Cris Iles in Cornwall Marathon, 13/3/11

Sunday 13th, Duchy Marathon, Truro, Cornwall.

I was really nervous for this my second marathon, and unsure exactly how well I would perform. I’m fitter, lighter and faster than when I tried my previous one (2008, 4:01:31) but recently I’ve had some lay-offs from running and have trained for this on just two runs a week.

The long runs have felt relatively comfortable but I’m aware that overall mileage has been lower and that would have an effect.

It was a really well-organised event with directions to the start from the roads a long way out. The marathon starts alongside a 20 mile fun run and there was a great sense of support among other runners. This was my first race with VRUK as my first claim and as the miles unfolded I got into some interesting conversation with other curious runner. Two were vegetarians, other just wanted to know about the club and what I’d carbo loaded on.

It felt very hot, partly this was because it compared that way with the temperatures I trained in. As a result I soon had salt marks on my head and a previously unknown adversary – cramp. This hit the hamstrings and even a bicep, but was kept under control with a few stretches.

The course seemed flat to someone who’s trained in the South Devon hills, but a few brummies were not pleased with hills (or gentle slopes as I called them), and the miles rolled by at 8:30/mile very easily up to 15. Soon after I did slow down and found it hard to drink or eat, but passed 20 miles well inside my target of 3:00, meaning 4:00 was on.

The course ends with hills and of course the build-up of fatigue and cramp. I pushed on cursing out loud, watching the time and calculating that 10 minute miles would do it. The finish is on a fairly severe hill and I charged up past my long-awaiting wife and kids to cross with 30 seconds to spare.

A hard run, but I hit the target. The hills were a little worse than I thought from the online profile, and the weather was a factor. I felt unwell afterwards and was better after taking on electrolytes – the heat may have taken them out of me. Glad I did it, apart from anything as a lonely Devon Vegan Runner I had some interesting chats with other runners that tend to be impractical in a shorter, faster race, and promote the club.

Next stop is the Plymouth Half Marathon where I’ll attempt the last defence of my under 40 VRUK Male title.