Report by Richard Slack
I was meant to do a trail race in the Lakes on Saturday but due to gales and flooding gave that a miss. Next thought – what can I do instead. Knew Marie was joining the marathon fraternity of Claremont for another NE Marathon Club winter wonderland on Sunday so duly signed up.
We arrived at Ashington woods and met other Claremont regulars, Nina, Marie, Bill and Janet. The NE Marathon club runs are a pretty relaxed affair with a lovely atmosphere and well marshalled (windy corner, sunshine straight, the corner of the little bog) with full encouragement at the refreshment table every lap.
The 2.6mile course, through Ashington Community Woods was really lovely – plenty of twists and turns to keep it interesting and relatively flat throughout with the possible exception of a shallow 1km uphill drag up the back straight. You run as many laps as you want and get checked off each lap. Obviously 10 laps equals nearly a marathon at 26 miles so on completion a further little out and back was added. But at 9am that was the least of my worries and the furthest thing from my mind!
My plan was to get through the first 5 laps (roughly half marathon) and see how far I could go after that. Mentally I set targets to complete lap 6 then two more to lap 8, a “digger inner” on lap 9 and then only one more glorious lap would get me through. And pretty much all that went to plan except the increasing inability of the accelerator in my legs by lap 8 to 9, like being stuck in 3rd gear. Nonetheless on I plodded and finally lap 10 came. What I thought would be a lovely and decent paced last lap turned into another battle but this time to the finish and the extra bit at the end.
Sure enough the end came. I was so proud to have done this and part of the preparations for London. Marie was waiting at the end having done 7 laps (18 miles) and Nina went on to, I think, her last lap – but she might of course still be running! My legs and brain then really ceased to work so any thought of bending and walking was a real serious deal!
But on a serious note, anyone fancying a go at a marathon these runs are perfect as mentally the laps tick by and today you knew that every 2.6 miles a few snacks and fuel was waiting – no champagne though.
Oh, and the time 4 hours 8 minutes 40 seconds. But over such a distance, the time rather looks after itself.
Rest assured, champagne now and beer and curry later- necessary recovery for me.