Ed: Latest Marathon Report from Maria Hamilton:
I entered this one mainly because it was was close, it was hilly, and it was on the right date, but actually it’s rather lovely and I recommend it to anyone not looking for a PB or a shower afterwards.
Numbers were picked up on the day and came with a nice blue hat (to keep) and blue wristbands (to abandon one by one as you did the 3 laps which made up the race). I chatted to a few other Comrades entrants before the start, among them a South African who told us that the steepest hill in this race was indeed as steep as one of the Comrades “Big Five”, but only about 1/3 as long… ulp. And of course as ever there were a few 100 Club members who knew Anna!
As the race loop was 9 miles we were all walked about a mile down the road for the start. There was a minute’s silence for a runner who died recently (I confess that with the combination of my hat, being at the back, a touch of deafness and no PA system, I am not sure who, but pretty sad anyway). Then we were off.
Well I’m not fast and was doing this as a training run, so even the chap (?) dressed as an ice-cream cone (giving the race that big-city feel!) was soon ahead of me along with pretty much everyone else. But the countryside is indeed very pretty round there, and there were water (and Hi5 drink) tables every few miles, with marshalls out enjoying the sun. After a couple of miles we came to THE hill – which I mainly walked up, mindful of how tight my calves still are. After that there really wasn’t anything too bad, though the steady rise towards the end of the loop did become more noticeable every time you did it!
There was a sharp rise towards the end of the loop. The advantage, however, of the loop system is that you know that there are loos at least every 9 miles 🙂 and the support at that point was really very enthusiastic.
Towards the end of lap 2 I started seeing the lead bike man shuttling back and forth. It is a shocking indictment on the state of British distance running that only *one* runner lapped me, and he promptly started walking (until I told him to get a shift on and he should be ashamed of himself… upon which he ran round the corner and then started walking again… LOL). To be fair he was a good ten minutes ahead of everyone else!! But still… even when he was running, I could keep up with him if I sped up… shocking! 😀
I confess I too flagged rather on the third lap, but still managed to come in at under 4:40, which, considering that I did Malta in 4:30 and that was mostly downhill while this one was anything but, I was happy enough with. The finisher memento was a little metal coaster thing and quite pretty. No photos, sorry, so you are spared the sight of me in fluo orange top (with VRUK vest on top), yellow hat and gloves, getting my heat acclimitization done…