Seven down, thirteen to go !
Walking, talking, cake, cows, a big hill and a lovely fry up …. oh yeah and a bit of running too.
Knee strapped up again and feeling better with just nine toenails, I made the short walk from Marine Court on an initially chilly morning with some friends from BCRC, Natalie and Phil to Littlehampton Marina, the starting and finishing point of The Arun River Marathon.
Phil was carrying out the all important support role today, as Natalie and I collected our Bibs from race HQ. We soon met up with Gary, another friend running who I’d previously met during a previous stay at Marine Court.
Following a race briefing advising us not to get lost (!), we set off with approximately 150 other runners heading north along the River Arun towards Arundel. With a few gates and stiles and narrow footpaths to navigate, the ensuing bottlenecks helped set the pace for mine and Natalie’s run. After a few miles Gary soon left us and our chatter behind !
Arriving in Arundel we made our way on to the short road section of the course through the town, enthusiastically cheered on by Gary’s family and with the castle providing a stunning backdrop.
Whilst the terrain was quite uneven under foot, it was probably more sympathetic to the knee and it was good to enjoy the scenery and the company. We talked pretty much all the way round, only interrupted by the odd cake from the aid stations, photo opportunities and surprised bovine spectators blocking our path !
The course was pretty flat up until around 10 miles where me met a big hill which didn’t really do much to interrupt our chatter either ! It did go on for a few miles, but the views as we made our way up on to the South Downs certainly made up for the climb. It was nice to be greeted by the lead runners on their way down with words of encouragement.
Reaching the top and half way we knew it was pretty much all down hill for the second half, so after a short rest and refuelling with more cake we made our way back down along the same route chatting to other runners as we went.
The weather had changed by now and we found ourselves enjoying glorious sunshine for much of the race so were glad to have topped up on water supplies at the aid stations as we passed.
Back down through a now busy Arundel, and back along the river we somehow managed to miss Phil supporting on this section, but following a brief telephone call arranged to meet back at the finish. We were pretty much on our own by now as the field had spread out far and wide, and we came in to the finish greeted with applause from fellow runners, my mum, and some good friends Jo and Ian who had kindly travelled down for the day to welcome us home.
Learning points :
- Racing is so much more than about finishing times, it’s about good times too
- I have a huge amount of respect for tail enders for having the physical and mental strength to keep going for so long
- I still like trail marathons
- I need to practice eating more cake instead of gels
- A glass of wine the night before a race helps me sleep, I like that
- It turns out a fry up after a race is pretty good recovery food
- As this was over 27 miles, I believe I can call it an Ultra Marathon !
I’d never run a marathon like this before, but I enjoyed it. It was good to run the whole thing with a friend and we certainly went through some topics …. life, milk, wonky houses, chocolate moo moo’s to name just a few ! Thanks Natty for the chat ….. oh, and the running ! Gary did really well and hung around to cheer us home even though he had a bit of a wait. We rehydrated well later in the evening with his lovely family, cheers Gary and well done mate.
“One of the hardest things is not talking to someone you used to talk to every day”