Nah – course she made it! ONE HUNDRED MARATHONS! (or… longer…).
So, on Friday was number 99 – the 27 mile Bletchley Enigma Marathon, organised by fellow Fetchie and 10in10 runner, Foxy Davy. It was a pleasantly flat and scenic route, with a lap around the lake in Bletchley Park, followed by 9 miles along the canal to a turnaround point, then back in the opposite direction. I ran with Fetchie Katie for the fist half and we were joined by 100 club member Neil on the way back and we chatted the whole way. There was a strong wind, which fortunately was a tail wind for the return leg. The rain and cold kicked in for the last couple of miles around the lake, but we were pleased to finish in 4:29:04. VRUK runner Cedric had come to support me and spent half an hour standing around int the cold and wet. It was great to have someone from the club there and we both warmed up with coffees.
Then I took a train up to Goring & Streatley, where I was collected, along with a couple of others, by Jan Kearn, the lovely wife of Dick Kearn, who himself is an amazing and inspirational character, as well as being the race director of the Compton Downland Challenge 40 miler. (He’s also the director of the GUCR and he and Jan also man checkpoints at the Ridgeway 85 and Caesar’s Camp 100). Some people might think it odd to arrive the day before a race, go out to the pub with the organisers and fellow runners, then sleep on gym mats in the school hall. But it works, with a great atmosphere and lots of interesting people around. I wore my compression tights overnight and was pleased to wake up with relatively fresh legs.
The race is on a figure of 8 shaped course (there is also a 20 mile options, making for a total field of over 200 runners) over the downs, including some steep hills up onto the Ridgeway and this year featuring some very slippery mud (and for some reason I didn’t take my trail shoes, so spent a lot of the day sliding around in my roadies). There are 8 checkpoints, well stocked with a variety of food and drinks, manned by enthusiastic and supportive marshals. This has to be one of the best-organised events on the race calendar, with a huge feel-good factor. I took it fairly steady, wanting to finish feeling happy. I enjoyed the run very much and chatted with various runners throughout the day. I finished half an hour quicker than last year, in 7:21:54.
At the end lots of people were congratulating me on completing my 100th marathon and becoming a world record holder (unofficial so far, but I should hopefully be able to get it certificated by the Guinness people by sending them some evidence). There were lots of people there that I knew, including the three gents that ran with me through the night at the Ridgeway, the chap who did the last 60 miles of Caesar’s with me, lots of 100 club folk and Fetchies, plus I met more new fascinating people. Vanessa from VRUK came to take photos for a press release, making me feel like some sort of celebrity. She’s made the journey up from London specially.
I had a brilliant day. But I mustn’t get bigheaded – training for the 10in10 and GUCR continues, so I’ve done my gentle 10 miler this morning…