Quite possibly a race I should not have done! Still suffering with cold symptoms I decided to do the race and just take it as easy as I could and still get around.
The weather was good not too warm with a cooling breeze coming in from the sea. We set off along the beach from Alnmouth heading for the first food stop at Boulmer about 3.5 miles up the coast. Each food station had the same supplies-water, coke, haribo, jelly babies and Ribena.
I set off at an easy pace already near the rear of the field I was more concerned with the coughing and spluttering I was doing than position in the field.
Terrain was good and dry paths in the main well defined and visible, however we did use the beach on several occasions. Second drinks station was at Craster and it was come and gone in the blink of an eye. Onwards heading north sea to the right the final drinks station at Newton Links then comes the turnaround point and down we go sea to the left and beach stretching out before us.
Covering the same ground I was feeling strong after the turn around but decided to keep to plan A and headed homeward.
Unofficial result dist 26.03, time 5:28:25 climb 1300ft.
The best laid plans etc etc. I woke up on Thursday morning with a wee tickle at the back of my throat as the day wore on it got worse and worse and by 6;30pm and my Jog Scotland group run the last thing I wanted to do was run! After the run I headed to Leven to spend the evening with Carol and ended up in bed for 10 after a bath and a hot toddy!
After a 10 hour sleep albeit disturbed I was feeling slightly better and headed home to do some tasks there and wait on Carols arrival for our trip to Edinburgh to visit her brother and see the Handlebards at the Botanics. I may have thought I was feeling better but the urge to climb in bed for an afternoon nap meant otherwise.
A pleasant visit and tour of the new Black des res was followed by food and a cycle to the botanics for the oudoor performance by the “Bards”.
By the time we got back to Octavia St I was fading again and after another bath and hot toddy I was sound asleep for almost another 10 hours.
I woke up showered, packed and headed south. I met Keith and Chris, old friends of mine from Sunderland, in Alnwick and spent some time with them before I set out in the car to check the route to the start and the parking. With that done I headed to Alnwick YH where I am penning this.
Hopefully I will be able to report completion of my N marathon in my race review.
A week Saturday I shall be lining up for no 3 of 4 marathons planned for this year. The Northumberland Coastal Marathon. An out and back course north from Alnmouth. Multi terrain it even has a stretch or two of beach included.
Plan for this one is to drive down Saturday meet a friend for a bar lunch and spend the night at Alnwick YH. After the race head straight home and prepare for Carol’s birthday on the Monday.
I may not have been up with the larks but I was certainly wakened by them the dawn chorus at 0413!
I lazed till ninish and then got showered and dressed had a chat with some fellow racers and headed to the village shop/cafe/emporium to have some food and charge phone and of course do this!
Registration opens at 1400 so plan is to stay hydrated, snooze and stretch for the rest of the day then register and have more food before a final doze then the race. Registration was a quick and slick operation admittedly I did go early.
After registering I had a short walk around the village and on the canal and headed back to the campsite to await the race brief.
At the HQ I met Phil Adams a fellow 100Km club member whom I had not seen for years Phil is well on his way to 250 marathons!
After the briefing we all miles around and then we were off right on time. A few yards walking then a few more nearly jogging as we went through the village and up onto the Taff TRail and out around the North of the Talybont reservoir, through the forest and. Reached CP1. The trail was undulating and on forest paths a. Not unpleasant beginig to the race CP 1 time 1::28:12 7.5 miles 1:23:32. As we were running along we could see the low cloud enveloping the peaks and feel the water vapour landing on our bodies.. As we left the forest we were following the Beacons Way which although it went to the summit of Pen y Fan we left to climb up Graig Fan Las which took us out along a ridge and back to the way for another short stint. The field was well spread out as was the trail markers but with only one large obvious path to follow the route finding was easy enough, staying upright though was another thing altogether. The terrain was a cross between the cobbles of the Royal Mile the boulder fields of the Lairg Ghru and the dirt of the Fife coastal path and as the surface got wetter it also got slipper!
CP 2 is at the summit of Pen y Fan 1:58:34. Tot time of 3:26 Dist app 14 summit height 886m. So began the descent following the Way once more for a short distance before going down Tor Glas and into Taf Fechan Forest and onto the Taff Trail to CP 3 at 19 miles 1:13:45 tot time 4:40:31. Food, drink, head torch and glow stick and we were back on our way. Following the Taff Trail now all the way to the finish. Strangely this was one of the hardest parts of the race a mix of tiredness and darkness I expect. Finish time of 6:09..
Up bright and early Friday morning fed, watered, washed, packed and off for 1000. A long drive ahead approx 39o miles mainly in rain and spray from other vehicles. There were some bright spots and I usually got out and stretched off when they presented themselves.
Through Scotland , England and into Wales. As I got off the motorway and onto A then B roads the countryside got greener and the sky got bluer. I had checked the forecast before I left which was for wall to wall rain luckily it did not materialise and I had my tent pitched and a brew on without a drop of rain falling. I arrived at my campsite just after 7pm a drive of almost 9 hours. Tallybont farm camp site is a lovely wee place plenty of room with all the normal facilities. I had a walk around the village and found the closed shop not surprising considering the time. I was in my bag and snoozing by 10pm.
Wednesday evening and with a busy Thursday ahead I decided to get everything packed ready to go on Friday to the Midnight Mountain Marathon.
I was camping so had quite a bit of stuff to look out. I erected the tent in the garden just to check it was ok and give the cat someplace else to play! Obviously. Hung my sleeping bag and liner up to air and checked that my stove was in working order. With the camping gear sorted I turned to the Race Instructions.
A comprehensive booklet with all the information I needed including a compulsory kit list of 16 items that I packed in my OMM runsack and tried out on a small run. Fairly confident that everything was sorted I decided to wait till Friday morning and give the forecast a final check before I zipped bags up and got the car packed.
L for Loch Katrine. A localish race that allowed me to drive early in the morning and do the race and be home for 5pm.
Being Scottish L was always going to be Loch something it was just a matter of fitting the other races in as well.
The Loch Katrine running festival comprises a 10K, half marathon and the full marathon. The full marathon sets off from Trossach Pier at 0900 and follows the Loch to just past Stronlachar Pier where you turn around and head back the way you came.
The forecast was bad but on the day the weather was really quiet good with a dull damp start and the sun making an appearance later on about mile 18 or 19. The course had a total climb of 2500 ft with some long hills. It was a small field and there were a few occasions when no one else was in sight especially with the winding loch side road which was almost traffic free. The majority of the race entry fee goes to charity and you won’t find gels, isotonic drinks or bananas at the feed stations. Water only with flapjack and sweets at the turnaround point.
4:57:0 with 2500 ft climb.