(13:22/m) - 114cal
15) - 1m - 16:27(16:27/m) - 114cal - Photo point
16) - 1m - 17:43(17:43/m) - 112cal - Photo point
17) - 1m - 20:21(20:21/m) - 101cal - Steps
18) - 1m - 21:05(21:05/m) - 99cal - Lea Hill
19) - 1m - 19:07(19:07/m) - 92cal - Hill
20) - 1m - 16:17(16:17/m) - 101cal
21) - 1m - 12:53(12:53/m) - 118cal
22) - 1m - 17:37(17:37/m) - 104cal - Walked / Ran
23) - 1m - 13:30(13:30/m) - 111cal
24) - 1m - 12:46(12:46/m) - 116cal
25) - 1m - 10:35(10:35/m) - 121cal
26) - 1m - 9:25(9:25/m) - 128cal
27) - 0.13m - 1:07(8:39/m) - 15cal

Next up is Elstead Marathon *

(OK hands up time here...the Elstead Marathon is an off-road 5.4 mile event with a river crossing and I only ran to get my trainers back on - completed it in 45:06)

Next one is the tomorrow night - Yateley 10Km (jogging) & then Sunday`s New Forest 10 which I am looking forward to.

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