Mon 25/5: 6.21 miles @ 8:53/mile
Tues 26/5: 3.1 miles @ 9:42/mile
Weds 27/5: 6.21 miles @ 8:43/mile
Thurs 28/5: 4.0 miles @ 9:00/mile
Fri 29/5: 4.0 miles @ 9:00/mile
Sat 30/5: 27.0 miles incl Kent Roadrunner Marathon (4th) 2:53:34 (26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile)
Sun 31/5: 4.5 miles @ 9:01/mile
Total Mileage - 55.02 miles
So race day arrived for what promised to be a race with an abundance of eccentricity - cow themed, mid race showboating arena, free beer, the hugest medals in history and a record field of 400+, half of whom were wearing the eye catching Roadrunner vests.
Sat 30th May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 - 4th (Hannah 2:53:44 - 5th )
The scene was set - 17 laps (minus a little bit) of the 2.49km Gravesend Cyclopark was the mission:
All tense and nervous awaiting the start :
At 9am on Saturday morning, otherwise known as parkrun time, off we went:
The early pacesetters included Simon Newton in about 4th resplendent in his Union Jack Roadrunner vest:
In terms of pacing this marathon the benchmark was that 10 minute laps (9:30 for the slightly shorter first lap) would lead to an overall time of 2:49:30. The idea was to use the clock at the end of each lap primarily as a lap counter but also to compare against the benchmark of 9:30, 19:30, 29:30, 39:30 etc to get a rough idea of likely finishing time.
This was Radio 2/Radio 5Live's Vassos Alexandra who was very complimentary about my cow head :)
The course is a game of two halves, one side of the Cyclopark being downhill and the other, yep you've guessed it, all uphill. It is probably an 800 metre or so climb on each lap and is not an insignificant climb at that. For some reason though it seems to flow quite well.
The laps ticked away at just over 10 minutes for the first ten laps and then drifted a little towards 10:25-10:30 as the heat noticeably increased in the later laps, giving a finishing time of 2:53:34.
The unique nature of this event though is that there is always something of interest going on around you, from Elaine Brassngton's attempt to complete her first marathon to Simon Newton attempting to win his first marathon (both of whom were successful by the way).
Meanwhile I spent the race being chased by a fast cow:
Simon bringing it home for the sweet taste of marathon victory in 2:40:42 and setting a new course record into the bargain:
The unusual nature of this event meant that you had no idea of what position you were in and it really didn't matter. As many said on the day, it is just one big social outing with a bit of a mad professor type Race Director :)
From lap 2 onwards the 400 or so runners are spread all the way round the 2.49km circuit and it is very difficult to know who is on which lap. This probably is the feature that goes a long way to giving this event it's 'inclusive' tag. It doesn't matter what your aim/target you will feel just as much an integral part of the race as anyone else.
My own gut feeling was that my finishing position was maybe 7th or 8th but it turned out to be a pleasantly surprising 4th. Because of the sea of Union Jack Roadrunner vests and the equally ubiquitous cow themed silliness/nonsense I had no idea where Hannah was on the course.
But yet again it couldn't have been closer, a mere 10 seconds in it as she crossed the line in a new course record of 2:53:45 - and that is despite her doing a cartwheel in the showboating zone mid race.
I'm not sure that she quite gets the concepts of 'efficient running form' and 'racing line' :p
(Evidence supplied by Ian Berry):
A cartwheel in the 2nd half of a marathon? I ask you! If only she'd take this game seriously ;) :p
Class photobombing of the Ladies' Winner :)
Hannah and Simon with their huuuuge trophies and heavy bling:
Here we are with Race Director Ian Berry who couldn't take the smile of his face all day long, even when grovelling around on the course picking up discarded rubber bands :p
Two interesting things about this pic -
1. By far the most interesting of course is the amazing randomly generated numbers ;)
2. In the first 5 months of this year the 3 bods in the pic below have already completed a combined 16 marathons, all of which have been sub 3 -
Hannah (5) 2:50-2:57
Ian (6) 2:44-2:52
Steve (5) 2:48-2:54
There may just be something in this regular marathons idea, something I would have dismissed out of hand a couple of years ago!
Is this an event to be recommended?
Absolutely not! It's rubbish from start to finish and the race director is a miserable sod into the bargain.
More to the point, all the discounted first 100 entries have already been snapped up for 2016 ..... and I haven't entered yet! So if you're half tempted to enter next year's event - don't! Well, not just yet anyway ;)
Marathon Building Blocks:
15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile
28th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
29th March: 11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile)
4th April: 3.1 miles @ 6:00/mile
12th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
18th April: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
19th April: 5.8 miles @ 6:04/mile
26th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:32/mile
4th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile
6th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
10th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
13th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
16th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
17th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile
20th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:37/mile
23rd May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
24th May: 1.0 mile @ 5:07/mile
30th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile
Recent Marathon Record
2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)
2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48)
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)
The next marathon will be the Potteries Marathon in 5 weeks, followed by the Yorkshire Marathon in 19 weeks. There will probably be another one in the meantime but they will be a bit more spaced out than the recent ones.
As the next build up will be pretty much a re-run of this build up to Roadrunner it probably won't be blogged but will resume for Yorkshire.