Abingdon and Beachy Head Marathons

Due to a last minute waiting list place for Abingdon, I'd managed to end up with entries for both the Abingdon Marathon and Beachy Head Marathon (only six days apart). I had decided to go for a PB at Abingdon and then just enjoy Beachy Head. As it turned out I had a much better race at Beachy Head.

The preparation...
The month leading up to these races I had what seemed to be an endless succession of colds and other illness. One week before Abingdon I managed my longest run of 13 miles. I knew I was very underprepared, and I was seriously considering dropping out of Abingdon during the week before the race. However, previous experience has taught me that sometimes it is possible to have a great race despite lack of training and illness, so I decided to give it a go.

Abingdon
An early start to drive to the race on a freezing cold morning. I decided to race in shorts and vest assuming it would warm up later during the race but it stayed cold and I never really warmed up. Five minutes before the start I turned on my watch to discover it was not working (I later found out it was a flat battery). Pacing was going to be a big problem with no watch, especially as I always start off too fast anyway. I set off near the front but had no idea how fast I was going. I should have guessed I was going too fast as I could still see the leaders just ahead after 5 or 6 miles. I was feeling good and decided to just keep pushing on. Finally as we passed the 10 mile marker, I asked another runner for a split and was told 1 hour 2 minutes - a 10 mile PB by almost 2 minutes! It was a bit late to worry about it so I just kept pushing. I got another split at half way of 1:22 (not far off a half marathon PB). Between 15 and 20 miles I inevitably started to slow significantly and the last 6 miles was very slow and painful. I got a split at 23 miles and knew I wouldn't make 3 hours so I started to think ahead to Beachy Head and backed off the pace a bit to finish in 3:04:47. I think with better pacing I would have got under 3 hours but if nothing else it made me confident of a half marathon PB later in the year.

Beachy Head
Six days later I started Beachy Head with no expectations at all. Legs still felt very tired as I stood in the rain at the start. Despite everyones advice about walking the first hill I just about managed to run from the start. I felt OK and during the first few miles I could see the leaders and counted about 15 runners ahead. On the flat my watch told me I was running 6:30 pace which was much quicker than I expected. The weather improved and it ended up being a beautiful day on a spectaular route through the Downs. I felt strong and consistent the whole way, running a perfect even split to finish in 11th place with a time of 03:29:46.

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RT @UKuncut: Cameron in Pakistan: "rich people there arn't paying much tax, that's not fair" http://bit.ly/f4BKUC #ukuncut
05/04/2011 12:44:10
#ff here's one for all the #triathlon fans out there. #thriathlete @todd_leckie who we hope will be competing at London 2012 #olympics
25/03/2011 09:45:29
Can't wait for my new specialized stumpjumper HT mountain bike to arrive next week.
20/10/2010 16:06:48
A new Challenge race in the UK mid September next year! Would it be too much to do this and IMUK next year? http://www.challengehenley.com/
21/09/2010 19:18:53
Thinking about main race targets for next year. How does this sound?... London marathon, Ironman UK and South Downs Way 100 mile (run).
16/08/2010 19:33:36

Hey, check out Mat's
personal best times...

5 km 00:17:49
5 miles 00:28:54
10 km 00:36:58
10 miles 01:03:28
half marathon 01:20:37
30 km 02:04:01
marathon 02:59:55
54 miles 08:50:55 (L2B)
100 km 11:35:53
100 miles 20:42:36
145 miles 42:06:00 (GUCR)
24 hours 181.1 km (track)

Olympic Tri 02:18:34
Half Ironman 05:04:21
Ironman Tri 10:49:39