A few weeks back the race director for the cakeathon race let me sign up at the last minute to enter his event. That coupled plus the fact that it was a little pricey meant that on bank holiday morning when my alarm went off at 5am I forced myself to get up and throw some clothes on and jump in the car for the 2.5 hour drive to Deal, nr Kent.
The race itself is publicised as a race with an enormous medal (tick), lots of cake to eat (tick) and where I used to live so I get to go back and see it again (tick).
But having raced on the Saturday and not felt great on the Sunday the plan was to head down, enjoy the event and do maybe 3 laps (a half marathon) as practice for my ultra in June. I would wear my rucksack again with different things in it to see how it and I responded.
With that kind of mindset I ambled down to the race at Fowlmead (the old Betteshanger Colliery) that has been converted into a park with loads of tracks and stuff for kids and adults to cycle and run on. I got there for 8 when it opened, cup of coffee and number pick up, chat with some people and before I knew it, it was time to saddle up and get ready. But all very low key and enjoyable.
The race briefing though was what put me really at ease, nice and chilled and lots of congratulations for people who had completed their 100 marathons, or 200 marathon and higher!!! But I would say a small crowd of 100-150 runners.
First lap was OK, just plodded round and chatted with an old friend! Louise lives in Deal and when I said I was coming down for the race popped over on her bike and cycled the first lap with me to catch up on families etc etc.
At the end of each lap you are back at the start and you get to eat cake!!! Paintings, OK photos paint a thousand words
Louise decided to come back round with me on her bike for lap 2 and the same old same old, bit of a chat and a plod round the lap.
Lap 3, definetely my last so she came back round again with me and the normal chat/plod combo. I finished lap 3 and thought why not, I’ll do another so it’s 28k (with Saturday race that would take me over a marathon in distance). 4th lap was OK, same old plod and chat but also met up with a guy called James who made my day!
He described at some length the process he had gone through to be the official squirrel for the Royal Half Parks marathon (I have a ballot place so will see him there). He had to submit an application, including who his two bodyguards would be, in the application he had to describe why he likes squirrels (the ability to play with your nuts was frowned upon). Then there was a shortlist of 19 potential squirrels which were whittled down to 4 or 5. Then last year’s squirrel got to pick!!!! How brilliant is that. I had the vision that a grand squirrel (think the Freemasons) comes in, in a full squirrel outfit and anoints next year’s squirrel!!! This amused me a lot more than it should have but anyway James has the pleasure of wearing a full on squirrel suit in the Royal Parks half in October and by the time we’d finished chatting all things squirrel that was lap 4 done.
I was definetely stopping now, 100%. Well until someone said, you’ve done 4 so you may as well do 5. Louise in her naivety said Ok, just one more, I’ll cycle round with you again. But why do 5 if you can do 6 and add another marathon under your belt….
The 5th lap was a bit more tricky, imagine a rusty car trying to kick start itself into a slow shuffle! But lap 5 was done and by this point Louise had to ditch the bike as it was too hard to cycle so slowly and ran the last lap with me! All done in a minute over 6 hours.
A big thank you to Louise who kept me company. She left the house expecting to be back in an hour, 6 hours and a cycling marathon later got home!
Also a massive massive thank you to the other runners. The course meant that you were always crossing other runners finishing their lap or setting out on the next one and every person without fail would give a well one or thumbs up. Amazing camaraderie.
So normally I try and do my blogs straight after the events but I think I’m still a little bit in shock. I ran a marathon on Monday, a bloomin marathon! Doing a marathon has been the pinnacle of my training for quite a few years, a massive challenge that I trained for months for and couldn’t move for days afterwards. I just rocked up and did one, albeit slow etc but I did it.
I picked up the great medal, said thanks to Louise and the organiser and headed off with a great goody bag etc (photo at the bottom). Drove home and then did some bits in the garden before having a shower and watching some TV. I was still in shock that I had run a marathon but there wasn’t the normal sense of achievement or the need to tell the world (OK I get I’m doing that now, OK the 10 people that read my blog!). Does that mean I need to aim for longer races or quicker marathons or what???? Really not sure to be honest
I should have bounded into work wearing my medal and shouting from the rooftops, instead I just said I’d done a run with lots of cake and a great medal and was a bit tired! Odd…
Anyway Endure 24 next, a great great event that was loads of fun last year!