Rob Wishart ran the inaugural Gibside Marathon (Saturday, 6th June 2015) and writes this report.
Gibside is a National Trust estate at Rowland’s Gill, which is where outer Gateshead stops and County Durham starts.
There is a walled garden, manor house, chapel, old ruins and statues hidden amongst the woods…
…it’s also a run-tastic place:
the forest trails host Gibside parkrun http://www.parkrun.org.uk/
Great Run Local on Sunday mornings http://www.greatrunlocal.org/
and, once a year the Gibside Fruit Bowl race!
None of which I have ever done :-). But the North East Marathon Club put on a 5 lap marathon and I made the two-bus trip.
This wasn’t a fast-time attempt (hilly) but it would be good training for an ultra so I packed a rucsack to simulate the experience. Chatting at the start, out of about 60 entrants there were some from local clubs, a Scottish guy and a Cleethorpes guy both that I knew from other maras and one from the 100 Marathon Club – he’d actually done 300 of ’em!
We had to finish by 10pm (so that marshals weren’t in the dark scary forest all night) but could choose to start at 5.00pm, 5:30 or 6.00pm. Despite being hampered by the rucsack, I and one other picked 6.00pm, taking the sub 4hr-or-bust challenge!
*this is called “underestimating the course”*
So at 6, we (the other Scot and me) ran off on our first lap of the trails. Some of it went sharply downhill, which is fun – but of course soon we had to get back up a hill! It was always good enough underfoot although plenty of twists and …undulations to keep you challenged.
Of course I went off too fast! Rucsack, schmucksack! Mara, schmarra!
Sometimes you wouldn’t see any runners or marshals for a while but I was happy just being there, spotting Liberty Column or a yurt amongst the trees.
Towards the end of each lap was Neil Capstick (formerly and rejoining TBH) cheering us on as we staggered up a hill!
The first 3 laps had this in common: after some to-and-fro I also got to the checkpoint before Scots Les!
*this is called “being used as a pacemaker”! (Les got 2nd place)*
At the end of the 3rd lap(two left) I ditched the rucsack – it wasn’t helping! I couldn’t (a) keep making a race of it; or (b) stay fast enough to beat the cut-off time; so it was dumped at the checkpoint!
Lap 4 should have been easy with no weight on my back, but soon I got cramp in both quads
It must’ve been the sudden change in gait. Thought it was all over, I’d have to walk….kept trying to jog though and after a while it eased off!
Unfortunately all my energy had fizzled out and this lap took ages to get around….checking the time I realised that I wouldn’t be able to finish by 10pm so – didn’t start the last lap!
No medal but that was ok. I’d only wanted a good training run. 4x 5.3 mile laps = 21ish hilly miles so I’d got what I wanted!
Here’s the results: http://www.