Posted: 12/05/2016 at 01:47
Halstead was my first marathon and so I've done it every year since. Then a few years ago I discovered the Ridgeway 40 which is now one of my favourites, so I do that every year too. Trouble is Ridgeway always falls on the Saturday before Halstead on the Sunday, which means marathon times are not too great - but last Sunday was dire
Had a fantastic time on Saturday on the Ridgeway. Weather was sunny and quite hot so I've got some interesting tan lines, but I didn't get caught in the short thunderstorm which hit some runners/walkers later on. Usual walk up, run down and shuffle the rest and I finished in 8hrs 14 mins ( which was 24 mins slower than last year when I had an exceptionally good run) and I was very pleased with that. Ground was very dry and hard so ankles felt a bit battered, but rest of me didn't feel too bad. Drove home late afternoon so I could sleep in my own bed, and then off to Halstead next morning.
Even when I woke up it was really warm so it was vest, shorts, hat and lots of sun cream. Lots of the usual crowd were there so it's quite a social occasion. Lovely road marathon, low key, perfectly organised, well supported, nice countryside - and always sunny . Whoever said that Essex is flat has never been to Halstead - and since they changed the course slightly last year a few more hills have been added . Started off not too bad as it's a short downhill, but then I found the long slightly uphill in the first mile to be even tougher than I'd remembered. The sun was blistering and there seemed to be no shade at all. I must have hit the wall at about 4 miles and then fell into a pit of treacle. Toasted, achy, feeling very queasy and finding it hard to breathe - especially when going past fields of rape seed plants (I'm sure those flowers suck all the oxygen out of the air )- I even thought about pulling out before I'd reached 6 miles. That's just as you go through the village with supporters sitting on the grass verges outside pubs . Fortunately a friend caught up with me about mile 8, he was also suffering but kept me moving, and so we jogged some, staggered a bit more and walked most of the very long way to eventually run a few yards from the last corner to the finish line. A pw for a road marathon of 5h 28m, but I was just so relieved to finish - I can't actually say that I enjoyed any of it . Best bits were going under the hose pipes that a couple of thoughtful villagers rigged up , but we had dried out again within 1 minute . Glad I did it though .
Weather changed completely on Monday - just warm and fresh, did Tai Chi but continued feeling nauseous until the evening.Then when we went for a gentle run/ walk on Tuesday we got soaked.