28th Shakespeare Marathon – 26th April 2009

Pre-race conditioning
Pre-race conditioning

6.30 am Sunday morning my alarm clock woke me up to a glorious morning, the sun was shining, sky was blue and there was no sign of a breeze.This was going to be a good day for a Marathon.After my toasted tea cakes and pecan turn over I made way over to the start, held at the Stratford waterside a super lovely place beside the river Avon and was over looked by the Royal Shakespeare theatre.

Stratford
Stratford...

Arrrrrrrr… this is where I bumped into my nemesis and a couple of his green vested worshipers. We chatted for a bit before I bid them fair well, wished them luck and hoped it was the last I saw of them until after the finish line!

I took up my normal position, of course that was at the front I’m sure there is photo somewhere, I didn’t want to be battling my way through the 3400 runners now behind me!1200 of which were doing the full marathon which left the rest doing the half marathon.

Home of the bard
Home of the Bard

As we were crowed like cattle at the start we all beginning to feel the sun getting hotter and I could fell myself getting sweaty…nice!

With my timing chip tied in my laces, poised ready to go….. And we were off a lap of Stratford town centre was lined with spectators all cheering and clapping.
1st mile 6.30 as we flew into the country side, a bit too fast I thought, but I was being carried along by everyone else. Another 6.30 mile – not good I thought, so I slowed myself down and settled with a group who were doing just under 7min miles.

As we came to the first little village over an old bridge, huge willow trees lined the bank of the river Avon with thatched cottages dotted here and there, it was lovely! And I said this out loud, another runner beside me (male) asked if I meant the country side or pointing at the posterior of the petit women in front of us to which I could only reply of course and the country side I don’t think she was very impressed as she proceeded to pull away, but not for long as we hit a small bump/slope me and my new chuckling chum ran past her giving her something to look at!

A very comforting slight breeze had picked up and I think was appreciated by everyone as we got deeper into the country side.

Every two miles or so was a drink and sponge station with toilets. Three of the stations were giving out lucozade energy drinks.

Pretty flat so far seven and half and there’s a hill more like a long drag (bit like the start of mounts bay 10k) but once at the top wow I could see for miles, the country side was stunning only a short glimpse thou as the down was steep so I blasted that back down to the flat still keeping a good time I hit 10miles at 1hour12 right where I wanted to be-ish. We hit an old railway track very much like the camel trail only not as stony again high knees and I was keeping a good pace this track brought the runners back into Stratford for the second lap passing the race course. At the half marathon point I hit 1hour 35 but I could feel myself beginning to flounder a bit. By the time I got to the first bump for the second time I wasn’t feeling comfortable especially as a runner pushing a fricky pram and his daughter over took me, at lease he wasn’t wearing a womble outfit.

The next five miles were painfully slow hitting 20miles at 2hours35 was not pleasing as I was 15mins from where I wanted to be, to top that I could see a green vest approaching which made me push a little harder but he caught me at 21miles Richard Mayes from Hayle Runners he said to stick with him and I did for a mile, but I was creamed crackered and I slowed up again until I saw the 24mile marker something happened my plod picked up a bit as I ran past someone who’d collapsed but them seemed ok, next up I nearly got run over by a family of cyclists. I hurled abuse as I swerved them. I know that’s not good but my humour was failing. The end is not far now as I passed the race course again spectators were cheering and clapping which I needed, I was catching up Richard but he was just too far for me to catch up (he beat me by a painful 99 seconds Doh!), as I went over and then under the last bridge a female runner had caught me up and was on my shoulder.

As we ran along the river Avon past river boats packed with more cheering supporters with the finish in site I said to this bird are you ready for a sprint finish, no she said so I opened up just in case and crossed the finish line in a time of 3.22.59 a new P.B for me whoooo! I came 112 out of 864 in the end!

A couple of minutes later the great man himself Mr Tonkin crossed the line, whoooo I’d beaten him!

A thumbs up from me for the Shakespeare marathon a great day with perfect weather loads of supporters all cheering with loads of water stops and marshals all giving clear instructions!

Oh Yea! I’ve found another Marathon for next year in September 2010 the Robin Hood Marathon! Let me know if your interested!

Sam P

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