This is probably my local marathon only living about 10 miles away from the start, but it was my first time at the event. I went in with the ambition of breaking my PB (3.33.16 from VLM 2011) but wary of what undulations/hills might do. Set myself a target pace of 8mins 5secs for the first half thinking that if that went OK I could take it up in the second half. As it turned out managed around 7mins 55 average for the first half, felt good enough to take it up to 7mins 40secs around miles 13 - 16 and then hung on from mile 21 to the end. Result: PB and sub 3hrs 30mins. I'm 50 in July so my 3.28.29 makes me wonder if a GFA at next year's London is achieveable. Does anyone have a flat autumn marathon to recommend? Have to thank all the support around the course and at the water stations which were very well manned. The way is marathon is organised and the great touches can really tell other supposedly big and better events how to do things (Cardiff Half Marathon for one - take note!). Most cool moment was when I turned up at the Mile 18 point past Pebmarsh just at the time my wife appeared with my boys in the car at our pre-arranged cheering point. The boys didn't even have to get out of the car! Must get them running though!
Superglue Boots - as Laura says a great photo. Now I can show my marvellous support crew just how wet some bits were! Over the moon to have completed my first ultra in a shade under 7 hours. The Reading stretch was the worst for me (isn't the photo on the stretch towards Sonning?). My training stood me in good stead - 20/20 miles back to back and a 33 long run being the highlights. Respect to Go Ultra for getting the event on in the circumstances. Now my legs have recovered but the endorphins are still buzzing around, I feel there is unfinished business as a result of the reduced course. My wonderful wife Teresa (support crew team leader) said last night I should do it next year - provided it doesn't flood again. I can hardly disagree with her! In the meantime want to crack 3 hours 30 mins for the marathon (currently on 3.33.17 from London 2011).
Well done everyone who took part - a great experience.
Many, many thanks to all the marshalls - you did a great job. Managed to knock 9 minutes of last year's personal best with 1.35 something - very happy - and even more so to have company from Treez, Jayne, Declan and Elspeth who came to join me this year.
I was lucky enough to be running with a friend who had friends with a house in South Gosforth. Gentle walk to the start across the "moor" (dodging cows and cowpats!), arrived at 10am in time for the warm up (good when the sound system was working) and a thoroughly enjoyable run. We took one of the shuttle buses from the finish to the Tyne ferry and crossed to North Tyneside. Gets you out of the crowds very quickly. All you have to do then is arrange to have someone pick you up from the north side or get a taxi. Only problem for us was the idiotic bus driver who managed to scrap his bus all along the side of our friend's car whilst taking the bend down to the ferry station! All in all however a great day