#262 - Vanguard Way AGM Marathon Race Report

Marathon #262 - Vanguard Way Marathon done! A rather hilly run out from Croydon down south up and over the North Downs... bits look familiar from the NDW100 last year anyway and not the good familiar! lol But a fun day out with lots of the usual suspects messing about, chatting and getting in some bonus mileage from time to time! All good stuff and great to have some decent chats before, during and after!


This was the 100 Marathon Club AGM Marathon and as I had been one of the instigators of choosing the day it was odds on I was going to be there! In the end though actually signed up on the day as was never sure if I was going to be helping out or running, in the end Gareth Davies (100MC committee member who had kindly volunteered to take on the RD duties) had enough help so decided to run. Was in hard cut mode and not planning on eating much en route either so was always going to be a struggle going in very under fuelled but the weather was nice and what better way to spend the day running around a bit with lots of friends!


We were there pretty early to offer any help that we could in setting up, which wasn't too much as Gareth had things very much in hand. Folk were soon arriving and spent the time just chatting really and catching up.

0900 soon rolled around and we were off! Now the course was marked, and there were instructions and maps on the site, that nobody seemed to be bothering with (me included!) but had taken the trouble to get a Garmin trace of the route on my watch. This was to prove very amusing in the first mile as Dave Ross in true Dave Ross style led the whole field around the Park Run course (which was about to kick off) rather than the marathon route. For a brief while I was right at the front! lol But they soon caught up again...

The first half dozen miles of the out and back course were a very gradual up hill in the main, which would be nice on the way back but after a couple of nice decent 8:xx miles I started to slow on the hills and a bunch of folk started to catch me and I ran with them for a while till they left me! All was going OK till about mile 6 when I met a whole bunch of other runners who were in some distress as to where they were heading, and we were joined by more, and more, until there were maybe 30 runners all a bit puzzled.

This is where Garmin traces are useful, there was a road that looked on the trace so headed up there, only to see that it was outside the line, so turned back to the group and then we decided to head through a gate which was on the line and after a while we found a marker and everyone back on track again! Rachel and Heather had caught me up by now and I wasn't exactly flying so thought then that we might as well run together rather than head off and finish 2 minutes apart!

The route gradually got hillier and there were some serious ups and downs as we reached the North Downs way, and not the nice gentle hills bit! Lots of stiles, an electric fence, more navigational confusions and we eventually reached the turn around in about 2:48... and then it was back the same way again!

As we passed others we heard more tales of folk going astray, but everyone eventually was accounted for! I am not sure anyone actually ended up doing exactly the right route, but we walked, marched and jogged back to the finish again. Rather oddly at the end lots of folks were coming to the finish from the side! I suspect another marker had gone astray towards the end too!

But it was a nice run all in all, oddly slow as only just beat six hours although didn't feel I messed about TOO much! I am guessing the navigational issues maybe slowed things up more than you think sometimes and those 920 stiles too!

Things I Learnt

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