This was an interesting marathon as it had been voted in the top 10 in the UK and was the closest marathon to Christmas. The weather forecast was dry but would be very very windy with a westerly. As it was an out and back marathon it would help on the way out and be direct in the face for most of the way back.
As it turned out it was as bad as I was expecting.
It was an 8:45am start and you could pick up your number on the morning. Both Dave Brady and Brenda O'Keefe were there, extending their Irish records for most marathons run in a calendar year. It would be Dave's 101st and Brenda's 71st. Brenda has 3 more planned in 2014 and Dave 2 (maybe 3).
I picked up my number in the Pyramid Leisure center with 1800 others. This was a big crowd given a lot of the race was on a tight single track trail with "kissing gates" and pinch points. Brenda managed to get an early start and was gone by 8:15. I met with Dave before hand and we both had the same expectations of a 4:30 given it was a trail and windy.
We gathered on the prom and followed the pipe band to the start which was 800m down the prom. Very quickly we were off. Immediately my Garmin started playing up. Starting at a 9:15 comfortable
|Dave at the start|
|Waiting to get on the beach|
We were stuck at a kissing gate for several minutes.
The aid stations were very well stocked with Gel's, Jaffa cakes, sweets, Jelly beans and mulled wine. I had a long conversation with coach Cottle at the Crusaders Christmas party earlier in the week and agreed that it was important to enjoy these marathons after some dodgy experiences at le marathon De Medoc where wine and oysters should have been consumed. I took full advantage of the aid stations. I came through 10K in approx 1hr and we skirted the M27 for quite a while at this stage.
After a very open marsh trail we crossed the bridge to Hayling Island and again stuck to the coast. The race was still busy throughout and it soon got busier as we started to meet runners coming back on the "out-and-back" route. Surprisingly we turned at approx 12 miles and hit half way on the way back. I came through half way in 2:08, which was Ok on a trail.
|Brenda finishing 71 for 2014|
|Dave finishing 101 for 2014|
At 22 miles I spotted Dave again in front of me and passed, expecting him to follow. He would end up 4 minutes behind.
beach on the way back but through a housing estate before returning to the prom. I was pleased that I ran the whole race and managed to make it back to the Pyramid Leisure center in 4:29:11. I was pleased with this given it was a trail and there was a lot of waiting in the early part of the race at the pinch points and relatively windy.
Garmin stats (Note Garmin didnt work too well. Just as well its Christmas (hint)).