It was the Clarendon Way Marathon today which runs from Salisbury to Winchester. The weather forecast was pretty dire with heavy rain and strong gusty winds predicted. In the end, there was just a persistent drizzle for most of the duration and you only really felt the wind on some of the more exposed stretches. More of a problem was what the rain had done to the ground: turning the exposed chalk in to a skid pad, creating a mud bath of much of the off-road sections and, in places just leaving wall-to-wall water.
I enjoyed the first half of the route and, despite having set a target time of 3:15, was fairly consistently churning out 7 minute miles, hitting the half-way point at just over 90 minutes. I had some minor niggles but generally felt pretty good. It’s a bit of an uphill slog from Broughton though and by the 20 mile mark I was starting to suffer. Probably not surprising as I don’t think I’ve run for more than about 85 minutes at any point this yea!. At Farley Mount I finally caved in and picked up, not only a drink and the jelly babies on offer, but also a banana. Quite why they provide whole bananas all the way round the course I’ll never know but at this point I was ready to devour it from top to bottom.
The first indication I had of how I was doing was some helpful chap who told me I was 15 minutes down on the lead. Thanks pal! I was then told I was in 6th place which was quite pleasing. One of the Southampton guys spectating then told me the two guys in front looked pretty dead. I duly overtook them both in the next couple of miles. In the case of the second one, we were both walking up a hill, I was just walking faster! And that was where I finished, in 4th place in just under 3:11 (official results not up yet). All in all I think I preferred the old course from the centre of Winchester to Salisbury. There were less contrived loops to make up the full distance so you felt you were always progressing in the right direction.
Afterwards, I conveniently had a rest on one of the chairs by the sports therapists area and he gave my legs a bit of a massage free of charge! I did, however, decline the freezing cold showers at the school. Standing up and climbing stairs is a bit tricky at the moment so I suspect I won’t be cycling in to work tomorrow!