The Eastbourne Track Marathon

So, it’s 6 days until the South Downs Way 100 and I’m finally getting round to writing about the Eastbourne Track Marathon.

Over the past 3 months we have familiarised ourselves pretty well with the second half of the 100 and getting lost is now hopefully an impossibility.

Just imagine if you managed to get lost in the 300 metres.  That would be a serious disaster.  They say ‘fail to prepare and prepare to fail’, so the Eastbourne Track Marathon proved to be the perfect chance to familiarise myself with the last 300 metres of the 100 by running around the track 105 and a half times.

There are so many things to love about a track marathon.  Your own personal aid station every 400m, the official aid station every 400m, the same supporters every 400m, the same piece of track every 400m, the same strong head wind every 400m.  In fact, the same everything every 400m.  105 and a half times.


We ran the first 2 laps to the Benny Hill theme tune, which was a nice touch.  From then on, the PA played us every song imaginable that could be associated with running around a track.  This could be potentially annoying, but any annoyance was soon forgotten as I ran the last 2 laps to one of my favourite songs ever – Stars of Track and Field by Belle and Sebastian.  A very obscure, but incredibly well timed distraction for the last 800m.

I had secretly planned to go for a PB.  I was feeling good and the track is flatter than anything ever.


It was all going well until about 30k and then the wheels fell off.  To be fair, wheels were falling off everywhere.  From those at the front of the field to the slower runners, people were really struggling.  A mixture of the heat, the tough back straight into the head wind and the total boredom of laps 80-106 were really getting to people.

Suffice to say that I didn’t make it.  It was my second best time ever, but I suppose it was expected having dome the Ox 50 the week before.

Anyway, nothing more to say really.  No countryside to talk about.

Everyone who likes the challenge of a marathon should try a track event.  They’re like nothing else and seriously put your head to the test.  Fingers crossed that the Sussex Trail Events manage to resurrect the Velothon in November.

Oh, and there’s a lovely medal as well.

Have fun.



13 The Hard Way and The East Farm Frolic

Another weekend of back to back races beckoned and something bad happened.

We had to say goodbye to Ernie.  He only came into our lives under a year ago.  We gave him food, warm shelter, a cushion and laps to sit and dribble on, regular brushes and all the love we could.  In return, he gave us love and lots of fun.

Making the decision that he was too ill to carry on was tough and having him peacefully die on my knee was equally as hard.

There’s a bit of a hole in our lives now.  Bye bye mate.


A weekend away was really what the doctor ordered.

We started with the inaugural 13 The Hard Way.  This is a trail half marathon organised by Sussex Trail Events (one of my 2 favourite race organisers) on our doorstep.


As you can see from the profile below, it’s pretty easy to guess where the name comes from.  This definitely rivals the 3 Forts Half for the crown of toughest half in the county.  104 metres of climb in the first kilometre.


After the first climb, it is up and down all the way to the 7km point along the wonderful South Downs Way.


Then it is downhill all the way to the turn around point, apart from a ‘little bump’ when you are almost at the turn around aid station.

The climb back out when you start to retrace your steps is brutal.  It is about 4km in total and really tough in the heat.

Even when you get back up on to the main wide area of the South Downs Way, you’re not out of the woods.  It’s still up and down all the way back to the steep final downhill section (which I walked).

As with all Sussex Trail Events races, this is welcoming, low key and a great way to spend the morning.  I know this part of the the SDW like the back of my hand, so nothing was a surprise.

I heard one lady saying that it was her first ever trail run.  She was either very brave or didn’t read the race description properly.

Burgess Hill Runners made up a considerable portion of the field, including a couple of first time half marathon runners.  It’s very impressive to take this one on for your first half marathon.



As soon as we finished, it was back home, quick shower and the surprisingly short drive over to Dorset for the 12 hour East Farm Frolic from White Star Running (the other of my favourite 2 race organisers), which was due to start at 8am the following day.

