The Wales Marathon 2014 – Race Report

wales the finish lineThats me, for some reason jumping up in celebration at the finish line of the 2014 Wales Marathon……..i wasn’t winning it, but i was getting a blooming good time. My training paid off big time, hill after hill, run after run. It was a long hard 18 weeks, 8 of which i struggled with injury. But in the end it all came together and i don’t think i will forget this one in a hurry, the crowds were great, the route challenging and scenes spectacular at times. This really is one to run!!

Friday

So I arrived down in Tenby on Friday evening, just in time to catch the swim event of the Long Course Weekend, a Ironman type event which was being held of the course of three days, the marathon of which i was running. I am not sure if this helped with nerves or not, but it was easy to find distraction, not only was Tenby a lovely place but there was clearly plenty going on. The whole town was geared around this event and it was pretty much all everyone talked about in the hotels and the restaurants there was a sporting buzz about the place and amateur athletes were at the center of it. Even shops windows had been dressed up for the occasion.

I had already begun my carbo loading, eating rice and pasta most days for my evening meal and having porridge for breakfast every day throughout the week. Now in Tenby, i planned to do my best to continue with this plan although the hotel i was staying in, would have a big say on this and they delivered. The breakfast portions were huge, they were determined to look after the competitors and could you blame them, as no doubt people like me will head online and tell others if your doing this event, head to the Fourcroft hotel they look after you and the views of the sea from the rooms are fantastic and certainly helped me relax on the morning of race day.

The hotel is also situated just a short 15 minute walk from both the race start and a 10 minute walk from the registration center so pretty perfect really. Parking was a bit of an issue at the hotel, with them charging £5 a day. However, just a 15 minute walk down the road was a £2 all day car park, brilliant!! It was called Butts Field car park and you can find it [here]

In regards to lunch and evening meals, Tenby is full of suitable places and  and plenty were advertising that they are doing pasta meals……no one was going to miss out on the influx of athletes it would seem!!

For the evening meal we went to place called The Qube, which was quite nice, had a live piano player and several pasta meals on the menu.

Saturday ……..

Even though, you are advised not to, i spent the day before the race sight seeing. I felt it would be harsh on my partner not to do some non-running related stuff whilst we were here. So we headed over to Pembroke and had a look around the castle and then a spot of lunch. As castles go, its a pretty interesting one and there is plenty to see.

For my evening meal, is mix it up a bit we went to an Indian restaurant called the Bay of Bengal. It wasn’t the best Indian restaurant i have ever been to  , but the biryani can with plenty of rice and that’s was what i after and nice big bowl of carbs…….its making me hungry writing about all these meals!! {snack bar eaten}

Race Day

Being so close the start line, i allowed myself extra time in bed, not waking until 7 am, then it was down for breakfast and this was one of the great things about the hotel. They normally don’t start breakfast till 8 but they had asked me on the Friday what time i wanted breakfast on the Sunday, as they had asked what event i was doing, so i requested 7:30. As this would given me plenty of time to eat and digest the meal in time for the 10 a.m race start time. I suspect, i could of had it earlier if i wanted but the extra sleep and avoiding annoying the kitchen staff too much seemed the right option……………

For breakfast, I had three weetabix and the largest bowel of porridge I have ever seen, the hotel coming through of the athletes again, i washed this down a couple of glasses of fruit juice. Then it was back to the room to get ready, relax a little and consume my SIS hydro drink.

Then is was off on the short walk to the race start were i found plenty of runners were already in the start zone, making my way forward from the back, i found the last marker point was Sub 3:30. Which made me think that perhaps i should of just entered the start zone from the front………it also made me wonder if perhaps i was being too optimistic with my pacing plan. But i decided to trust in my training, i had been hitting a higher mileage than most and i have been tackling tougher hills than what i will face during this race it was time to make it all pay. Also I had studied the course in detail [see here] and i knew there were almost as many drops as climbs, i should be ok, if i am sensible, i thought…….

Weather wise………..it was warm but cloudy and there was a bit of a cool breeze. In many ways, you could say it was perfect running conditions, if only it wasn’t for all the hills!!

Then we were off and a large crowd was already lining the streets to see us off on our way, whilst the organisers added to the hype by pumping out loud music. It provided too hard to resist getting caught up in the occasion and i passed the first mile point in 6:53, almost a minute ahead of my planned 7:46 pace…….

