Robin Hood Marathon Nottingham: (Sunday 25th September)
I chose to do this marathon after hearing good things about it from other runners and having it on my list decided to do it this year after not getting a Ballot place for Berlin which was on the same day.
I had been putting in the training since getting back off my holiday at the beginning of July and as this was to be my 5th Marathon felt like my ‘Marathon Training Planning’ was improving too with a good number of long runs planned, a couple done with Kirsty and Linda as part of their Hull Marathon Training. Gary also joined me for a few sections of my long runs, proving his fitness/stamina had improved well – in fact once he’d seen how good the Medal was he was keen to sign up for the Half Marathon also taking place at the same time.
I think an added bonus to doing a Marathon is that you are getting to go to a city that you may not have visited before so can make a weekend out of it and see somewhere new. So I always book a hotel for the night before, if it is far enough away.
We set off on Saturday with the intention of checking into the hotel/checking out the start area and parking situation for the Sunday/and checking out Nottingham for a few hours…… before an early tea and early night. Which all went well.
As there were 10,000 people doing the Half Marathon and 2,000 doing the full we were a bit apprehensive of not getting a parking spot in one of the nominated car parks that we had checked out close to the start, so set off with extra time – we needn’t have worried as the parking was fine and had plenty of time to get to the start with time for Toilets/Changing etc. The race village was really well set up and organised on Victoria Embankment adjoining the River Trent, with Male/Female Changing, well organised Baggage Tent, Food stalls, Sports Stalls etc.
We made our way into the Start pens, and I pushed myself forward to be around the 3.30 Pacer (unfortunately leaving Gary behind in the process), not that I would keep up with the pacer but wanted to place myself around the right part of the crowd for the time I was hoping for….
The Gun went off and it only took around 1 ½ mins to get over the Start line and I soon had Guy Gibson and James Pearson catching me up for a ‘brief chat’ before letting them leave me behind. I knew I had to be really disciplined with my pacing after spoiling myself at London and burning out! I had to remind myself of this even more as so many of the people around me were doing The Half and would be ‘Pushing’ for a good Half time, fortunately the first Half off-set this for me as it was Hilly/undulating for at least the first 10 miles!
The route initially went through the town and up to and through the University, taking us up to and through Woolaton Park (similar to running through Burton Constable), after which you looped back towards the start (at which point I saw Gary once, and waved to Guy and James as we doubled back on each other).
Once runners started to approach the embankment/Start the path was split into 2 for Half Marathoners to steal their glory at the finish line, and for those that had signed up for ‘double the fun’ (Marathon Runners) to be diverted back off down the river-side in the opposite direction to take in another 13.1 miles of Nottingham’s beauty spots! I thought I would find the ‘Split’ demoralising….being so close to the actual finish, but I kept a positive mind and told myself I was half way and now had the other half to do.
It was at this point that I allowed myself to increase my pace, as planned and by around mile 14 caught up to Guy as we were about to go through Colwick Country Park which was on Gravel Path, going through little wooded areas, and circling a lake, during this time I was gradually gaining on James and caught up to him for a brief exchange, (and managed to gain a front position for a few miles!) – taking us to Holme-Pierrepoint (a water centre) which was mostly run on Grass.
From this the route eventually took us back to the finish, along the opposite side of the river and looping back round. Unfortunately for at least the last 6 miles we had head wind and as much as I felt like I was continuing to ‘push’ my watch was telling me otherwise and my hoped for pace failed to hold to the finish, but I felt good all the way round and didn’t struggle to keep running in the final miles which told me I had done something right.
A nice surprise was that having finished his Half sometime earlier Gary was at the 22 mile area to cheer us on and take photos, after which James managed to pass me around the 23 ½ mile mark with a few last words of encouragement (amazing as he had also run a marathon only the day before) – and I dug in to the finish.
I finished in a time 3.37.14 just slightly under my London time of 3.37.27 but I ran it a lot better than London and was a more difficult/mixed route, so still happy with the outcome. Gary did a brilliant time of 1.46.14 for his 2nd Half Marathon, shows how much he’s improved since running with the club and taking it more seriously. All EHH Runner times shown below.
All in all it was a great day, interesting route/well supported/organised, and a good Medal and not bad Goody Bag at the finish (3 choc bars/bottle of Water/Lucozade sport etc). Plus we even had a lady coming round offering homemade cake – can’t say I’ve had that before!
I would definitely recommend it either as a challenging Half or the full Marathon, even though I have a number of Marathons on my ‘list to do’ I would do this one again (once I have exhausted others that are around this time), as I enjoyed it so much.