BHR had 5 teams of 4 plus a large amount of small people in tow.  We had a large group of campers and once set up, it was time to pop to the main race tent for some hydration.

The race was laps of 6km-ish and the idea was to do as many as you could in 12 hours as a team of 4, 3, 2 or as a solo runner.

The course was up and down, through some woods, over some fields, down some tracks, up some tracks and back to the start line.


With the usual sense of WSR fun, the baton was a squeaky rubber chicken, which had to be carried at all times.  And there was a chicken baton change over point.


I managed 6 laps, which was just over 37km.  Another lap would have made a marathon, but the exertions of the past few weeks, the beer from the night before and the temptation of clean clothes, a shower (the best portable shower in history), a beer and a chat got the better of me and I stopped.

I was lucky enough to do the last lap with Gary, one of the most improved runners in the club and a top chap.


The winner did 69 miles.  Amazing.  Almost as incredible is the medal.  Wow.

What summed up the weekend and really shows what White Star is all about was Monday morning and the Folic Chaos race.

We had never done a Chaos Race, as we have always left after the race.  The Chaos Race is a bit of fun for everyone over a short distance and any profits go to charity.  The proceeds of this race went to MNDA.  It is £6 to enter and the medal (yes, there’s a medal) was tremendous.

We gathered for a dance warm up, then we removed our shoes, put one in each of the large refuge sacks at the finish line and watched them disappear off up the hills where they were deposited on the floor in 2 different places.

The idea is that you run up the hill, find your shoes, run back down the hill and complete a 4km circuit, including a visit to the Love Station, before heading back to the start and collecting your lovely medal.


We walked a lot of it, nursing a bit of a hangover, and giving the kids a helping hand up the hills.  This was probably my favourite part of the weekend.  The kids got a chance to experience a race and an aid station and they got a great medal.


A huge thank you to Rob (at the Frolic) and Jon and John (at the Hard Half) for the great photos.  Thank you for Jay, Chris, Danny and Steve at STE and Andy & his team at WSR.  If Carling made weekends and all that.

Now for 3 weeks of taper before my biggest test so far, the Chiltern Wonderland 50.

Take care, Neil.





Bad Cow Marathon Weekend

So, the Bad Cow weekend arrived and we headed back to Holton Lee in Dorset, where we had run the Bad Cow Saturday marathon last year. We love Dorset, but we had agreed not to do the same event 2 years running.

We broke this promise for 2 reasons.  Firstly, it’s White Star.  We love White Star.  They’re cool, as are their races.  Secondly, with the Chiltern Wonderland 50 fast approaching, this seemed like a good last big training weekend with a marathon on Saturday and Sunday.

It’s 100 mile drive from Sussex, which took me 4 hours.  Lovely Friday rush hour.  When I got there, Nick and the rest of the Burgess Hill Runners campers were there along with Nick’s Dad and his wife.

My tent was already erect and all I had to do was to open a beer and get my vegan pizza from the on-site caterers (MYO – very good you know).


It was pretty cold on Friday night and we soon headed off to bed pretty early ready for an early start on Saturday.  I didn’t sleep well (surprise surprise).  6 foot 2” light sleeper inside pop up tent while the wind is blowing a gale and it’s chucking it down outside.  Recipe for 3 hours kip.

So, I got up.  The first person on the camp site to emerge from their shelter.  If only there were a prize for this.  I’d win at every race where we camp.  Breakfast was good.  The stomach wasn’t playing up (yet) and slowly but surely the camp site came to life (assisted by Andy, the race director driving round the field with music on full blast).


9am and it’s time to go.  The 2 marathons are on the same course, but are run in different directions on each day.   There is also a 10k race at 6pm on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday morning for those who don’t fancy taking on 26-ish miles.

The race is 8 laps of varied terrain and flora/trees and so on.  This is the flattest of the White Star events with only 2 sections that I would call hills.


