Yorkshire Marathon Race Report
All in for 2:24.
That was the plan. No taking it easy, no negative split. No comfy first 4 miles to ease into it. I wanted to arrive at that finish line completely empty, win or lose, on target or not, the only thing that mattered was completely burying myself trying to go under the time that I had chosen.
It’s weird how we set ourselves time boundaries. Sub 4, sub 3, sub 2:30.
We are obsessed by breaking these imaginary lines. So there I was a week after the first man to break 2 hours and the first woman to break 2:15 with my own target to hit, but this wasn’t the test controlled Vienna park or the pancake flat, super fast , pacemaker led streets of Berlin, this was the rolling countryside of Yorkshire on a cold October morning, northerly wind blowing to boot.
The line up was pretty decent, I knew most of the fast lads either in person or by reputation, with the exception of the winner who was making his marathon debut and there was guaranteed to be fast running.
Good honest racing with men that weren’t afraid to suffer. Awesome! who can take the most pain? That’s what the last 10k of a marathon basically is, a pain threshold contest after a 20 mile hard run.
The only strategy I had was to run as hard as I could for 2 hours and 24 minutes, which coincidentally happened to be 5 seconds short of a full marathon. I’ve got all the excuses for those 5 seconds, the two turnaround points, the merger with the tail end of the 10 mile race, the hills, the wind , blah blah blah..
Never mind, there’s always another day.
When the race started I ran fast, downhill first mile, easing up , 5:19 my watch beeps, good, no fucking about today, let’s have it!
Sat in a group of 6-8 guys. A few familiar faces and names. Quality runners, this is my group, the leader has bolted, 100 yards down the road already, 2 or 3 strung along chasing him then my group.
I’m leading the group , running fast , not easing up , through 5 miles in 27 minutes, 10k in 33:40.
Time to settle down. No one wants to settle down so we keep on charging.
10 miles in 54:30 something, not far off pb times for 10k and 10 miles. Last time I ran like this was London 2017 and I crashed to a big pb that day . Today was different though because I was meant to run like this.
Having checked previous winners times and the course profile I knew a negative split was wasting time. This course needed to be attacked for the first half and ground out in the second half.
Two men broke away before half way, I half was tempted but operating at more or less capacity decided to sit. We passed half way in 1:11:40, a half marathon pb for me.
This was good, this is how it’s meant to be.
Into the dog miles now :- 14 to 19, zoned out, concentrate on knee lift, taking a gel every half hour. The rolling countryside near Stamford Bridge, we had dropped most of the group and overhauled one of the early breakaway runners. 5th,6th and 7th. A group of three now, last years winner and 2:16 marathon runner, G.B international Paul Martelletti, Hull marathon champion from early in the autumn Gareth Cook , who has shared a few battles with me over the last few years, and me.
Rounding the second turnaround Marders gets dropped, not quite how I had visualised it in the final sprint for victory but nonetheless he was gone.
Finally some shelter as we drop down into mile 20, 1:49 something, it was still on! Just a sub 35 last 10k and it’s done. I couldn’t believe it was still achievable after the last 3-4 miles of wind and hills. Gareth had opened a gap on me, I closed once, half a mile later another gap.
We hit the merger point of the 10 mile race with about 4 miles to run. Lots of encouraging shouts but suddenly the narrow streets were congested and the racing line lost.
One of the early chargers had blown and was overhauled.
5th place now.
2 miles to go and I needed to run 5:45s back to back, no problems, even completely knackered I can do that! 5:43 for mile 25, excellent, holy shit the final hill!
Not big or steep but just enough to drag me back, 5:55 for mile 26, a 400 meter sprint for the line just over 100 meters out and 2:24:45 on the clock, this is gonna be close…..
Not close enough.
Covered the last quarter mile in 72 seconds, needed to be 67.
Must try harder.
Not all bad , won my age group in the England vs Celtic Nations masters race and 2nd overall in the English masters team, 5 seconds behind the first place master who finished 3rd overall and just 2 seconds behind 4th placed Gareth who was probably more gutted than I not to break the imaginary barrier.
Done and dusted, what a training block! Unbelievable, never worked so hard , had 100% faith in the program that Andy devised, even though it looked ridiculous and most of the first half workouts were done solo.
Thanks to Sarah for being chilled when all my free time revolved around training, racing and recovery.
Thanks to Andy for the plan and the miles on the bike down the rail track, thanks to the Wednesday lads for doing the workouts with me, pushing and pulling me to achieve my ambitions.
Roll on Manchester.
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