Saturday, 16 May 2015

White Peak Marathon 2015

Don't worry, this isn't going to be a blow-by-by account of every mile.......

...there's a saying among cyclists that "it never gets easier, you just get faster". Well, the opposite seems to apply to me and running - I never get faster, it just gets easier. Take today for example, this year's White Peak Marathon, run on the glorious Tissington and High Peak trails in Derbyshire, finishing at Cromford, near Matlock. If I say so myself, I did everything right - preparation, in-race drinking, eating, all spot-on. I even managed my first ever "negative split" (i.e. the second half is run faster than the first half), meaning my pacing was good too. And yet, I still only did it in 3 hours 25 mins.

Which is respectable, but not remarkable. Good, but not great, as Roy Walker used to say on the original Catchphrase. It was enough to have me finish 29th out of 166 today, again quite respectable across a bunch of reasonably good athletes. The thing is, I ran as hard as my little legs would let me as a couple of minor calf cramps in the last couple of miles reminded me. The other thing is, I feel brand new now. No blisters, no soreness, no mad hunger, no dehydration, no exhaustion; I genuinely feel like I could go and do it again tomorrow. Which is why I say I'm not getting faster, but it is getting easier.

Maybe the thing to do is not to try to go faster, but go further...hmmmm. I'm teasing, I've already entered my first ultramarathon. It's in September, and it's a relatively modest (for an ultra) 35 miles. That at least is further than 50km, the generally-accepted minimum distance for a true ultra. It's also damn hilly, as many ultras tend to be. The best thing about it is that it gives me a great excuse to spend some money on some new kit. More on that in due course.

Anyway, back to today's race, and in case any of the organisers get to see this, a word - or several - of thanks and praise. It's a brilliantly organised event; loads of friendly marshals, many water stations, well-marked route, and best of all, the goodie bag contains fruit and a commemorative mug, and none of the corporate PR pap you so often get. Combine all that with the route being exclusively offroad in the lovely Derbyshire Dales, kind weather like we had today, and a very reasonable entry fee, and the whole thing's a winner. But specifically thanks again to all the club volunteers at this at every other local, low key event, whether they're running, cycling, whatever; they don't have to turn out and marshal, but quite simply these events wouldn't happen without them. They're true stars.

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