We headed over to the Isle of Wight today for the Needles Cross-Country Marathon (although I was only running the half). Our gamble of getting the 8:45 ferry seemed to pay off and we arrived in reasonable time for the 10:00 start from the West Wight Sports Centre. There was a good turnout (around 300 for both events) with a fair sprinkling of Tuesday night runners present (myself, Neil, Darren, Roderick, Sue and Jane).
The course heads up to Yarmouth and then around the coast to Freshwater Bay via the Needles. The Half Marathon then heads back inland and the Marathon does a loop out to the east. Although nearly all off road, there was more hard surface underfoot than I had anticipated. It was a bit too hot for my liking, particularly when slogging up the hills, although there was a welcome breeze at times. It was probably a bad sign that, as I ran up towards the Needles Battery I was chatting to the first lady. She then proceeded to disappear ahead of me as we climbed to the radio mast. As we ran along Tennyson Down I could then watch her, and the other two runners who past me as I stopped for a drink, gradually pull away from me.
Another runner passed me when I stopped at the drinks station at Freshwater Bay (perhaps I should have carried water after all) and, although I tried my best, I failed to haul him back in again before the finish line. The results have me down as seventh finisher which sounds fairly respectable although I’d have liked to get under 90 minutes. Neil had a good run and was less than 4 minutes behind me. (Apologies for the poor quality of the photo Neil – you were going too fast for the camera!) It’ll be interesting to see how we do at the OMM this year (Neil having just submitted our entry for the B course).
We were planning to find a beach before catching the two o’clock ferry home but Emma was starting to look a bit dopey so we drove back to Yarmouth and were then waved straight on to the earlier ferry.