“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Despite being on the David Oldfield marathon plan of self destruction I entered the East Hell, sorry Hull 20 mile race at the last minute. My first ever 20 mile race and in this case my marathon tester run. Not sure how to run it, whether full out racing or a 6.30 min mile marathon pace exercise, I eventually settled on the plan to go out at 6.30-6.40 and increase pace from 15mile onwards if able. The marathon plan had still been (purposely) quite intense with fast sessions Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday so starting the race a little tired. I was also trying out the SIS fuel belt I will be wearing in the Blackpool and white peak marathons. I loaded this with 2 gels and a pack of shotbloks jelly sweets but wanted to do the 20miles without using any of these if possible.
After a long journey starting at 7am with David ranting regularly at the amount of red lights we hit we arrived in Hell, sorry Hull, and collected our numbers, stripped into our running finest of SRC vests and shorts, warmed up and stood at the side of a very busy road that was about to become the start line. Traffic temporary stopped and we started to assemble in the road. Without even time for Will (Beachamp) to get into his traditional squat down position we were sent on our way.
A quick look at the Garmin made me realise I was already going faster than the planned pace.
“Calm down Gareth, still 19.95miles of this”
20sec later, another look and I am still going to fast. Tried to slow down but a 5.59 1st mile could be suicide in the marathon in 4 weeks time.
I managed to slow down after that initial burst and miles 2 & 3 were both done in 6.30 & 6.30. There was quite a few of us running marathon pace efforts so there was quite a bit of chatting going on.
At a little bit before 4miles we got to the first water station, I grabbed a bottle, took a few sips and a a left turn went to hand the bottle to a marshal rather than just dump and run. I hit a patch of mud and went skidding. I now looked like I was x-country running not road racing. Mile 4 6.42. Still on plan but I wasn’t happy about slowing down.
Miles 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 were all on winding country roads into and thru the village of Swine (chuckle) and due to the slightly rolling/undulating terrain were all a little up and down. 6.35,6.33, 6.47, 6.27, 6.34 min miles. With the exception of mile 7 I was still on plan.
At about 9.8miles we turned left again and can only describe what happened was stepping into a very long wind tunnel. Thought to myself just keep the same effort level and get thru it best as you can, mile 10 ran in 6.20. A little too fast but there was a few people now with me that were actually racing.
Mile 11m I was climbing a slight incline and I could see David Oldfields car at the top. “I better make it look like I’m trying” so put in a little more effort, guess what? It wasn’t his car. Same colour but completely different make of car. 6.37min
We now into an housing estate and along roads with a little more traffic and parked cars. Pre race instructions had been stay left or face DQ. A little hard with all the left side full. Mile 12 6.24. I’m now feeling good and flying. Back thru the underpass and mile 13 was up. 6.33.
It was around 14miles or just before I could feel my calfs feeling tight. I could also hear the 1st lady grunting behind as she was at almost full effort racing. I kept my pace/effort steady as this wasn’t my race. Mile 14 6.41min. OK but get ready to start winding up the pace at mile 15.
I passed mile 15 with a little slow 6.44min mile. Again ok but get ready to start winding the pace up I thought. Problem was the weeks fast running was now catching up, coupled with the hot sun (in March?) I was feeling definitely fatigued. I went thru 16 in 6.34 then mile 17 in then 6.43.
I was suffering, grabbed a bottle of water at the water station and practically drained it. Rehydrated but now feeling the shivers suggesting I was in need of something. I was determined to get through without having a gel so just after I went thru mile 18 (6.50min) I caved and had a shotblok. This seemed to lift me and so did the 1st lady(different one to before) going past.
With new energy and purpose I hung on to her as we slowly started to catch a few in front. At 19miles we came to a gate that needed weaving thru or jumping over a foot high pole. Now 1ft doesn’t sound high but after 19miles it may as well be 6ft high, mile 19 6.35min
We were now in a residential area and I knew that the finish was quickly approaching. I also knew we were approaching the only thing you could call a hill which was a short steep section about 30mtr long. I powered up it as best as best as I could. David and Will were here and shouted to take the 1st lady, I quickly did this and could see the finish in the distance. My watch bleeped for mile 20 well before the line. 6.30min and I pushed for the last 439ft at 5.59min pace.
Finishing time was a respectable 2:11:42s (6.34ave) and I finished in 27th/420 finishers.
More importantly with Will (22) in 1st and Jason Chow (51) in 31st we bagged 1st make team and £20 of running vouchers each.
Ben Mahoney (233) also ran well a little after Jason. We all look good for our marathons in a few weeks time on fresh tapered legs.
Brian rose (311) had an off day and will I am sure come back stronger for it
Rob Jones (208) did exceptional too grit it out after his injury woes in last month or two.
#SRCworlddomination is still go.
Please dont forget to donate to the Huntington disease association via my justgiving page and have a guess at my marathon times.
Anyway Bye For Now
“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”