26 miles, 106 laps of a 400 metre track. That’s the Lemmings Marathon in a nut shell.
Rubbish idea, don’t you think? It’ll be as dull as dishwater.
Well that’s where you’re wrong.
As runners, we’re always out for a new challenge and that’s exactly what the Lemmings marathon is.
Mentally it’s very tough. Apart from the fact that the scenery is repeated over and over again, I found counting down from 106 to be draining. I measure my runs in kilometres, but mentally counting down from 106 seemed much more daunting than 42 kilometres.
Apart from the usual strains that a marathon puts on the body, this one uses the same muscles all of the time. As there are no hills, there is no respite of going up or downhill.
That’s what makes this so tough.
There are many things that make this event as good as it is.
First of all, the majority of the runners are in the same boat as you. They have never done a track marathon before and are doing this out of curiosity. I did look up a few times at the start and think that it must have looked a bit crazy if you didn’t know what was going on.
There is more of a chance of mixing with fellow runners, as you pass and are passed on so many occasions. You actually get the chance to share the event with the front runners, as they are never more than 100m or so away from you.
You are also never more than 400m of running away from the aid station or your kit bag. In true Sussex Trail Events style, the aid station was stocked with the usual goodies.
The Sussex Trail Events team also came up with a fantastic idea for the end of the race. As the runners approached the start of the last lap, they sounded a cow bell and the runner finishing turned around and ran the last lap in the opposite direction. Not only did this give the runners the chance to say well done, it seemed like a huge boost for those still out on the course.
For the spectators and the organisers, it was also a pretty unique experience. You only usually see the runners at the start, the end and maybe at one stage during the marathon. Seeing the runners every 400m throws up its own challenges. You need to work out when people need encouragement and when they really don’t want to hear from you. You also get to see them going through the bad patches which are normally hidden from view out on the course.
So, if you’re looking for a challenge this really is something that you should look at when it makes a re-appearance in 2015. Ideas have been floated for a 6 or 12 hour challenge. Whatever it is, I will certainly give it serious consideration.
Thank you to the supporters, the runners that I met and the organisers for all of the support and encouragement.
Perfect timing in the Downslink training cycle and this has certainly given me the confidence that I can achieve that goal.
Enjoy yourselves. Neil.