#248 - Littledown Marathon Race Report

Marathon #248 Littledown Marathon done! Nice 26 laps around a park chatting to a few folk and getting lapped by rather more! lol Actually a pretty decent run from me, probably in my top 5 marathon times which I'm pleased with as was blowing a gale in our faces for at least 85% of the loop! 20 minutes quicker than last year so going in the right direction which is always pleasing... now in McDonalds recarbing and wasting an hour before we head off for a loooooong shift volunteering at SDW100!


Littledown Marathon was one that I dropped in to the schedule fairly late in the day once I'd made up my mind after GUCR to drop the SDW100 from my list in order to give my feet a proper chance to heal up. I'd done the event in 2012 to support Barry Light who along with Ade Holloway had put on the event to help raise funds for Barry's 60 in 60 in 60 challenge and once I knew I was free it was an easy choice to do again. Although wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, 26 x 1 mile loops around a park I rather like those ones as it gives you a chance to chat, see and encourage other runners who you otherwise wouldn't see beyond the start or finish. I'll confess that I hadn't quite got my geography right though as thought Bournemouth was a bit closer to home than I thought it was (as had to get back to Eastbourne for the SDW100 finish where we were doing a 16+ hour shift afterwards) but it all worked out in the end no problem!

Elanor (daughter, who I usually refer to as Pinkey in case people have heard me talking about both they are one and the same daughter!) came along which was nice as she was also doing the SDW100 shift and she found a friend in Rocky (Jen Salter Rory Colemand's dog) so that kept her amused during the day!


With only 50 odd runners it wasn't too crowded at all but I did step back at the start to let the quick guys go. The British 50k champion was in the house and he was quick! Seriously, he lapped me by mile 3! lol (It's interesting really to see how hard these quick guys work late in the game, generally after a while my effort levels are dropping off, but guys doing 2:40 marathons are hauling the whole way around.)

It was a nice enough day but there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing and in true style of course it was at your back for about 100 yards and in your face for about 800. Has anyone else noticed this?! You know it cannot be physically true but I would bet that it was hindering more than helping at least by a ratio of 3:1 if not more!

The lap is interesting enough for what you can fit into a mile loop, 2 bridges, a couple of climbing/play areas, few trees, round a cricket pitch and a little tiny five foot "hill" at one end. Does break up the distance in to little chunks and especially later in the game you can simply tell yourself, OK, just run to turn, run to the tree, harder around the cricket pitch and so on.

i settled into it pretty nicely, first half in just under 2 hours which I was pleased with (that's about 10 minutes inside my half marathon PB! I must run one some day to get that down officially!) and it was handy that Pinkey was around to "crew" me as all they had at the aid station was SIS gels that I'm not terribly keen on, am sure last year they had cake or mars bars or something! lol But was no big deal, a packet of Clif shots, a gel and a little Clif bar kept me going.

For a while I was hoping for something around the 4 hour mark but the wind, lack of effort and the dead legged feeling from around mile 22 put paid to that. As is often the way you start looking for a few excuses to slow down a bit, I started having slightly longer and longer walks at the aid station or after Pinkey had passed me something, and for the last few laps had a bit of a walk up the "hill" as a treat. Walked with a few folk late in the game who were struggling a bit for a bit of a chat to see how they were getting along and its easy to see where a few minutes here and there could be saved, but then I'd rather chat with a friend having a bad day at mile 22 than worry about 30 seconds! lol

Was nice to have some chats with some folk that you don't always get a chance to, Rory Coleman, Walter Spenst, Gina Little and so on, so that was all good and was quite pleased by about mile 24 to be near the end! Came home in 4:23 odd in the end which was my 4th best marathon time so that was pleasing, not least as my Garmin read over 26.5 and really was fairly blowy!

Tried out a new pair of Brooks Ghost GTX shoes for this one (kiddies don't try this at home, the first time I put them on my feet was 5 minutes before the start!) oddly felt a bit slippy on the little tarmac bits but that might just be them not being remotely broken in. I'm looking to shift from my NB1080's as they no longer make them and don't like the v2/v3's and giving these a try, this pair specifically as they are waterproof, useful I think for those sorts of runs that aren't quite trail enough for trail shoes, but might be going through a bit of wet grass/mud/puddles etc.... so far so good. Felt like I might be slightly blistering on the bottom of my left foot about mile 13 and did think about swapping them over, but that feeling went away and no evidence of anything going on so just a bit of weirdness on an old blister spot I think.

All in all a nice little event, nice people, flat, sunny... all good!

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