Having physically (and mentally) recovered from Sunday’s race, Dave Moir sends in this report.
Wheeeeez Keys are these? – Sunderland Marathon 6-5-12
Along with incorporating Mackum and Tackum in everyday conversation and calling everyone Marra for about a week, this strategy allowed me to seamlessly blend in with the local population of Sunderland at weekend. It was an early start as I got picked up by Dave Rowe’s mate Alan at 7:30 and we got parked right by the stadium. On seeing the Heaton lads a quick blast of “LLLLEEEESSS” out the car window gave them all heart failure but saved them the bother of a last toilet stop, then it was off to race HQ.
We were greeted by Lord Ron Murray of Sunderland who had turned the baggage area into a fine tuned military operation, so we went through the usual preparation routine (not enough stretching with general disinterest and a bit of apathy thrown in) whilst a few more TBH turned up.
I decided against a fast start and kept well away from the front (as many of you know, the marathon is the only race I ever take this sensible approach with) and had my race plan firmly in my head. My aim was to get a sub 3 hour time and to do that I was going to run 6:40 for the first half (1:27:30 half way) then allow myself to drop to 6:50 to 20 miles (2:14:30) then try to keep at 7 minute mileing to 23 just in case it all went horribly wrong in the last 3 miles, and I could drop to 7:20s.
We set off steady and one of my early concerns with the convoluted twisty route I soon realised were unfounded. The course was well marshalled, well marked and it didn’t really matter that you weren’t 100% certain where you were, an idea of the main landmarks was useful, but not essential. It was a bit hillier than I expected with the worst hill being at 10 miles and there being quite a lot of undulation in the parks that you ran through. There were plenty of well manned water stations and they gave out sachets of water that that sounded a bit worrying, but in practice they worked really well.
The first half of a marathon I always end up speaking to a few people, and it helps with getting a big chunk of the race under your belt before it gets serious. I noticed a bloke carrying a full sized cross on the opposite side of the course early on (who I believe blessed us), then had a chat with a Sunderland Stroller who told me they had 80 runners in the days event (well done to the Strollers), a fellow TBH member who I had a chat about the conditions in Inverness the year I did the marathon there, and conditions were so bad we didn’t get out the car to visit the local battle sites the day before (I got accused of being a typical English tourist I believe) then another runner from Sedgefield who kept me on pace up until 15 miles or so. The chatting tends to stop at this point.
I had got to half way in 1:27:30 – tick
I then hit 20 miles in 2:14:30 – tick
I had noticed the garmin was a little out at this stage, realising they are useful but not 100% accurate I accepted that.
For the next 3 miles we then headed along the coast and it was noticeably down hill, and a wind had picked up from no where that was on our backs. At the turn around point at 23 miles, I spotted Kev a hundred meters behind me then Rob Wishart a little further back, so that gave me a bit on an incentive to keep pushing on. The course was noticeably uphill now and the wind was a real problem, I started to slow to 7:30- 7:40 pace and Kev went past me at 25 miles. As I neared the stadium, I could hear the announcer urging on the last runner (Les Smith from Heaton returning the earlier shout I gave him) to come in under the 3 hour mark. I looked up at the clock and saw I had crossed the line in 3:00:41 – which although was 6 minute off my PB and a top 20 finish but was still out-side the magical 3 hour mark.
Philosophically, there’s always the chance of a flat autumn marathon, but my main disappointment was me being unable to enquire if anyone had lost their keys. “Wheeeez keys are these”
Kevin Jeffress, 2h 59m 12s
Dave Moir, 3h 00m 36s
Rob Wishart, 3h 04m 33s
Dave Rowe, 3h 23m 43s
Dave Young, 3h 26m 28s
Chris Mitsides, 3h 31m 26s
John Hurse, 3h 42m 33s
James Knox, 4h 13m 44s
Stepanie McFarlane, 5h 25m 26s