There is always a sense of fun at WSR races, but I think that they outdid themselves this time.  There’s always fancy dress and there’s always an incredibly relaxed and jovial atmosphere.  The runners are always very friendly.  There is always a ‘Love Station’ as well, which is the feature aid station on WSR events.  For the Bad Cow Marathons you pass it 8 times and it was a joy.  It was ABBA themed.  Music playing all day.  There was singing, dancing and booze.  It really was quite amazing.  I don’t know how they kept it up all day.  They did also have a lovely selection of the usual aid station food and drink.

So, for my races.  I knew that I should have taken day 1 easy, but that would be too easy.  Something inside me was saying to go for a time.  So I did.  Well, a time for me, but it’s all relative.  These races are chip times, so you have accurate lap split times.  One day I decided to set off around 6 minute km pace.  This would give me my second quickest marathon ever and would batter my trail marathon record.  The splits are below (each lap is 5.3km).

Lap 1 – 31.17
Lap 2 – 30.55
Lap 3 – 30.56
Lap 4 – 30.22
Lap 5 – 31.07
Lap 6 – 33.10
Lap 7 – 38.33
Lap 8 – 38.57

I’m getting pretty good at running even splits, although I ran out of gas on the last 2 laps.  There was a lot more run/walking involved, but a finishing time of 4 hours 25 minutes and 7 seconds.  That’s my third quickest marathon ever and quickest trail marathon by a distance.


At the end of day 1, I must admit that I was pretty reticent about doing the same thing the next day (but in the opposite direction).  It turns out that there was nothing to fear.  In fact, day 2 was much more fun.  I ran with Nick and Philippe for the first 3 laps.  We took lots of photos and had a real laugh.









I set out at 5 hour 25 minute pace (an hour slower than the previous day seemed like a good arbitrary target).  My pacing on day 2 was spot on.

Lap 1 – 39.40
Lap 2 – 39.02
Lap 3 – 38.38
Lap 4 – 39.41
Lap 5 – 38.11
Lap 6 – 38.15
Lap 7 – 37.12
Lap 8 – 36.12

That’s 5 hours 6 minutes and 51 seconds.

Almost constant until the last 2 laps when I speeded up.  I felt strong and really loved day 2.  Very unexpected.



I fuelled on baby food, tomatoes, crisps and fruit.  I took a salt tablet every hour and used Zero electrolyte tablets in my drinks.

As far as confidence boosts for my second 50 miler go, this could not have been better.

So, what did I learn from this weekend:

  1. Pacing is king. Choose a pace that you feel you’re going to be comfortable at and keep to it.  Even if you’re feeling good at 10k, 15k or 20k, don’t speed up.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Literally.
  2. If you wear a head torch in bed and there is a moth in your tent, it will constantly fly into your head until you turn the torch off.
  3. Learn from the professionals. Having read about the meticulous preparation of the Team GB cycling squad and how they take their own pillows with them everywhere they go, to aid with better sleep, I decided to take my own pillows with me.  This was clearly a step up from rolling up my bulky clothing to fashion a pillow, which is what I did at Giant’s Head.
  4. Philippe is forgetting how to speak French.
  5. Get smaller bags to pack different types of things in, rather than putting everything in one big bag. This will make it easier to find things.  In conjunction with this, get everything ready the night before the race rather than rolling up, cracking open a beer and saying ‘I’ll do it in the morning’.
  6. The weather always sounds worse inside a tent than it actually is outside.
  7. Runners are brilliant. Volunteers, photographers, fellow runners.    Just amazing.  This community is the business.  It doesn’t matter how quick or slow you are.  Everyone cheers.  Everyone encourages you along.  Big hugs to you all.
  8. ABBA can make you happy. I know that the circumstances were slightly strange, but ABBA actually made me happy.  My only regret is that I didn’t get the chance to sing ‘Knowing Me Knowing You, Aha’ in an Alan Partridge style at the aid station.
  9. Hokas are sooooooooooooooooooo comfortable. I ran the first half of day 2 in my normal Adidas road shoe, but changed back to my Hokas for the last 3 laps.  My first ever pair and I love them.

