Monday, 3 October 2011


The 2011 Inverness Marathon was a classic. Well for me at least.
By that I mean it was a "classic" S Hay signature marathon.
The start of the Baxters Marathon is a surreal experience. Thousands of runners get disgorged from a fleet of buses, to hang about in the middle of nowhere listening to Bryan Burnett tell us how excited we are and remind us not to piddle in the residents gardens (Bryan - nobody lives within a mile of the start line). If he told us once he told us a dozen times that "this is the most scenic marathon in Britain". Well, "yes. It is". But only on days when visibility is greater than about twenty feet!! On a personal level it didn't much matter as the heavy rain had made me decide to run without my specs anyway - I like to inject a hint of danger into my marathons!
To be fair at least Bryan Burnett is a runner he's a lot better than some of the diddies I've had to listen to before races.
As I stood there on the line I ruminated on my options for "a race plan"....
I could (a) try to run steady miles and attempt to get a comfortable 2:55 or ...(b) blast off like a man possessed and try to beat my PB of last year.
So. First mile in about 5:55.
Oh yes. It was always going to be (b). In my defence the first mile is a very steep downhill and 5:55 didn't really take up too much effort.
Sadly the weather was not favourable this year. Hardly any wind at all (not like last years lovely stiff tail wind) and the forecast "drizzle" was "drizzling" drops that were, in my untrained opinion, a bit on the big side to be defined as drizzle, and they were coming down with a fierce regularity. Indeed, if I were a meteorologist I'd probably have used the term "pissing down".
Anyway. After the first fast mile I calmed down to a sensible pace and just tried to take advantage of the drops and conserve a bit energy on the climbs - of which there are many (it's a very "lumpy" route).

Spot the tell-tale blood

Things were going fairly well till the hill at 17 mile. This hill isn't steep as such. It's just long. Maybe goes on for about 2 miles? So I slowed down to take it easy. No great rush.
I felt fine going up. Got to the top and thought "ok, time to pick it up again". Could I? Could I feck.
My legs were just spent. I tried and tried to get them to turn over a bit quicker - and they were having none of it.
The last six and a bit miles were the hardest I have run in a marathon in a long time.
The chance of replicating the PB was gone and I really thought the sub three was going to slip by.
I ran in with a bloke who like me had "overcooked" the first part of the run (we'd passed each other a few times).
At about 23 miles we passed two wee boys who shouted something along the lines of "here come the slow coaches". The temptation to stop and kick their arse was immense but we both decided just to keep on rather than waste precious seconds.
Got in at 2:59:12 to a massive cheer....sadly the massive cheer was for the first lady crossing the line just ahead of me.
Not too annoyed with myself but it could have/should have been better (I would have been upset to go over 3).
Normally don't get bother with the old nips, but because my vest was wet all the way through the race I ended up bleeding quite badly. A bit of chaffing in other areas that don't really show up on the photo... dam sore in the shower afterwards!
Good points? Well a £1.25 bag of Percy Pig sweeties is every bit as good as numerous expensive "gels". And it's a really nice "techy" tee-shirt this year.

Watched other runners coming over the line until I saw Anne coming over in 3:51 then went for our complimentary food before hobbling back to the hotel.
Went out for a small "recovery run" this morning. Legs were like lead, but I think just turning them over was the best thing to do.
10k in Berwick in a couple of weeks, hopefully manage to do the Jedburgh half, then it's cross country season after that.


Anonymous said...

Job done, well done. Have to confess I misread 'ruminated' for 'urinated' - had to re-read that. Subliminal......

John Kynaston said...

Well done Stuart. Good to meet you just before the start line. Thanks for saying hello.


Billy said...

Your tits must be drooping Stuart. Well done on another sub-3.

Stuart said...

Could be Billy. Perhaps my cake intake is leading to the onset of “moobs”.
Better cut back.

Or maybe you could fashion a sports bra for men made out of Ikea Bags!