It does not suprise me that the famous German code breaking machine was broken here. The people of Bletchley have to solve riddles just to get about the town. I have never seen so many roundabouts and underpasses in such a small area before. I was up and down underpasses like a confused rabbit, not entirely sure which direction I was facing as I tried to find my way to from the station to the start. Google maps said it was about 2 miles and 3 roundabouts for me to cross. In fact it was at least 10, including lots of double roundabouts. I don't even know why they exist? For people who change their mind after the first one and want to go back? If Google Maps has forsaken this place then I have no chance.
Anyhoo, I managed to get to the start just in time for the start of Dave "Foxy" Bailey's race. I decided to do it at the last minute to help burn off some of the Christmas podge. Foxy seems to be organising these marathons as if they were Parkruns. Turn up at the lake anytime and chances are there will be a marathon on. Awesome. Just wish he lived in Ealing.
The route was pretty simple, a little out and back to start with and then 7 laps of lake Caldicote. It's been a while since I have done a multi-lap race but I was looking forward to it as lapped races can be a different and still enjoyable running experience.
We set off and immediately 5 runners formed a lead group. They all had about half as much clothing on as the rest of us so probably had to keep moving to avoid shivering to death. I settled in a comfortable paced second group and chatted to Mark about the usual stuff, "are you going to take 20 pairs of trainers to the States next year or buy them on the way" and "In New York you can access lots of the attractions for free if you are in a wheelchair which is cool cos we will be in one".
The lap was fairly straightforward, starting at the car park run around the end to a bridge, round and through some woods then under the A5 careful not to bang your head on it, then past some flats with confused looking geese and ducks wondering why they could not swim in the ice. Then over a bridge with a dog poo in the middle then back around, under the A5 again and past a windmill and a sign for the Comfort Inn (rooms from £29) and then onto the end of the lap where Dave would lie about how many you still had to run. Then all that again. Simple.
The second lap was much like the first except some fishermen were getting in the way by sticking their rods into a pond that was not even part of the lake. Seriously what can anyone catch in a dirty puddle.
The third lap was similar except that towards the end I stopped for a bit and Mark ran on ahead. I assumed I would catch him later.
The fourth lap was much the same again except my arse was really hurting and had to stop to stretch it a bit. Mark had gone on further but I was still sure I'd be able to catch him.
The fifth lap was probably the most exciting. A dog leaped into the freezing cold lake and was paralysed in there and had to be rescued. It was one of those pointless small yappy dogs that really should be a cat anyway. Later on I noticed that someone had trodden in the poo. Who was it? I then got barked at by some more dogs which perked me up a bit.
The sixth lap was exciting too. I got lapped for the first time by Gobi who was jogging and chatting his way through a 3ish hours marathon. He stopped to chat (when I say stop I mean ran at my pace) for a minute then went off. When I finished the lap Mark was now on the other side of the lake and there was no way I was going to catch him.
The seventh lap was a a farewell to all the wonderful things I had seen several times that day. The A5, The arse end of a tesco warehouse, the 2 very confused swans on the ice who didn't realise that just around the corner there were loads of them swimming, the windmill and the now flatter dog poo. It's like they had become my friends along the way round. Mark was now as visible as a Geordies coat, I met Ruth and Anna and tried not to look too smug that I was doing my last lap and the sign for the Comfort Inn was now £34. Some Fetchie as I passed her said she was admiring the view. Was she talking about the lake or my arse?
Overall it was a great event and a great chance to catch up with some people I had not seen for a while. Although laps may sound boring they are actually quite easy and almost hypnotic. Familiarity with the wonderful objects such as windmills and dog poo seems to make them go quicker. 3.39 in total and hurting much more than 26.2 flat miles should. I had only really decided to do this the day before though. I blame Christmas. Stupid Santa, I wish you were never born. Hopefully I'll be in better shape come Feb, when I shall be running this marathon 4 times in 4 days. Hope Dave has cleared up the dog poo by then :)