Report submitted by Stuart Smith
|The Race||Town Moor Marathon|
|PB Potential||4.5 (if the wind doesn’t blow 5+)|
|Scenery||3.5 – You get five views of a shabby football stadium and the XC hills|
|Value for Money||4.5|
|Club Support & Social||1.0 (The only bounder running, but for one lap the score was 5)|
|In Short||Brilliantly organised and a cracker for anyone wanting to try marathon running for the first time|
|In Full: Bit of Background
I’d been thinking about doing this race earlier on in the year after chatting to Ian Middlemas and using it to follow on from the Kielder Marathon to keep the long distance miles up and to use it as time on my legs in preparation for the Hardmoors 30. I had no idea at this time that a small incident in early August would dash my running plans for the rest of the year.
After being given the go ahead to run again and enjoying a slow ten mile run with John Hopps I decided I would enter not even knowing whether I would turn up. Another week went by and a 14 mile run with Nicola done thoughts turned to actually making it to the end of lap four.
I never really mentioned doing this run to anyone as I still wasn’t sure about taking it on but after a chat with Ian after the park run the day before my mind was made up, I was going to give it ago and if it was a DNF it wouldn’t really matter it would just be good getting some miles in and enjoying the run.
The 5.25 mile course is a fairly steady flattish first mile, with a flattish second mile which then turns into a headwind that is always there making it a slow hard mile, those who have done the Memorial 10k or park run here will have experienced the wind. A long slow uphill third mile follows with a testing half a mile uphill on grass. The route then clatters downhill back to the start in Exhibition Park. The course is 5 laps which was ideal for me or anyone wanting to try marathon running because if you drop out race HQ and your car are nearby.
I started off right at the back with my friend and work colleague, Brian ‘Bill’ Ford, and a few other Striders who were aiming to get under 5hrs. I’d written 5hrs finish time on the entry form and knowing this was going to get hard after 18 miles due to lack of training starting the first lap with them was just the job and at 11 minute miles even I can chat without being out of breath.
There was a canny few from Elvet running and they had brought support which was much appreciated as Alister and the crew gave me a massive shout every time I passed
Lap one was pretty easy and part way through lap two I was joined by Ian Young on his bike who had come down to give a bit of moral support, I had pulled away from the Striders by this time and the rest of the lap and into my third flew by while chatting to Captain Young, I do remember him saying as we went up the grassy hill that it would pull on the calves on the last lap, he was just out it was the fourth lap that bloody hurt!! Cheers for turning up Ian it was great to have the support but please don’t mention Sarbucks next time ha ha.
I passed half way with 2hr 15 minutes on the watch and was running alone, however with the course being laps there is always someone close and the support from the other runners was fantastic and the marshals from the North East Marathon club were good sport.
Things got really tough on lap four 18-21 miles it was a shuffle more than a jog and it was mind over matter getting one foot in front of the other, thoughts turned to my crazy brother shuffling through the middle part of the MDS with dodgy guts and I thought well I’ve got it easy really. I thought about stopping at the end of lap 4 but the shout from the Elvet crew who were by the start finish line and the fact it was just over a park run to go made my mind up I just thought bollocks to it I’ve come this far may as well carry on. I remember looking at my Garmin at 20 miles with 3hrs 35mins on the clock thinking just over an hour to go, well it turned out to be a little longer, I crossed the line in 4hrs 51minutes beaming with nearly a tear in my eye couldn’t believe id got all the way round !! The run has healed few mental scars and I was well chuffed.
4hrs 51 minutes is a long time to be on your feet and gives you a little insight into what ultra running could be mentally, not sure I’ll make the HM30 this time but there’s always 2016 and maybe parkrun then pub on New Year’s Day will be a good choice.
Many thanks to the Bounder Family for the kind words and support over the last 12 weeks, it’s definitely time to draw a line in the sand “Onwards and Upwards”.