Abingdon – 20 October 2013
Why, oh why, did I enter this event? Oh yes, it was because of the PB potential (currently 4:45). So in January or whenever the applications were opened, I thought I’d better go for it, despite the 5hr cut-off.. It ticked off Oxfordshire as well, so that’s a bonus. So straight after booking it I went through my 6months of PF injury and a long spell of slow hilly marathons. Going into this event, I had only one sub-5hr for the whole year –from January! However, my most recent event, Birmingham Canal Canter was 5:42, so obviously my recovery was on track for my “A” event. Ok, so the run itself: It’s a very flat course. Well marshalled and signed. No obstacles other than curbs. Regular water stations at 3 mile intervals, and two lucozade stations. Water in cups, so I walked a few steps to drink. Most participants are club runners, out for a PB. So the back-of-pack runners are spread quite thin, not a run for socialising.. After the first 5 miles comes a 9 mile loop which gets repeated, so you can get lapped by the very quick front-runners. The views are between dull and grim. Didcote power station is a highlight. You also get to pass 200yds of the Thames which is a bit pretty. For about 2minutes…but 20 minutes of industrial estates, twice ….The day of the event was between dull and grim. Torrential rain as I pulled into the car park which is a mile and a half from the start. Waited 15minutes for it to die down to heavy drizzle, before the long walk. Fortunately it stopped for the marathon. 10 minutes of light rain half-way round, then torrential rain after the finish, to walk back one and a half miles to the car. It was fairly warm for October at 18°C, windy in places, but mostly sheltered. Underfoot, the going was fine, being tarmac, with surprisingly few puddles to avoid. The finish is tough. You get almost back to the park, thinking you’re at the end, then you see the 25 mile marker, and have to run around the park and then around an athletics track.
Overall, a well run event for quick club runners out for a PB. Not a fun run, or for pleasure seekers. Not one I will repeat.
My time: A cut-off dicing 4:57:45, beating the time limit by less than 1%. In the end, they listed times up to 5:17. Interesting, one guy was DQ’d for wearing headphones. Quite clearly stated in rules, before application. Good to see this rule being enforced, since there are road crossings and sections on the road with traffic.
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