In short: Organisation, execution and the course were first class In full: Organisation for this race was first class, no stone unturned, no detail missed. Can't fault it. The race was started on time and with great anticipation and the Abingdon and other village locals turned out in force to cheer us all on - inspiring. The course is predominantly flat although a little dour on the scenery front but there were plenty of other runners to run with and, in between breaths, to talk to. I did measure the course long on my garmin (along with all my fellow club runners)but accede to the fact that it has been officially measured. Like the start on the track as it ensures that the runners have thinned out a little before meeting the narrowing path and bollards within the first half mile. The loop at the end though is a little soul destroying as you think that you only have a few more yards to go as you enter Tilsley Park and the grand stand staiudm finish is great with loads of people cheering you in (again no surprise as it did state this on the website!) Result was a new PB although I didn't quite break that sub-3 barrier but that would have been greedy. Even though results are not up on the Abingdon site, they were up on the www.theresults.co.uk site within 6 hours (just as stated in the paperwork). Overall a top class marathon and one that I will continue to do each year. Date of review: October 21, 2009
In short: This marathon was plain sailing for the majority of the runners, but not for me. In full: This marathon could make your day and possibly even your year. If you train correctly, it could also guarantee you a personal best Marathon time. What I liked about this marathon, was the spectacular organisation, it was simply flawless. At the start of the race there was plenty of parking and toilets. Every Marshal, helper and Cadet (hundreds of them) were all first class. The Abingdon locals were the most vocal spectators I have ever encountered. What I also liked about the race was that there were plenty of water station s, energy drinks and jelly babies. The downside of this race was the scenery which was dull and boring for the first five miles and in other areas. There were times when I was just looking at Industrial areas and tall dry grass. Three things that caught my eye were the Turkey Farm, St. Helen’s Church (with its chiming bells) and the field which looked like field filled of Calliloo - West Indian Spinach. This was a chip timing race, which meant the race results should have been up within 24 hours after the race. I just checked the web-site this Wednesday morning 3 days after the race, and there is still no result! My legs did not feel right from Thursday’s training and on Friday my legs were feeling heavy and aching, especially my left leg. I did some crazy stretches to revive my legs but the damage was done. I realised I had over trained. ‘It should not have happened to a Vet runner’, I should have known better! The day of the race, my legs felt a bit better but were still heavy and tight. When I started the run I knew I would be in trouble. The race was not completely flat; it had a few inclines, the last mile almost broke the camel’s back. It was the hardest, toughest and longest mile of the race. I was hoping it would not be a track finish (because the race started on the track). But there and behold waiting for me at the finish was one lap of the track. I was not pleased so I gritted my teeth and made a mad dash to the finish line. I was in absolute agony. I did not get my sub 4 hours, but over five hundreds smiling runners did, out of 706 runners (that’s impressive) I suppose it’s better than me coming last - which I am very good at. When it comes to organisation Abingdon Amblers know a thing or two, they were able to perform and delivered the goods with a smile. I’m glad I did this race it has taken me 3 years to participate. It was cancelled in 2007, oversubscribed in 2008 and here I am in 2009 kicking myself. Once again well done Abingdon Amblers, in 2008 you were ranked 25th as Runners World Readers Top Favourite Race and you have done it again in 2009. Just one more thing Suzanne Dando, former British Gymnast Champion and I used to attend the same Secondary School. Susan fired the gun at the start the race. I think this would have made my great and late Head teacher Mrs Fisher really happy and proud; two of her former pupils participating in such a big and important race. I would like to dedicate this race to you Mrs Fisher and thank you for enriching our lives and being such a perfect role model, such an inspiration, and feeding us with your words of wisdom. God Bless. I shall continue to do my best to make you proud.