Monday, February 26, 2007

Endurance Life Coastal Marathon

Friday afternoon saw Martin and I travelling down to South Devon through torrential rain in preparation for the Coastal Marathon at Beesands on Saturday morning. First problem encountered was when we arrived at the camp site we had booked near Kingsbridge, only to be turned away because it was waterlogged and one camper van had already become well and truly stuck! Fortunately we managed to find an alternative site fairly close by before heading into Kingsbridge for some serious carbo loading.

A sleepless night later (lying awake listening to the rain hammering down on the roof of the van) saw us up at 6.30 in order to get to the start in good time. We had to collect our "dibbers" - a trial method of time recording. These were small tags worn on a wrist strap which had to be "dibbed" at the various check points along the way. A fairly short pre race briefing then saw the race start at 9am sharp, with around 140 competitors starting.

Almost immediately we began to climb as the first 10 miles followed the coast path, east, towards Salcombe estuary. It was a mixture of very slippery mud and very slippery rock, but at least there was consistency on the gradient - it was either steeply up or steeply down! At one point I thought we had abandoned the race and taken up rock climbing instead. It was a stunning route, but not much attention could be given to the views as one step further south could have resulted in a one way plunge down the cliffs, and the sea did look very cold.

Once we reached the estuary and turned inland (not forgetting to dib our dibbers at the first check point!!) the going became slightly easier, but no less hilly as we followed quiet country lanes, very muddy bridle paths and fields. We picked the pace up a bit here and managed some fairly decent split times - especially once we rejoined the half marathon route (which had started an hour later than us) and had some other runners to pick off. Martin got a bit carried away and really started to push the pace for a while, with me struggling along behind hoping he'd soon run out of steam.

There were no marshalls on the course and we had a few anxious moments when we hadn't seen arrows or tape for a while and were worried that we had strayed off course. Also after 14 miles, when we had caught and overtaken about 6 runners who had been ahead of us, we had no-one in sight to follow.

Eventually the course wound it's way back down to the coast and turned east once more back towards Beesands. There now lay ahead a unique stretch of flat running on easy terrain, but we were too tired to appreciate it by this point and we were running directly into a strong headwind. With almost 26 miles on the GPS we thought we had nearly finished, but then discovered to our horror that the village we were approching was not Beesands butTorpoint! And worse, that there was no way around the cliff ahead of us which meant another stiff climb and descent before another long stretch into the wind and the eventual finish, which was logged at 27.7 miles!

We finished in 4.21.58, well within our 4.45 target, and in 9th and 10th places overall out of 133 finishers. The winner had finished in 3.58, which gives some indication of how hard the event was. Following on from the 4 Trigs last weekend, it's definitely the toughest challenge we've faced so far, either pre or post broken hip, so were understandably on a huge high.

We took advantage of the free post race refreshments, excellent vegetarian chilli, very spicy, just what we needed to warm us up, and stayed for the presentation, where I should have picked up a bottle of Champagne for being 3rd lady, but their supplies had not been delivered so instead I got a very fetching neck strap presumably for hanging your key on whilst running, although we're not entirely sure about that.

I apologise for the long winded report, but it was a long race, so to cut a long story short, IT WAS GREAT!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New Broom Sweeps Clean (The barrel's empty let's find a cheap replacement)

Pub Run February 21st 7.00pm

The first event for 2007 has been arranged and you guessed, it starts and finishes at a pub.
A pub run has been arranged for the 21st of February 7.00pm out side the Fox & Hounds Cattistock (I wonder where the new chair lives?)
It will be a mainly off road route of between 4 & 5 miles, please make sure you have a change of shoes, no make that a change of every thing as you will get muddy. Washing facilities are available in the form of the wishing well in the church yard, if you are brave enough to go there in the dark. Food can be ordered be for we start for those that plan to eat after. There will also be the option for those who can’t make it to eight with out a drink, to shorten the route back to the pub.