I slowed down a little but still passed the second mile marker in around 12:43, still way ahead of time. Luckily for me mile 3, saw the introduction of the first of the big hills along the route and as planned i slowed right down, knowing that this hill climb would go on for almost a mile. Numerous runners passed me by at this point and i passed one runner who had slowed to walk, it wasn’t just mean that had planned to ease off on the hills then!!

Once at the top of this climb i increased my pace and over the next couple of miles i slowly passed several runners who had passed me on the climb and when we reached the long down hill section around mile 6 i passed a load more runners. All the while, i continued to remain head of plan and by mile 10 i was around 9 miles ahead of plan!!!

In previous races, this situation, would of led me to slow right down, but i decided that this time, i would take the risk of blowing up and i would continue with the pace i was going and simply slow down on all hill climbs. A ploy I followed right through to mile 23, after which point i decided it was time to put some effort into getting up the hills.

The race wasn’t without incidence, I hit the wall between miles 17 and 18, i twice got a stitch over between the 17 and 19 miles points, also a mile 16 i stopped and made use of the available portaloos and one time i did have to stop to do my lace up. Although, i waited until i was at the top of a hill climb before i did this, to ensure i didnt have to much hard work to do after stopping. Good job really, as i my legs were shaking as i tried to stand back up….eck!! However, i soon recovered and was back on it!

Throughout the race, i had a feeling i was doing well, not just because i was way head of plan but also because around100 metres ahead of me was a female runner that spectators kept referring to as the lead lady. Which worked as a big confidence booster to me and it became part of my plan to keep her in sight. Although at mile 20, we reached a very steep drop, which i used to close the gap on her, before gradually passing her by before we reached mile 21.

Over the last few miles of the race, i found myself in a battle with a runner dressed all in red with an an ironman tattoo and his calf and part of me was determined to beat him for these reason and we swapped places a number of times. However, on the final climb of the race he went by me and pushed on and i didn’t / couldn’t find it in me to go with him and i lost contact with him.

Entering Tenby town centre, i felt that i was pretty much alone and hadnt noticed any other runners since the ironman in red took off. However just as i reached the red carpet covering (A really nice touch by the way, a great to run on, lots of spring) the home straight another runner appeared by my side and i increased by pace up to a sprint , whilst this other fellow tried to match me, but 10 metres or later he simply said to me “Go on, you’ve beaten me” and this for some reason was my cue to move up to the fastest sprint  i could muster and i pushed on all the way to the finish with the crowd cheering me on. Then for some reason, as i hit the finish line, i jumped up and punched the air with joy, leading the commentator to say something about me finishing like i had won the event. I think the fact , that i had caught sight of the clock reading 3:12!!!! and that fact that i had won my sprint off battle had something to do with my reaction.

And that was it, months of training and pounding the streets had lead to me recording a massive PB of 3:12:46 and some reason a member of the crowd asked to have their photo taken of me………it later transpired that i had finished 20th and that i was probably the first finisher she had come into contact with. But was quite an interesting experience and who am i to say no…..

So 20th place and 3:12!!! I could of never of predicted that outcome. I thought i was being brave with a 3:21 attempt and i would of never of expected to be so close to the top spot!! Although there was only around 680 runners in the race, so that probably helped me, plus quite a few of them were taking part in the Long Course Weekend event.

wales splitsand until they are taken down the full list of results can be found [here]

My initial thoughts on this race is I can go faster!! Bring on the next marathon!!

And now , unlike Dublin i am going to treat myself to a full week off and then its mesocycle 5, recovery. I am looking forward to getting back running!

The medal wasnt the best medal in the world :

wales marathong medalBut i guess thats not the point and it was designed to fit in with all the medals of the Long Course Weekend and create this :

long course weekend medalHmm it would be great to own that……….but i am not finished with the marathon yet! Sub3 i have you in my sights!!

#KeepRunning

@SJPC14

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3 thoughts on “The Wales Marathon 2014 – Race Report

    • Thanks Tiny!! It went better than i expected and i cant wait for my next marathon!!

      Also it was a great event to be apart of. Hope your running is going well.

  1. Pingback: The Greater Manchester Marathon 2015 | sjpc14

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