Marathon #10 took me to the Bedford Autodrome for another Running Grand Prix with the Running Through team.
This was the last of my ‘quick’ marathons this year, and I came into it feeling fit after a good showing at the Isle of Wight Marathon 3 weeks before. I was hopeful that I could dip under the 4 hour mark for one last time this year.
So that was the game plan. I’d scripted in my head how my splits would look up to halfway and beyond. If I could do that, it would then be about holding it together in the back half to get home in 3 something.
I’d stayed overnight with friends, so an hour’s drive in the morning, and was grateful that the clocks had gone back an hour. Conditions looked good with bright sunshine, but a chilly fresh start at about 4 degrees.
The format consists of a marathon, 20 mile, half marathon, 10k and 5k. The runs all set off at different times and are filtered into the main course in a way that it does not cause too much congestion. Good for the marathon, as the 150 entrants get the course to ourselves, then are gradually joined by more runners around the 3 mile circuit. Then it gets quieter towards the end.
My hopes of a 4 hour run got a boost when I bumped into Craig. He is running his own marathon challenge this year and I’d run with him in January and briefly at the New Forest, I knew the pacing would be good if I could stick with Craig.
Off we went, and we ran miles at around 8:15, 8:20, 8:30 throughout the first half, taking us through halfway at 1:51. About the same as when I ran my PB on the track in March, so a swift start.
I bid farewell to Craig as I stopped at my bag for drinks and to reload on gels. I also popped my headphones in and set about tackling the back half. Felt about as good as can be expected, and managed to maintain a decent pace. It wasn’t until mile 21 that the pace crept over 9 minutes for any mile.
At this point I knew I was well on pace for not just sub 4, but maybe a PB (3:56) if I could hold it all together. The last few miles were tough as always, but managed to keep plugging away and they were all in the 9s.
Got home in 3:52:17, so a 4 minute PB, very chuffed and a bit surprised with that. A great event, and a day when things just seemed to click for me.
10 marathons done, one each in November and December and it will all be over!