So, that’s the Bad Cow by White Star running.  In a nut shell, great race, lovely place, wonderful people, amazing medals, free photos (yes free photos – free – yes free, and they’re really good.  A huge thank you to Rob Hannam for these) and the best aid station on the planet.  There is only one thing I’d suggest as an improvement for this event and that is the flavour of the crisps in the goods bag.  Would have loved veggie friendly crisps. You can tell that your £30-ish has been well spent when that’s how deep you have to scrape the barrel for something you’d like to change.

Thank you Andy, the Race Director.  Just amazing.  You set the standard.


Thank you all of the White Star crew, thank you to all of the volunteers, thank you to my wonderful fellow runners and finally, thank you to my Burgess Hill Runner friends for being in the best running club there is.

So, what’s next.  Oh yes, East Farm Frolic.  See you next week White Star people.

Take care, Neil.


The Endure 1250 – 50 mile race

The Endure 1250 was to be my first 50 mile race.  The furthest I had been before was 38 miles on the Downslink Ultra, so this was going to be a test and hopefully a stepping stone to something bigger next year.

The Ensure 1250 encompasses 3 different races, 50km, 50 miles and 12 hours. You can run solo or in teams as a relay.  Each lap is 5 miles, so my race was 10 laps.  Just to make life more difficult (as if it needed to be) the race started at 7pm, meaning that by the time I’d finish, I would have been over 24 hours without sleeping.

I’m not really that worried about races with many laps.  I did the Velothon last year, which is a 78 lap marathon and the Lemmings Marathon the year before, which is 106 laps of a 400 metre track.  Lapped events just pose a different challenge from point to point races.


My first impressions on arrival were very positive.  It was very relaxed, friendly and low key.  Registration took 2 minutes.  There were lots of people lazing around 2 hours before kick off.  There was the smell of bar b q in the air and it was almost like a mini festival rather than a race.

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I parked 20 yards from the start finish straight.  This was perfect.  I could have my own food, drink and other supplies within touching distance at the end of every lap.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

With 2 hours to kill, I prepared everything.  Food, change of clothes, music and first aid gear.  I learned from the London to Brighton race that you have to know where everything is in the dark, as it’s difficult and frustrating to try to find things mid-race.


So, we set off at just gone 7pm in bright sunshine and really warm temperatures.

I ran with my phone on the second lap to take photos of the course.  The first 1.5km are on grass.  It’s pretty rutted in places and there is also a camber in places.  It’s pretty pleasant and there was a flock of geese watching us.


There was then around 1km on a single lane tarmac road, which was slightly downhill. This was a pick me up on every lap.


After that you encountered the most difficult section.  2km of ruts across a couple of fields and along a section of the Thames river bank, which didn’t look too used to me.


You then run through Beale Park with its statues of animals before heading off road again and through a wooded area back to the finish line.


There are a few things to you need to be aware of if you’re doing this event for the first time.

Firstly. there is water and energy bars available out of the course and at the start/finish line. However, you don’t get the usual mini banquet that you get at Centurion or Sussex Trail Events races.  This isn’t an issue, as you can set up your own aid station on the start/finish straight.  However, it could be an issue if you turn up without food.  There is, however, a food area that you could buy items from if you wanted to leave the course to buy something.

Secondly, starting a race at that time of the day is tough.  By the time you’re 20 miles in, your body starts to tell you that it wants to go to sleep.  This makes concentrating on the rutted trail sections event more difficult.  I definitely underestimated how the lack of sleep would affect me.

