For some reason I had the silly idea that I might be able to run this one fast. Dunno why. I am back up to my Los Angeles weight, which is a bit more than my usual London weight and a lot more than my New York weight. I did somehow manage to get a 5k PB a week ago though that's probably just because I've run more 5k races in the past month than in the rest of my life.
I did this race 3 years ago and it's quite good fun. It's a marathon that everyone is supposed to finish at 2.30 and your start time is determined by your average time from your last 7 road marathons (removing the fastest and slowest). I had to go back a long way to actually get to 7 road marathons, London 2008 in fact. I just don't do them anymore. My list was thus;
Oct 11 - Leicester - 4.09
Feb 11 - Enigma Quadzilla day 1 - 3.33
Dec 10 - Enigma Winter - 3.39
Dec 10 - Portsmouth Coastal - 3.17
Apr 10 - Brighton - 4.44
Apr 10 - Paris - 3.17
Apr 09 - London - 3.18
And this somehow got me a start time of 10.47, giving me 3.43 to finish. I thought this was a bit soft. Silly me. I had a healthier breakfast than usual, a McDonalds bacon bagel (instead of the usual double sausage McMuffin). Well actually I had two bagels. I was running a whole marathon.
I got there and saw Dave Ross for the first time in ages and chatted to him (he was due to start 40 minutes after me) about stuff. Pam Storey was her usual excitable self and Allan Rumbles was in charge of making tea. There were loads of runners already out on the course and as soon as I started the 5 lap race I was passing some of the early starters.
It was great bumping into some people I have not seen for a while. Anna Finn has been out injured for a while but she was back, Ruth was looking quite ill but still having a go anyway. Plus loads of the usual 100 marathon club people who I always bump into at any flat 26.2 mile race in the UK.
This was the first time I was going to run more than 10 miles in my New Balance Minimus that I have been wearing all the time since I got back from the states. They are the train version and I have the road version in the post which should arrive just in time for when I stop doing any more road running this year. It was a risk wearing them, my achilles feel like they are going to snap any day now. A few miles usually gets them sorted though.
The course is quite nice in a weird way, about a mile along a road then into a farm for a couple of miles then a park for a couple of miles then back to the running track for a jelly baby and then out again.
After the marathon they were holding the AGM where there has been a lot of debate about what "counts" as a marathon. Views vary, from "It should only count if it is officially certified, exactly 26.2 miles long, on a road, in a big city with at least 10 celebrities running and validated with overpriced photography" to "Just take the total horizontal distance you have travelled in your life and divide it by 25". All fun and games.
I've decided not to join the club proper till I have done 100 26.2 mile races (or at least those advertised as a "marathon", some might end up being long). It might take me a while, I do about 5 a year now. I think I am on around 70 and on about 50 ultras (Trans USA only counts as 1 ultra).
Anyhoo, stamp collecting aside the race felt much harder than it should. It's always good to know how fat and unfit you are at the start of the year and this was telling me plainly. My lap splits were something like 40, 41, 42, 44, 48. The last lap was a great relief and we all started to crowd together reaching the finish. Lots of "last lap", "Home straight" and "Nearly theres" were being expressed until one chap said "Nope, I've still got another lap to do".
I finished in around 3.35, got my medal from Pam and then noticed that everyone else seemed to be running around the track. "Do we have to run around the track?" I asked. "Yes, have you not run around the track". Doh. I handed back my medal and then did a lap of the track. I don't want to be accused of coming from Sunderland.
So, a nice painful slow one to start the year. Somehow I did this in 3.14 a few years ago?
Five laps of a park in Kent. I imagine Barkley will be similar.