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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

High Weald Smugglers Marathon - Race report

For the 2nd time in as many weeks I bumped into George Fairbrother at the start, again with Michael. George had run Ranscombe the day before so I was mighty impressed at his BIG weekend. A small field had turned out for what is well known as a technical and often tough marathon. True to form, in the first mile, after the lead 3 had gone off the front like a bunch of Nagasaki Greyhounds, the next group of runners, including George's Orpington Roadrunners mate Dave.

I like to be on the directions as soon as I can on these self-navigate LDWA events. Readers will know that I have succumbed to others' mistakes at these events and ended up in a pickle. So, henceforth Dave and I, joined by a chap from Folkstone were on the money with the directions, with me calling the shots....absolutely the way I like it. 

Anyone who knows the Weald will know that it is not flat. It is deceptively hilly. Not big like the 850 footers of the SDW or the 750 footers of the NDW, but the perpetual undulations that resulted in nearly 3000ft did mount up. The countryside was awesome, the weather warm. I opted to travel light with just a bottle and no belt or bag. Dave (of 260+ marathons) got a good clip on, forgetting about the runners in front and had a good chit-chat and bimbled along. There was only one point where we had to back track, check, double check and make sure we were going the right way. Other than that, we hardly put a foot wrong in the gorgeous Kent countryside. 

Everything was going well until 24 miles in. Checkpoints that were well stocked and very friendly came and went.....then down the hill blasted Robert Cameron-Wood. Robert was in 2nd place and then got lost. We must have overtaken him in that time. We had a little chit chat and then continued to run. Dave et al had been tiring over the last 4-5 miles and so I decided I would aim to keep up with Robert. We blasted the last 3.8 miles together, knowing that we were in 2nd place. I found it very hard to keep up but just managed to hang on on the steep uphills, catching up on the flat. We crossed the prizes for the time.....5 hrs 38, but a nice cuppa at the finish line and the usual LDWA certificate. A podium is a podium!!!! Yesssssssss!

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