Last Sunday was the first ever marathon in York. It was organised by the same people who do the mass 10k races throughout Yorkshire, so I was confident that they knew how to put on a good event. It started at the University of York and travelled into the city centre, past the Minster, and then going east into the countryside surrounding the city, as far as the famous battleground of Stamford Bridge, before returning to the University. The route was pretty flat, and the only significant hill was at mile 25 and a half. Thanks a bunch University builders!
It was also my first marathon, so I had no idea what to expect during the race. I made sure I got a lot of carbs in the night before and didn’t eat too much on the morning. Before the race started Wendy and I met up with the running club. She was planning to go to various cheer points and watch. After the obligatory team photo we got in our pens at the University of York and soon got underway.
My goals were to finish, then to finish under four hours. My dream was 3:50. I had worked out paces per kilometer, but I had forgotten them, so the Garmin wasn’t that much help for race pacing. However, there were pacers running with big flags on, and after five miles or so I caught the 3:56 pacer, so my goal from then on was to not fall behind him!
I made sure that I took water and lucozade at all the places offering it, and I had three gels throughout the race. I didn’t have any trouble with blowing up or hitting the wall. Maybe I wasn’t running fast enough for that to be a factor, although I did pass a few people who looked like they were in a bad way.
I felt really good at about a 5:30 min/km pace until about 19 miles. Then my right foot started to feel a bit sore. I worked out that it was bcause I had stuck to the left of the road for the race, and the camber had been twisting my foot. Moving to the other side sorted that out.
I was also really happy that it was a local race, as loads of my friends and their families came out to cheer me on, as well as random strangers giving high fives and shouting my name. Wendy managed to get to three places round the route, but couldn’t get near the finish line unfortunately. It was pretty cool that I didn’t know where she would pop up next; it added a bit of interest scanning the spectators as I went past.
I really started counting down the miles at mile 23. It was pretty hard going at that point. Then I heard “Eye of the Tiger” on a PA, and got a new lease of life! Going up the final hill wasn’t too bad, as the crowd was really screaming at that point and all pain was forgotten.
I finished in 3:49:13. I am pretty pleased with that as a first marathon. It’s also two years almost to the day since I started the Couch 2 5k as a 129kg (285lb) obese guy, so that was another nice anniversary.