Thirdly, if you’re scared of the dark, this may not be for you.  I am surprised by how I coped, but there were a few occasions when I was on the Thames bank when I thought that there was no-one in front of me and no-one behind, especially when the 50km race had finished around 4am.  Evidently it’s very safe, it’s just the stupid irrational fear of the dark.  Maybe I have beaten it now.  Woo hoo.

I was really pleased with my performance.  My lap times were as below:

Lap 1 – 51.45
Lap 2 – 54.45
Lap 3 – 56.26
Lap 4 – 59.00
Lap 5 – 1.02.40
Lap 6 – 1.11.09
Lap 7 – 1.09.39
Lap 8 – 1.13.46
Lap 9 – 1.12.35
Lap 10 – 1.13.17
Total time – 10.45.02

I had 3 plans.  Plan A – 10 hours.  Plan B – 11 hours.  Plan C – Get round.

So I got well under Plan B.  By the time I got to half way, it was evident that Plan A was not going to happen.  It was too hot and I underestimated how tough it would be to cover the rutted off road section only with the aid of a head torch.

I am over the moon with the times for laps 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.  There is hardly drop off in the lap times between laps 6 and 10 and the total distance covered was 25 miles.  I did the sensible thing and slowed down to meet the amended target of Plan B.

I made sure that I ate and drank sensibly.  I had at least a banana, a Nakd bar and a gel on each lap and used both Salamon water bottles with Zero tabs in.  There was never a hint that cramp was going to set in.

I wrote this on my hand and looked at it regularly.


It may seem a little silly, but I have been saying this to myself on recent races when the going has got tough and I proved to myself that I am strong, both mentally and physically. Without a doubt, I was boosted by the sun coming up on the last 2 laps.  I was still run/walking on the last laps and I was overtaking people (not that that’s that important).

A nice tip that I have learned from crewing on long races over the past 18 months is to change clothes and brush your teeth during the race.  I did this at half way and it was a real pick up.

I may have celebrated a little too much as a went over the line, but this meant a lot to me. I was so happy that I forgot to get my medal and had to go back to get it.


So, my verdict is a big positive for this event.  I would recommend it for sure and will probably go back next year and do the Endure 24 (the longer version of this one).  This event is £35 to enter and ticks most of the important boxes, including a lovely medal.

A huge thank you to the organisers and the volunteers, especially the marshals.  They were out there all night and it probably wasn’t huge amounts of fun at times.  They were always enthusiastic and encouraging (and dancing on occasions).  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So, the 50 has been done.   Thoughts have already turned to a 100 at some stage.  We will have to wait and see about that one.  I don’t think I’m physically capable in the current shape I’m in.  Things may change though……..


Giant’s Head Marathon 2016

I nearly failed to start the Giant’s Head Marathon for a couple of reasons, but I’m now sitting here on the sofa watching the cricket, eating the left off munchies from the weekend, reflecting on 2 days in the Dorset countryside.

The Giant’s Head Marathon was voted the best marathon in the UK in 2014 by Runners World magazine. Quite an accolade. This has got me thinking about what are the ingredients for a good marathon for me.

There are several reasons why we like an event and I am going to base my race report around the important factors for me.

The setting is a huge for me. I love being in the countryside. I will do very few town/city road races from now on. They’re dull, tend to be expensive and I’m not that bothered about setting records.

Giant’s Head is based in Sydling St. Nicholas. It’s in Dorset. It’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s a lovely little village with lots of flint cottages, old style stone walls, a stream running through it and it is surrounding by hills. It is very green. There is a village green and quaint little village hall.


The camp site is a field. That’s it. They have removed the cows and added some toilets. It’s simple and absolutely perfect for what we need. It is a 1 minute work to race HQ and the start/finish of the race.


It is a real skill to be able to create the right atmosphere at a race. I’m using up my weekend and taking holiday to run 26.2 miles, so it’s important that I feel relaxed and comfortable with my surroundings. Well, registration took 2 minutes. You don’t have to worry about turning up with driving license, passport, 15 utility bills and a note from your Mum to get your number.


