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Monday, 25 October 2010

Race report: Founders Marathon

It is with some trepidation that one enters a XC marathon with no marshalls and a set of directions with no more than 30 miles a week under ones belt 8 weeks after the Ridgeway but bumping into a couple of familiar faces after a cold start cheered me up.

I caught up with Irish Tom who just made it to the start. Some runners had gone off early but a small field left for a lung-bursting 2 mile uphill from the start line at Peaselake Memorial Hall in the Surrey Hills. 3 runners went off like the clappers up the hill, then followed by a couple. I presume they were all on the marathon, rather than the shorter loop of 16.

Tom and I settled down with a group of about 12 runners who, apart from the faster few were at the head of the field. The directions are always going to slow you down and more heads are better than one. It is so easy to go wrong. Having said that, we made a steady pace towards CP1. The weather warmed from a chilly 1 degree and the presence of the sun and the hills meant that I was glad I left the extra longsleeve in the car.

After CP1 the field began to split. I was aware that the field was stringing out and out group had pulled clear of the rest of the field. Tom stated at the end that he thought I had chosen to go hard and break the group. I was not aware of doing this but was running on feeling, with the Garmin tucked under my ronhill. We ran and chatted and soom enough, caught the 100 marathoners that went off half an hour before us. CP2 was full of lovely sandwiches, biscuits and crisps. Filling up on water bottles and we were off.

Tiredness inevitably crept in and we went wrong. Twice. We added at least 2 extra miles and at Friday Street, were caught by the fastest of the leading pack, who were in fact, 2 chaps who went off 5 mins before the start.

We dropped them again and after literally a minute at CP3, hot footed it up the steep hills to the end. Some of the hills were more like scrambles and the heavy rain had made the pathways rubbly and dangerous but we were better than that. At the finish we signed in, to find ourselves equal 6th. No other runners made it under 5 hours and fair play as it was a tough and technical challenge.

Cider at the finish to watch the rest over the line was the order of the day

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