One week on from Lancaster and it was time for Hull marathon. This marathon has now been held for a few years and is well established on the marathon race calendar as a good road marathon. I was looking forward to running this as it is a fairly flat course and another chance for me to dip under 3 hours 30 minutes. The race started and finished at Hull City’s football stadium with plenty of free parking which made logistics so much easier than some other marathons. It was nice to bump into lots of marathon friends, including some Brathay 10in10ers, especially my friend Richard Rex. Sadly Richard wasn’t able to run due to an injury so instead he was helping the race organisers and introduced me to Jo Pavey Britain’s Olympic long distance runner, who he was looking after. It was so nice and unexpected to meet her, a lovely lady who I would bump into again at the finish as she was enthusiastically handing out medals and kindly gave me mine. Having Jo put a medal round my neck is going to be a moment I will remember for a very long time. It felt quite an honour to meet her and I was impressed with her attitude, getting so involved in the event and meeting the runners. The finish was inside the stadium, runners ran round the pitch and finished alongside the managers dugout. Once I had collected my medal I enjoyed a rest in one of the manager’s chairs while I got my breath back and watched some of the others finish.
The weather forecast leading up to the event was for heavy rain and strong winds. I had been dreading the run but in the 24 hours before the start it magically changed and it was calm, dry and cool with light cloud. Perfect conditions for running and I had no excuse for not putting in a good time.
For the first half of the race I tried to put myself in a position to do a sub 3:30 and with 1:41 I was well on track. The second half was hillier and took us along the Humber Bridge. I loved running over the bridge it must be nearly 2 miles long. It arches and is by no means flat. I had to work hard before enjoying a few downhill miles back to the finish. I pushed all the way and was amazed to have put in a sprint finish inside the football stadium as another runner was desperate to overtake me. I think it would have taken a photo finish to decide it. Finishing time was 3:24:17, exactly a minute quicker than last week and now on 99 sub 3:30 marathons. Oh so close to my long standing goal of 100.