A great weekend of back to back marathons!
I love being able to do this but the opportunity only comes up rarely. This weekend the Goyt Valley Striders put on a Saturday marathon to celebrate their club’s 25th anniversary and I was able to double it with Chester on the Sunday.
Day 1 – Goyt Valley
As Goyt Valley was a one off trail marathon I didn’t know what to expect and I got more than I bargained for in all departments, an extremely tough course and absolutely stunning scenery!
It had some very tough running terrain with some deep mud and rocky paths with water cascading down them but the lovely scenery certainly made up for it, with views across reservoirs, the tops of the Derbyshire Dales, snaking through the bottom of the Goyt valley at the side of the river amongst the trees and some sections along the picturesque Peak Forrest canal. We also ran under a couple of huge impressive stone viaducts. Physically a totally challenging but a thoroughly rewarding course. Well done Kevin Day for organising it, even if I got lost a couple of times!
I finished in 3rd place out of 36 runners in 3 hours 55 minutes 56 seconds, YES a podium finish! And won a prize, a £15 Sweatshop voucher, so chuffed, I can’t remember ever winning a prize before!
Day 2 – Chester
Back to Chester Race course for my third time. After a nice warm dry day yesterday, today the weather was even more sunny, starting off a little fresh but soon getting very warm. I had the usual aches in the legs that I would expect from running a marathon the day previous but also a slightly swollen left ankle from going over on it at mile 4 sliding in the mud yesterday. I had to select a pair of trainers with a lower heal so as not to aggravate my sore ankle. I had also got cramp in the outside of the top of my left leg after the race yesterday and this now felt bruised.
Due to the large volume of traffic I was struggling to get into the racecourse for the start so I decided to park in another car park nearby. This was much more convenient but meant I got prepared away from most of the other runners and missed many friends I’d hoped to see before the start. Luckily I met up with friends Gary and Sandra just before the race started. I ran with Gary for about 10 miles and was very pleased to be running well and under 8 minute miling. Gary then pushed on a bit. I was still feeling good up to about 16 miles but then the body quickly seemed to run out of energy and I progressively slowed. Usually it is only a mind game for the last few miles but today I had a very tough 10 mile mind game having to mentally push the body to keep going when it really wanted to stop. I caught Gary up again at 20 miles, sorry Gary! The very warm sun didn’t help and the frequent water stops were like welcome oasis in the desert and I enjoyed the cooling sensation when I poured water all over me. I saw a surprising number of runners struggling over the last few miles and as Chester isn’t the toughest course I’m going to put it down to the warm sunshine. The finish couldn’t come soon enough, outside the 3:30 I’d hoped for but still pleased with 3:34:21 for day 2.