Hull Marathon: 8 April 2012: This is a new, fairly flat and fast road marathon and there is an added bonus in that the race takes runners out and back over the Humber Bridge. The main problems this year were a virtually total lack of visible mile markers and an out and back section of about 2.5 miles each way along the front of Victoria Dock, which comprised lots of very tight twists and turns. There was much more support along the route than I had expected and the weather was just right for running. My time was 3:49:56.
Worcester Marathon: 15 April 2012: This was another new road marathon. The route was rural, hilly and pleasant, but there were a lot of issues that need to be resolved if they are contemplating running it again. The ‘nominal’ parking fee at the Rugby Club turned out to be £3 and there were long queues as people searched for their money. This meant that the race set off quarter of an hour late. Once we started running we discovered that what mile markers they had were in completely the wrong places. There were very few mile markers after 13 miles and there was at least half a mile between the 26 mile marker and the finish. Furthermore the 18 mile drink station ran out of drinks and there was a long gap to the next water station. I ran 3:48:35.
Madrid Rock’n’Roll Marathon: 22 April 2012: As part of my own personal mission to drag the Spanish economy out of crisis I booked to run the Madrid Marathon with a group of friends. On arrival it was actually very sad to see a large number of beggars out on the streets.
This was the first Rock’n’Roll Marathon in Europe and the organisation was fairly chaotic. Indeed, having the bag drop area around 1.5 miles from the race start caught both Spanish and foreigners out. I managed to deposit my bag and get back to the start area about 7 minutes before the race started. There was no chance of finding a toilet before the race commenced and I was subsequently advised that a number of the toilets provided had never actually been unlocked so people hadn’t been able to use them. I had run 15k by the time I actually located a usable portaloo by which time I was getting pretty desperate.
I knew the course was going to be fairly hilly and for the first time in the last couple of months my legs felt tired from fairly early on. As it grew steadily warmer I started to flag noticeably and I was relieved to cross the finish line in 4:04:48. I enjoyed Madrid, but the marathon organisers have a lot of work to do if they want to keep people coming back to do this race.
Belfast Marathon: 7 May 2012: I didn’t make the Milton Keynes Marathon on 29 April as I’d come down with a cold, but the weather at Belfast the following week was almost as filthy as it had been for Milton Keynes. When I ran Belfast in 2011 I’d run Limerick Marathon the day before and only finished in 4:19:00. This year my legs were a lot fresher and I was able to keep with the 3:45 pace group until around 23 miles, finishing in 3:46:26. The bad news was that I then had to stand around shivering for around 45 minutes before I could collect my baggage (and it was very wet and very cold).
Kildare Marathon: 13 May 2012: With my legs as tired as they were I could have done with a flat marathon and no wind. Unfortunately the Kildare course was undulating and very exposed to the wind. The race starts from and finishes at the famous Curragh race course and there were plenty of toilets and undercover changing areas. However, it was one of those days when the cold gets into your bones wherever you are and I struggled hard to finish in 3:53:48, but won the first vet 60 prize. As an extra bonus my pre-Belfast cold returned with a vengeance and travelling back on the Monday was miserable.
Druridge Bay Trail Marathon, Northumberland: 20 May 2012: This is a beautiful 4 lap marathon along trails, footpaths, roads and beaches. Whilst it was windy in places there was also plenty of sun and there were even people swimming in the sea. The scenery was truly spectacular. I’d forgotten how beautiful the Northumberland coast is and I’m now looking forward to the Northumberland Coast Marathon later in the year. It was good to see Steve Smith from Striders there (he was born a few miles away from Druridge Bay) and great to see him come 2nd overall in 3:13:58. Alison Telfer’s brother, Mike, was also running and he came 8th in 3:24:56. I finished in 4:18:05, which won me the first vet 60 award. I later discovered that I had been the only vet 60 running, but what the heck.
Edinburgh Marathon: 27 May 2012: I don’t particularly like running in the heat at the start of the summer so I wasn’t overjoyed that it was warm from the start at Edinburgh. I also couldn’t understand why the half marathon started 2 hours before the marathon. The marathon started at 10am thus ensuring that we bore the brunt of the midday sunshine. Surely it would be more sensible to have the marathon starting at 8am rather than the half. Last time I ran Edinburgh Marathon was in 1999 when the race started in Dunfermline and finished in the centre of Edinburgh. Since then the route has totally changed and the majority of the route follows the coastline. The first 17 miles were not too bad as we benefited from some breeze off the sea, but after that I started to wilt and I was certainly pleased to finish in under 4 hours on this one. My time was 3:53:08.