For over fifteen years I’ve been running all round the trails between the Gin Pit and Lilford Park. I know them like the back of my hand. They are only lightly undulating with the Gin Pit hill being the only real hill and still not that steep. In training throughout the years I managed some reasonable paced sessions on these trails. So with all my running experience and familiarity with the area you would expect me to do some cracking times on the Lions Bridge marathon. Not so, each year I find the event really tough for one reason or another.
Last year we had had a lot of very wet weather leading up to the event and the course was full of mud and very large deep puddles which were impossible to circumnavigate making for a very tough, wet and muddy race. Since that race I’ve thought, we need a dry year for the trails to be dusty and then I’ll see some great times from runners during the event. This year the weather has been dry and I thought to myself and the other runners would be able to produce some fast times on this lightly undulating course.
For this year’s marathon we had calm, hot and humid sunny weather. I don’t like to complain about lovely sunny weather, we never seem to get enough of it on this side of the Pennines but it was far too hot and humid to be running a marathon, well certainly at a decent pace.
I was fine for the first 3 laps but even with taking on extra water each lap, dehydration and the heat got to me. By the fifth lap it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other to simply tick off the miles to get closer to the finish. I must admit the last lap did seem slightly easier but I think it was the mental thought that I didn’t have to go round the course again. At the finish I needed a little lie down for 10 minutes in the shade and plenty to drink to cool down. I was pleased my sore knee wasn’t affected by the run but I was a bit disappointed to have recorded my worst time for the course of 4:21:25. Let’s hope I can improve over the next few months.
This course never seems to be easy!
Maybe I need to hold this event in the Autumn or winter to have cooler running conditions for runners and then we’ll see some better times over this course.
Well done to all our finishers this year, especially our winners who seemed to be less affected by the hot weather than most of us. We had Jonathan Godfrey from Hull finish in 3:16:05 for the men and Jayne Price from Pensby Runners finish in 3:38:59 for the ladies, great times considering the heat.
I would like to thank the small team of volunteers that helped. As I always say without their help I wouldn’t be able to hold these events; We had Yuk-Lam and Sandra who recorded the lap counting and time keeping under the scorching sun, Neil and John who helped me set up the course, Abbey and Yuen Wah in the Kitchen who sold the pasties, Terry for coming down and taking some brilliant photos to share with the runners and lastly Lucas for simply just being Lucas! Thanks All!