They serve very nice home cooked food in the race HQ, prepared by the local WI and there is a beer tent outside serving lots of local booze. There is even a chap in the corner playing music on a tape deck.  ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ was playing when we walked in.  Nice and apt.


Everything is relaxed and runners are sitting around chatting over food and a few beers, before making their way back to the camp site for a crap night’s sleep (I have never heard so much snoring in my life).


This atmosphere is all down to Andy and his team. From his social media videos to the most relaxed (outwardly at least) attitude to race day and the dedication of the marshals and aid station volunteers, Andy and the WSR team nail this every time.


Running is our hobby and hobbies are supposed to be fun. I think that runners (and probably other amateur sportsmen) can often forget this. WSR don’t and Giant’s Head is proof of this. Shamelessly, there is a penis theme to everything. Race number, t-shirt, buff and the spinning willy medal. There isn’t some weird fetish thing going on. It is because the race passes the site of an ancient fertility symbol carved into the hillside, the 180 foot high figure of the world famous ‘Rude Man’, the Cerne Abbas Giant. So, keeping with the theme, the marshal at the check point at 10 miles made a huge penis, complete with hair (fake (I think)) for the runners to sign.


So, the course. Never, ever to go to WSR event expecting or hoping for a PB. That’s not the point. This is about testing yourself against something that is beyond a road marathon. Something that challenges you with hills and changes in terrain when you least expect or want them. There are 10 hills. At times, the incline is above 20%. This can also be said for some of the down hills.

Giants HeadThe terrain changes from road (not for long), to short grass, to long grass, to dry soil with flint in, to rutted fields, to paths of loose flint, to mud. Some of the climbs and descents are on a camber too, adding to the difficulty and the stress on the ankles. These sections require serious concentration to avoid any mishaps.

The countryside is beautiful. There is no other way to describe it. One of the great things about walking up the hills is that you get to look around and take in the sights.


When I go away for a race, I’m dipping into my pocket. For me, this is quite deep as well, given that 2 of us take part. I don’t like to feel like a race is taking the p*ss. At £33 for the entry for GH, I can’t think of many races that give you better value for money. First of all, the race is 27-ish miles. That’s 3.8% more distance for your money. The medal is a thing of beauty. There are no other medals like it.


The free technical t-shirt is well designed and high quality. You get a free buff. The aid stations are well stocked.


The facilities are excellent and the merchandise is all well priced and excellent quality.

I can never afford to buy photos after a race.  It just never happens.  The only ones I have are from the London Marathon.  If you’re in the same boat as me, WSR has the answer.  They have people out on the course taking photos.  They are volunteers and they are amazing.  The 2 photos below are from Jane Tearle, who picked the most fantastic spot to see us fighting up one of the hills.  Thank you so much to all of the photographers.


So, what more could I ask for? Well, perfect company from my wife, Philippe, Karen and Francesa. Lovely, chatty, happy fellow runners. Oh yes, cracking weather.

That’s it really. I now know why it won this award. I’m also really happy I didn’t stay at home nursing a grumbling stomach. A perfect way to spend 2 days in fields. 2 days that felt like a week (for all of the right reasons).

For me this was the second marathon in a week and was the last long run before the Endure 1250. Having been a doubtful starter through illness, I’m seriously impressed with my physical and mental effort. I ran all of the flat (there isn’t much) and the downhills and was still strong in the last 25% of the race, even though the hills continually sapped the legs. I’m getting the hang of fuelling and watering myself and the salt tablets seem to be making a real difference.

Can’t wait for the next WSR event and I have 4 to come for the rest of the year.

Thank you Andy and the team. See you soon.

Big love.


Velothon by Sussex Trail Events

The Velothon was the 2015 version of the track marathon organised by Sussex Trail Events.

