It’s taken me over a week to blog about this race. I almost feel guilty for not doing it any quicker. The Trail Marathon Wales is certainly an excellent event and deserves a decent blog post. In fact I had a wonderful, hectic, mad 2 days, starting with the Friday before the race.
On the Friday before the marathon Yuk-Lam and I with some friends had tickets to see Robbie Williams at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. I was under instructions to take them and not be late. By Friday morning I had to have everything ready for the marathon the next day and leave work early so as to get everyone to the Etihad in time. No excuses for being late would be allowed, we are talking “Robbie Williams” here, Yuk-Lam’s favourite man in the whole world! Luckily everything went to plan and I got them to the concert in plenty of time.
Robbie was as brilliant, as expected, probably one of the world’s best live entertainers and he had the stadium of 35,000 people, mostly ladies may I add, rocking!
After a concert that saw us get in at 1:30am. I had only 3 and a half hours sleep before having to get up for Trail Marathon Wales. I over slept by half an hour and this really put the pressure on me, could I get there in time? Registration was supposed to close at 8:30am and I knew it was going to be desperately close. I finally got parked up in the Coed y Benin forest at 8:40am dashed to the registration, was I too late? No, I could still get my number so now a quick dash back to my car to get changed. Then another dash back to the race start. I just got there as the race was started and had to hang around behind the start for a minute while my Garmin found satellites and I had to watch the runners disappear into the distance. I said hello to a man on a bike whose job it was to follow the last runner. Thankfully I wasn’t the last runner for very long and started to work myself back up the field.
For me the course round the forest was stunning. I love running under trees and this was the biggest forest I’ve ever been in and the most I’ve ever run in one go under the cover of trees. It wasn’t all under a tree canopy but the majority was. We ran through many different types of woodland, some with a carpet of bluebells, some with a carpet of light green moss which ran up the trunks of the trees as well as covering the floor. There were some wonderful little bridges over rocky streams with cascading waterfalls. Some truly beautiful places.
The course was very hilly going up and down the sides of the hills and very technical with narrow paths winding through the trees and over tree roots. It certainly was not an easy marathon but thoroughly rewarding. Definitely on my list to do again next year! My finishing time was 4 hours 34 minutes 24 seconds. Very slow for me but considering I’m coming back from injury and the severity of the course I was more than happy with it. With a bit more sleep I might have done a bit better too.