This was never going to be a PB or even close to a fast marathon for me. My training schedule told me the mileage I need to run and I entered a marathon to take away the boredom of the pavements of Tunbridge Wells and I am so glad I did!!
A fantastic course in north Essex along an abundance of hidden back roads amongst rolling hills, woods and farmlands, apart from a 400m stretch in the last mile, the race is entirely on roads with very little traffic. Continually rated in the top 5 marathon races in the UK. Extremely organised drinks, water and sponges along the route. You could even mark up your own drinks and they were transported from start to various stations along the course should you need to. No toilet queues as toilets aplenty….a huge plus!.
On the hottest day of the year so far I spent the first 5 miles worrying if my legs were up to the distance regardless of the heat. Straight away we were all zig zagging the country lanes to hog the hedge line and keep our legs (if nothing else) in the shade for as much of the race as possible. I was running near a 100 marathon club runner who was on her 138th Marathon who mentioned that it was a lovely day for walking and enjoying the views should we need to. Good advice! I slowed my pace right down and was concentrating on staying comfortable however slow, it was the miles that I needed and not a time.
It was clear from half way point that there were a lot that were suffering from the heat. I don’t think that I have witnessed so many walking at this point. The tarmac on the roads was hot and my feet felt on fire. From miles 18-21 the constant thirst was starting to worry me but I could not physically take on board any more fluid. After mile 22 there were many being sick, Andy told me that so many were struggling and to take it easy and stay strong. The last couple of miles were glorious through shaded dirt tracks and across an open field where there was a very welcome breeze.
452 finishers – The women’s winning time was an indicator of the difficult conditions, so was thrilled to finish with a fairly good time …………for a training run J
An excellent race that I would definitely do again! Flawless organisation from such a small running club, great support in the local villages and a superb atmosphere. Picnics on the grass at the finish!
|44||03:44:50||Christine Howard||Billericay Striders||F- 45 to 49||882||03:44:45|
|47||03:48:56||Julie Holloway||F- 40 to 44||420||03:48:53|
|57||03:52:33||Tracy English||Southend On Sea AC||F- 35 to 39||865||03:52:29|
|136||04:14:05||Lesley Mercer||Tunbridge Wells Harriers||F- 40 to 44||246||04:13:56|