I had done the Lemmings Track Marathon in 2014, so knew what lay ahead.  However, the Velothon had less laps.  Hurray.  Each lap was longer.  Boo.  Each lap of this 19th century cycling track was 579m, meaning the race was just over 72 laps.



Running a marathon is about preparation and this was the worst preparation that I have ever had for a race.  In fact, my participation was in some serious doubt in the lead up to race day.  Over the past month or so my anxiety levels have increased day by day.  I have regularly been skipping meals and taking more and more refuge in sleep, which becomes the safest place to be during these periods.  Getting out of bed each morning has been more and more difficult each day.  A corner seemed to be turned a couple of days before the race with a huge amount of help from Nick and a good few tears later I decided that I would give it a go.

So there were 4 of us Burgess Hill Runners at the race.  I was in very good company.  Philippe has completed so many marathons this year, he’s lost count.  Debbie was fresh from a cracking run at Beachy Head and Jamie is, well……..a machine.


In addition to this, the field of 30+ runners had many seasoned marathon runners, including several 100 Marathon Club members.  Well it is a bit of a crazy event and the weather was not looking good.

We gathered at Preston Park at around 8.20am to get ready and check out the course.  I really was not expecting the course to have such a climb on each lap.  The overall climb (and fall) for the whole race was 534m.  In addition, on 2 of the corners, there was quite a camber.  In my head I was thinking Olympic velodrome.  That would be too easy, wouldn’t it?

So, after a quick race brief (no need for a long one – just run round and round for a while) we were off.



One of my main mottos in my sport of choice is that I don’t really worry about what other people are doing.  It’s not about them, it’s about me.  Never is that more so than on a track marathon.  I think that the winner probably lapped me 20+ times.  If that troubles you, this probably isn’t the type of event for you.

So the mental and physical battle begins.  And as the event unfolds quite a few spectators come to watch.  This is a really welcome relief.  Some of the parkrunners from the event in Preston Park hung around to watch for a while and more and more Burgess Hill Runners kept appearing.  Amazing people.  It was wet, windy and the weekend and they gave up their time to give us a helping hand.  Amazing.  Especially being able to high five this young lady, who shouted my name lap after lap.


So what is there to say about the race.  Well, I wanted to do the first half in 2 hours.  Part of the prep for pacing for the Brighton Marathon.  Well, I got there in 1 hour 59 minutes and 15 seconds.  Mission accomplished.  It went downhill from there on.  A mixture of fatigue and the rubbish build up saw to that.  Also, the fact that I’m not ready for a 4 hour marathon yet.  All of my races this year have been off road and hilly and not about times, so this wasn’t a bad attempt.  I walked bit of the last 3 miles, but that’s not of any real importance at the moment.  This pace graph below sums it up really.


One of the big positives about a track marathon is that you get to visit the aid station and your own personalised drinks and food every lap, or every 579m in this case.


You also get the encouragement of the race organisers and the spectators each time you pass.  Hats off to the organisers.  It’s obviously easier to organise this event that is trail marathon, but it must be excruciating to watch the runners suffer lap by lap.  I look pretty miserable a lot of the time when I’ve got my race face on.  I can’t imagine what I must have looked like by the end.


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So the end came round and the last few laps were knocked off slowly.  There were only half a dozen runners left on the track when I finished, but it was great to cheer them in, especially this chap who is a constant source of inspiration (and sweaty hugs).

22433954038_f4fbf9dbdd_kSo that’s my running finished for this year.  8 marathons, lots of fun and hard work.  Lots of great countryside, many wonderful new people met and a huge sense of pride and achievement.

The running diary is almost full for next year.  I think that I will be spectating on the Sussex Trail Events races next year rather than running.  If you are thinking of doing any of their races you will not be disappointed.  I promise.

Now to carry out the Brighton Sub 4 plan and to work on getting properly healthy.

Take care and once again a huge thank you to Jon Lavis for these photos.