Hastings 100th Anniversary Marathon

16 12 2008

After the cancellation of Luton Marathon, last week, I managed to get place in Hastings Marathon.  This was a special event that hasn’t been put on since 1908, the same year that we (England) hosted the Olympic Games and the current Marathon distance of 26.22 miles was first set (although not standardised until 1921).  In some ways I am actually very glad that I was a part of this special event and that Luton was cancelled.

It was cold and foggy standing outside the Town Hall waiting for the gun to go off.  My Garmin wouldn’t pick up a signal, but I knew it would at some point when away from the buildings.  Eventually the gun went off and there was a cheer, followed by another minute waiting to actually be able to move and get to the start line!

The first mile, looping through the town, went well and had us passing the finish line, where the commentator called out my name and number 🙂  As we headed uphill, out of the town, I finally got a signal.  I was a little concerned as I was overtaking so many people, especially overhearing some seasoned marathoners talking about settling into their pace and not pushing themselves too hard.  Turning into a housing estate, at around mile 3, the hill appeared to turn into a mountain!  Teeth gritted I pushed to the top.

There were gradual climbs until about 6 miles, where we were heading out of Hastings now on a more major road.  To be honest the route from here to the 12 mile point is a bit blurry.  I remember taking up the slack on the downhills while I had it in my legs, knowing that later on I wouldn’t be able to.  At about half way I passed a pub that I’d later find out a group of runners popped into for beer and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon!  My brilliant supporters also met me there and cheered me on.

There were a few ups and downs as run through Battle, past the Abbey and then onto Bexhill.  I had to pop into a pub for the loo just outside Bexhill.  Bexhill seemed to take forever to get through, even having to double back along one road (part of the route) – which was demoralising seeing the runners on the other side of the road.  Then back up hill before a decent to the seafront, which was freezing!

Along the seafront at about mile 22 I came to the Fetchpoint, a point where supporters from FetchEveryone meet and cheer people on and also hand out goodies.  It couldn’t have been better placed, I was hurting by this point and was starting to have battles in my head.  A jaffa cake and a couple of jelly babies later and I was off.  My supporters were there too, apparently they were joking about how many goodies I took.  My mate Tony ran with me for a bit, chatted to see how I was feeling etc, I felt quite emotional for a while afterwards, really helped.

Another hill, which HURT, but then down onto the shingle for what seemed like an eternity.  There was no support along this stretch and a lot of people were walking here.  There were puddles to dodge, people walking to dodge, and obstacles in my mind to dodge.  It was tough.

Coming out by the beach huts then back to the seafront at Hastings was brilliant.  Seeing the peer and knowing it wouldn’t be too far beyond.  My right hamstring went *ping* at this point, so I tried to stretch it, but got instant cramp in my left leg!  Just had to keep running…  the last couple of miles seemed to take forever, the wind from the sea was soooo cold.  Then I finally saw the underpass, knowing that I had only at maximum 100 metres or so to go I felt so much elation that all the pain was gone.  Running up to the finish, no sprinting this time, and done!

4:09:21

The support from my Jen, Tony and Tasha was so great, they helped me immensely!

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