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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Farnham Pilgrim Marathon. Race report

Hats off to the organisers of the Farnham Pilgrim. What an amazing marathon. This is the far end of the NDW and I don't often get down to here unless it is an LDWA event.

This was my 30th Marathon. Somewhat of a milestone I guess. There were no personal expectations as readers of the blog will know that since the SDW100 and achieving a sub 24 on challenging territory, I was somewhat bereft of my mojo for the last 11 weeks. Having done nothing more than about 15 lazy miles as a long run recently, I knew that today I was going to struggle. The run yesterday, along with the 2.5 hour coaching session had left me aching in new places but a big dinner of veg from the garden and pasta allowed me to have a few carbs course through my veins!

At the start I met Dave Immune in the car park. Dave looks in fine form, as lithe as a ginger greyhound (he'll kill me for stating this!) and was in no mood to entertain my plans to bimble around and use as a "get the miles in" run. "my run will start with a 3 in it" said Immune......

At the start I bumped into Helen who i had run with for the whole of the SDW100. As the gun went off, Dave started at the front and I ran with Helen. Not having LSRs in my legs I bade farewell to Helly at about mile 3 and ran at a comfortable pace. Being the Pilgrims' there are lots of churches along the way. To the keen reader, this may not seem such a problem, but many of these vestibules of Christianity are in prominent places and often atop hills. The climb up to St Marys is nothing short of brutal, made worse since the last 3/4 of a mile is in sand......

St mary's was close to the half way point and I felt pretty good. Unusually, I didn't really strike up much more than a few words with fellow runners and neither did they. Most went about their business. "You done this before?" "No, me neither....beautiful though isn't it?" "Fucking sand!" was the level of dialogue.

There was a cruel little climb and switchback at St. Catherines ruins at about 16 miles, then back down and along the river (or maybe it was a canal!) where the scenery was stunning. At this point I realised that I had left my ibuprofen in the car and my lower leg near to the break last year started to give me a little niggle. I still felt mentally fresh and my legs were working well.

Hitting 20 with a cheeky 10k to go I had passed maybe 50 or so runners who had perhaps gone out too quick and were walking not the hills, but the flat parts. Usually I switch on the afterburners and head off at a hard pace and bang out the last 10k faster than the rest of the race. Upon reflection, back towards St Lawrence's, maybe a slight change in my gait and cadence developed into a touch of cramp or some sort of muscular niggle, coupled with my lack of long miles left me wanting at about 21 miles. I wanted to get home injury free so dropped my pace significantly and as such, from a sub 4, to a finish of 4.12. Slightly disappointed not to sub 4 but upon finishing meeting up with Dave who did 3.38 after doing 3.15 a few weeks ago, realised that perhaps this was a tough old beast.

It was a beautiful run and really well organised event and for £20 with a medal, T-shirt, loads of food, amazing marshalls and well stocked aid stations, organisers of ridiculously expensive events need to take note!

Marathon #30. Done.


  1. Well done UB & totally agree with your report - an excellent event. Sorry I missed you at the start - I didn`t see Helly either.

  2. Well done Rob, I know you said something to me about this last week but it went right over my head. Wow £20 maybe a look in for next year for me then

  3. The Ultrabobban Conspiracy Theorist:

    Several reports have been filed that Ultrabobban was spottted in the Penge Whetherspoons slurping a pint of Snakebite whilst this event was taking place.

    There is also an unconfirmed report of him queuing outside Lidl at 9:55am in his pyjamas which would mean he did not actually attend this event. We are seeking further clarification on this sighting.


  4. a nice gentel recovery run and some dynamic stretches this evening.....and relaxxxxxxx

  5. "vestibules of Christianity"?

    Have you been drinking?!

  6. Well done. Farnham is a really nice place to visit and travel. Its very easy to find the best taxis in farnham .