Mr Moir sends in this report ‘fresh’ from the field of the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon
Town Moor Marathon 30/10/2011
The idea of a 5 lap marathon puts many people off this marathon, but not 4 hardy TBH-ers. People often consider it to be an easy but boring course, but I’ve always found it to be a bit trickier than just that.
A quick rundown of the 5.25 mile course is a fairly steady flatish first mile, a flatish second mile but a turn into a headwind that is always there making it a slow hard mile, a long slow uphill third mile, for me the worst bit half a mile uphill on grass but then the second half is fast back down the same hill, then a fast flat mile and a quarter back to the start. Dave ‘DD’ Daniels & I have done a fair amount of Sunday runs round the marathon route, often accompanied by Dr Dan, so we were fairly familiar with the route and know its many foibles.
We agreed before hand to try to run 6:30 pace for the first 3 laps then take it from there. Vaughan Hemy from the Poly was after a similar sub 3 hour time so we all agreed to the plan and set off together. We led a group of about 10 or so runners for a couple of laps hitting the target of 6:30s for the first lap then 6:40s for the second so I was happy enough with that.
There was however an annoying bleeping noise every few seconds coming from someone in the group. I was about to ask round to complain at someone but realised the curse of Garmin had struck me yet again. I thought I’d set it to clock each lap, but I hadn’t, I chose the annoying beeping every 3 or so seconds option (sorry if it annoyed anyone reading this – we’ll I’m not really!!)
At the start of the third lap some of the other lads in the pack took up the lead to give us a break, and I sort of realised Vaughn & DD had dropped out the pack and I was on my own with 3 sprightly 20 year olds. They kept up the pace and we went through half way in 1:27:30 which was still OK but I was beginning to feel I’d pushed it too hard earlier on. The group broke up a bit on the hill but I managed to pull one of them back on the next lap hoping he’d want company, but he started walking at a feed station so obviously didn’t. DD was still just behind me at this point and I was hoping he’d catch up and carry me for the rest of the race, but it didn’t happen. At about 17 miles I realised I’d kind of started going backwards, posting 7:40-8:00 minute miles and I can honestly say that the last lap was probably one of the worst running experiences of my life. The wind seemed to have picked up, my legs stopped working, I started getting stomach cramps and every-time I tried to up the pace my hip flexor felt like it was going to burst out my hip (oh I do like to exaggerate!!). I wasn’t going to give up and eventually rolled in in 3:13:04 by my watch, St Johns kindly gave me a ice pack for my hip flexor, but it was a bit touch and go with them filling their form in as I was desperate to throw up at that point and couldn’t work out if it was more polite to do so and continue with the form or excuse myself and head off behind a portacabin. I held on and got to the portacabin, and though I was discrete, but apparently it was a moment that was shared by all around at that time (we do like to share in TBH)
I’d like to thank the many TBHers for encouragement through out the 3 or so hours, but I was a bit disappointed Mark Hall failed to bring his promised deckchair. A special mention to Mrs Moir who realised my dying on my feet look meant I was in trouble for the final lap, and tried to dot about the course to keep me going. I’d also like to thank George Routledge for putting this marathon on, and the many marshals who keep you going throughout with loads of encouragement and feed stations.