Hastings Marathon


I was woken up to the sound of Mark Braley telling me it was time to get ready. I didn’t know what I needed to get ready for nor did I know where I was. I nevertheless staggered out of the strange bed and seemed to know where the bathroom was to get a much needed glass of water. I then started to pick things off the floor that I seemed to throw around the place the night before.

It was 5.45 in the morning. We didn’t get back until 2am (less than 4 hours ago) and I do not remember this. We had about half an hour to get ready before leaving the house and walking to Ians where Oli would then drive us to Hastings.

Along the mile or so walk I was sick twice. I was still staggering like I was drunk and it felt hard to even stay awake while walking. I was looking for an excuse not to run and we nearly got one when Oli hadn’t arrived by 6.30. However he did and I again missed out on an opportunity to not run.

I didn’t feel any better on the journey down. My eyes were red and my stomach felt rough. I was trying to piece together details of what happened last night. I recall entering the party and saying there is no way I’ll be in this car right now. Somehow peer pressure and about 8 pints of Guinness changed my mind.

I don’t think it is a good idea to run a marathon with a severe hangover, however I don’t like to compromise my social life because of the running and vice versa. I didn’t expect to feel this rough but I knew (almost certainly) that I’ll feel better once I am running. The past month has been fairly hectic with parties and I didn’t want to miss any of them just because I had a marathon. There are plenty of other races.

Since I was not going for a fast time I took my santa suit and intended to run in that. I didn’t have the beard and was intending to get one before the start but that didn’t happen. When I put the suit on my friends warned me that I looked like a sex offender with the hungover face, stubble and dodgy santa suit. Fair point I think. I took it off and had to borrow a top from Mark which was very snug.

I’d also forgotten to bring proper trainers too, I ended up running in some Inov8 fell shoes.

In the usual melee at the start Ian and Oli mentioned that they were going to hang around until 4 hours were on the clock and then return to the car. I was fine with this until I realised that I had no idea where the car was parked. 4 hours might be a challenge here as I was still feeling pretty bad. I had no watch either so wasn’t sure how I’d know whether I’d be going fast enough.

The first 4 miles were very difficult, partially due to their hillyness but mainly to my drunkenness. I have no idea at what pace I crawled up these hills but I was getting overtaken constantly, even though I started in the 4 hour pen.

I had not drank much water or had much to eat in the morning and had no apparent thirst. I knew I had to overcome this as I might not finish if I didn’t drink enough. There were Lucozade stops every 5 miles with bottles and I took them at each and forced some fluid down me.

I asked another runner (they were still overtaking me constantly) at the 7 mile marker what the time was and he said 1.01. I felt a bit better as this was inside 4 hour pace and I would not have to wander around Hastings shivering to find a car park. I thought a lot about what I’ll do if everyone abandoned me at the end. I had no phone or anyone’s number. I’d started to wish I’d filled in all that stuff you are supposed to inside your running number.

I felt much better and got to 10 in 1.27, well inside 4 hour pace again and I was running much better. I had run off the hangover and then thought it was only a matter of time before the 50 miles from yesterday would rear it’s ugly head. (It was an ugly 50 miles).

After about 15 miles I was overtaken by a Serpie called Claire. I chatted to her for a little bit and she said that she would be happy with under 4.30. I hoped she was joking as I was needing 4 hours to get a lift back and she flew past me.

The course remained hilly but the worst of it was in the first few miles. It was nice to have hills to attack on a regular basis as well as some gentle downhills to run fast on. After 16 or so miles I was amazed by how painless it felt and the only injuries I appeared to be carrying were cuts on both heels from the new shoes I wore at the party.

At 21 miles the course goes onto the promenade where is stays flat. I got to 20 in about 3 hours and thought I’d give it a bit more on the home straight. For the first time in the race I was constantly overtaking others and could see for miles ahead. I overtook a couple of Serpies in quick succession. I thought I might be the last one to finish today but that was no longer going to happen.

The finish was comfortable and in 3.47. Ian and Alan had both broken 3, Oli just over and Mark had an eventful race where he had to stop in someone’s house to use their facilities. At least I didn’t need to do that.

A truly fantastic weekend was finished off with a trip to Subway. It doesn’t get any better than this. A big long run, a piss up, a nice comfortable marathon and then Subway. Leicester City won too. I definitely want more of these weekends next year.