I ran the South Downs a couple of years ago. It's challenging and also beautiful. Salomon also sponsors the Kielder Marathon, which calls itself 'Britain's most beautiful marathon' and I believe is slightly less challenging than the South Downs. I'm considering running it this year.
I've run three marathons now. I used energy gels in training and running the first two. For the third one, I didn't take on anything during training or the marathon itself except plenty of water. I performed better in it than the others. I ate an enormous amount of food in the 2-3 days before the race, especially in the 24 hours preceding it.
Anita Bean in The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition (my food bible) has useful tips on 'carbo-loading'. Essentially go for 7-8g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight for 3 days then 8-10g/kg for the next 3 days before the race. Eat a substantial breakfast 2-4 hours before the race.
Feelings of hunger are often caused by lack of water - this is true whether or not you're exercising - and feeling hungry after 15 miles is probably an early sign of impending dehydration rather than a lack of fuel.
My fourth marathon and the first on a flat road course. Aiming for sub-3.15. An Achilles injury earlier in the year has put me behind schedule but I'm gradually building up the mileage now. I'm running the Kent Coastal HM this weekend so will be able to check on progress.
My usual running partner is off to the NYC marathon, so if anyone looking for a similar time is running solo and wants to buddy-up, let me know.
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