So belatedly to report on my run at this years Abingdon Marathon, at which it appears I was the only harrier taking part. I would like to start with how the perfect still, cool and dry autumn morning dawned which was the case, but unfortunately I had suffered from an entire week of disturbed and minimal sleep compounded by being kept awake almost the whole preceding night to the marathon by a very noisy hotel boiler.
In my over tired lethargy I was very slow to get up and breakfast took much longer than normal – partly due to the complete lack of high fibre cereal options. On reaching the official car park I realised it was too far to the start line and I therefore parked much nearer on a residential road. Then an irate and maniacal local resident came out of his door and started abusing me and another lady for daring to park on his personal roadway (it wasn’t ) but due to his threats I wasted more time moving my car before then joining the queue for the toilets.
After this I half jogged towards the stadium, reaching trackside as the start went off, I quickly passed my bag over a fence to a random lady in the stands asking her to look after it, then ducked under some tape and ran quickly through the start with much of the field still passing through at the same time. I immediately told myself to settle down as I was now in the race, and did so as I considered the miles ahead.
In the first few miles it became clear that I was not going to be able to produce my dream pacing, but I kept calculating from that with the view that I would try to lose as little time as possible. At half way however I had already lost 6 minutes and despite telling myself I could run a negative split I knew that any hope of a PB had realistically gone already. I ran on but started losing places and was running slower and slower into the high miles of the race. At mile 20 I had a brief walk once I passed the mile marker as my body was telling me it had had enough. I quickly got going again however and resolved that I would just finish the race and stop worrying about my time. I finished in 3:29:50 and was glad to do so, although it is one of my slowest times.
Once again I will recommend this race – as the course remains pleasant, quite picturesque in places – running beside the Thames in places and through pleasant villages, the town and the visually nice solid footpath section and is a very flat course with nothing to prevent a good time if you can produce the desired even pacing.