Lancaster Castle Marathon

Not too long after the 10 in 10 finished, I found myself wanting to put all those miles to use and see what I could knock off my marathon PB. I entered Boddington but soon realised that I wouldn’t be able to make that, so entered Lancaster instead. As it happens, I also entered the Kent Roadrunner Marathon and got my PB there, but I was still looking forward to this one.

Malc and I

Pre-race info was a little scarce, but there were rumours about that this was going to be a tough one.. possibly a tougher course than Windermere. Just as well I did Kent then!

Friday night was Holly’s birthday sleepover – 6 8/9 yr old girls, plus our 6 yr old twins. Noisy doesn’t come close. I set off up to Lancaster on Sat afternoon, after jogging around the local Parkrun in the morning with my son Tom (6) for his first in 35:21. Race morning and I got to Lancaster Brewery by around 8:30 and soon met up with Malc, Gary and Sally and then Chris Heaton, Paul Dewar and Steve Edwards. Great to see some of my 10 in 10 pals and loads of 100 clubbers who tend to flock to new marathons! I was feeling pretty tired and yawning loads as we headed for the start line.

Off we went and yes, it was definitely hilly. A good big climb in the first mile or so and whilst I’m pretty good going uphill, a 7:52 here was probably harder work than I should have been doing so early on. Quicker miles followed and I was running with Malc, Gary & Steve for a while, with Sally not far ahead. From 9 miles to just past halfway were pretty much all gradually climbing and I was already suffering. I think the 11 mile first stage at the Ridgeway Relay (hills, 7m/m) the previous Sunday and the Forest Five (undulating, 6:17m/m) on Wednesday had taken more out of me than I had realised.

mahoosive hill (Littledale Fell)

Just after halfway, Malc declared that he was feeling good and decided to go for a negative split, and shot off ahead. Gary and Steve had already gone on and whilst I could see Sally ahead, she was a good way off and I was already suffering. My pace by then was down to 8:15 or so, and when we hit the big hill at mile 18 (which lasted a whole mile), I had to walk some of it. Going down the other side wasn’t much better – if anything it was steeper than it had been going up and whilst I ran it, it wasn’t at all comfortable. Not that it should be, I know, but.. well, it was harder on my legs than I really wanted with 7 miles still to go! A few not awful miles and then one last hill to climb from 24 to a little over 25 miles before the final mile and a bit downhill to the finish.

I got there in 3:37:38, feeling really quite done in. A good event though – well organised and marshalled, particularly for a new event. Plenty of water stations and well signed, and the weather wasn’t too awful.

A pleasant slouch on a big leather sofa followed whilst waiting for the prizegiving – Sally (2nd lady), Steve (1st MV45) and Brian Mills (1st M55) all got cash prizes – and then the looong drive home. Exhausting, but worth it :-)


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