The route was a two loop starting at Fleet museum. The weather was forecast to be overcast. There was just under 300 runners and I was really looking forward to the race. I started the race with Marie and was aiming for a sub 4 finish.
The first loop was pleasant, nice scenic route on mostly quiet roads and well marshalled. There were a few gradual inclines but a fast course. The miles went by quite quickly and I had to hold Marie back a little and we stuck to average of 9.15 min miles.
The one thing that I just love about running long distance is the chance to met people. So me being my normal crazy self was asking everyone's names and trying to remember them so every time our little group passed or picked up another runner I would introduce everyone. Some of our group dropped us and we dropped a few, that's the way it goes.
I guess the wheels started falling of the bus around 18 miles. It had got EXTREMELY hot and our little group were starting to feel the strain. The miles turned into 10 min miles and I have to say I was in bits it was getting harder so Marie and I started to walk just little bits. In our group we had Liz and Neil so I ended up taking control. When I said run we ran and when I said walk we walked. For about 1 mile we walked quite a lot alternating between each lamppost. Knowing the others were in just as much pain as me we came up with plan. We would run 1 mile exactly and then walk few minutes before running again. This worked really well from mile 21 to the end. You can take the run out of a personal trainer but you can't take the personal trainer out of the run. Taking charge helped me cope because I had to worry about my group instead of my self.
I have to say that without these two women I would have found that race too much. Marie and Liz both showed inspirational amount of strength and I have such respect for both of them. Together we united and pulled it all together. Liz completed her 27th marathon and Marie got a 5 minute PB. Long gone are the days where I am bothered about times, in this instance it was about sheer survival. I love the fact that friendships are forged through running. We see people for what they really are which is extremely remarkable strong stubborn people. Marie and I both suffered from runners turrets from mile 16 to 19 and the memory of that will always make me smile but the memory of that group hug at the finish will stay for me forever.
In conclusion, a hot and hard marathon which I was expecting to be easy. The course wasn't challenging but a lot of people did find it tough out there in the heat. I can safely say I hurt a whole lot more that day than I did when I finished Ironman.
Great goodie bag, well organised and for their first marathon I think they put on a great race.