|Striders at the Stour Valley Marathon|
Wakefield Trail Marathon, West Yorkshire: 29 June 2014: This was another new trail marathon starting from Nostell Priory with about 35% of the course on road and the remainder on cycle paths and footpaths. Being Yorkshire there was no shortage of hills, but the route was marked and it stopped raining just before the race started. I had a reasonable run finishing in 4:10:23. Fortunately I was staying with friends in Sheffield after the race so the post race drive was not too taxing.
Stratford Grand Union Canal Trail Ultra, Stratford on Avon: 13 July 2014: The distance according to my Garmin was 29.56 miles although others came out with a figure of 31 miles. Whatever the distance actually was this was another excellent event staged by my friend Chris Seeney. From Stratford on Avon we followed the Stratford canal north before turning onto the Grand Union canal. The turnaround point was at a bridge just over 15 miles out. The whole event was brilliantly organised and even without marshals there was little opportunity to go wrong. All the helpers were friendly and supportive especially at the drinks stations and the race HQ. The towpaths were slightly muddy and overgrown in places, but were perfectly manageable in trail shoes and we received plenty of encouragement from the occupants of the numerous narrowboats navigating the canals. At the finish there was plentiful hot food, a medal and a good quality towel with the race name on it. Chris’s events are really popular and it was great to see so many good friends taking part. My finish time was 4:56:48.
Bearbrook 10k: 10 August 2014: I enjoyed this club competition race although my time of 48:39 wasn’t brilliant. It was great to see so many Striders taking part.
|Leila's Run Trail Marathon|
|Finishing the Thames Meander|
Halifax Marathon, Yorkshire: 31 August 2014: The good news about Halifax was that the return train fare was £17, the hotel was 100 yards from the station and the race started and finished 0.4 miles away from the hotel. The bad news was hills. The marathon route comprised 2 laps and was through very pretty countryside, but for the first 7 miles of each lap we were faced with a series of sharp ascents (one very steep hill had a cobbled surface and there was a handrail along the adjacent wall) and descents. There was then a stretch of just over 5 miles alongside a canal before a final climb back up to the race HQ. The route was generally well signposted although on the second lap there was one point where I had to shout at the group in front of me as they were all about to take a path to the right instead of to the left. I was surprised that my time of 4:26:55 was sufficient to gain me the 1st vet 60–69 award, but I guess most people suffered on the hills as much as I did. My quads were still very painful for several days afterwards.