Nothing like a short break with a marathon, with that in mind Carol and I travelled down to Stratford on the Thursday before the marathon with a full social calendar and the marathon booked in.
Carol was raised in the area and we spent time visiting old friends and old haunts, quite a full social calendar but luckily not a lot of time on my feet. We saw two shows at the RSC and also caught the bards birthday parade.
We spent time on Saturday finding the start, going along some of the route and looking at any likely places Carol could see me during the race. The start was about 100m from the door of the hotel a brilliant choice!
Raceday forecast was almost perfect for marathon running with the exception of some wind about 2 hours after the start, a headwind obviously!
The race was started by the mayor with a perfunctory ready go! A few paniced runners were still setting garmins and phones up but we were off! After the initial crush and dodging through crowds I settled into a nice comfortable pace and resolved to take in the views and enjoy the run. A half was also being run and the races split at about the 11 mile mark with the full doing an extended second lap. A crazy lady ran alongside me for a short while at the 12 mile mark. It really is good having someone there!
The field thinned considerably after the races split and gaps began to appear. With only 500ft of climb during the whole race a hill at 8 and repeated at 19 miles relieved the boredom slightly and meant you had to give out a fair bit of effort to keep your position. The course was mainly on flat country roads which were not closed nor busy. The greenway was also used towards the end of the first lap and extended slightly for the second lap. This is a flat e railway path now used by walkers, bike riders and horses.
Overall a good race. Well marshalled with water stops approx. every 3 miles and enough spectators with the odd jelly baby or orange to keep you fed if you did not have your own supplies.
My final time was 4:11:35 320th from 579. Categories were by 10 yrs so I was in the O55 rather than O60 cat.