#264 - Thames Meander Race Report

Marathon #264 Thames Meander done! August Bank Holiday, so obviously it poured down again! Was more drowned than a drowned rat who had fallen in the Thames! Great event, thanks to David Ross & Melanie Ross , goes from strength to strength! Great to see so many of the "Usual Suspects" out and about! Fairly pleased with my run 4:13, which is actually a PB for a trail marathon for me, got the dreaded "100 mile" dead legs from about 15 miles but nothing awful. One of the sad things about getting a bit quicker is that you start to finish ahead of folk who've been in front of you for years... seems wrong to beat legends.


Always going to be doing this one if possible as its put on by good friends Dave & Mel Ross, pretty local and one of those events where at least half the folk you know are there which makes it a very social occasion. I had ummed and errred about doing Thames Gateway 100 this weekend, or even the 60, but was a bit daft so soon after Berlin Wall 100 and bearing in mind the weather was very pleased I took the option I did! I did get to experience a bit of the dreadfulness of the TG100 when I paced Ellen Cottom through the night for a way, but enough of that one! Weather forecast was a bit iffy upon checking through the week, from torrential downpours to light cloud, the latest one I saw was for a few hours of cloud, then rain, so that's my race plan sorted then. Go like the clappers and try to beat the rain! Oddly similar to 2012 when it was biblical rain at the end...


I'd given Sally Silver a lift up to the race as she's fairly local to me and was her first event back for a while following on from injury (Rachel was in for the TG60 today) so that was pleasant having a bit of a chat and a catch up on the drive up. Found a suitable parking space and headed in to pick up the numbers and have a bit of a chat with folk. Took me about an hour to get out again to get ready as lots of folks to catch up with!

By the time the race started it was drizzling fairly steadily, but nothing to worry about, I was just in regulation 100MC shirt and whilst I thought about a jacket it was pretty mild, so if it rained, was just going to get wet! Ho, ho, ho...

Off we went and have to say the legs felt fairly reasonable bearing in mind the pounding they'd got the week before. The first three miles or so are nicely downhill and through Richmond Park and I pounded along at not that far off Park Run pace. May well be the first marathon I've done the first two miles in the 7:xx, didn't last of course, but soon settled down in to a fairly decent rhythm along the Thames. Now the odd thing about this run is that this first part is basically all downhill, very slightly of course, but it feels uphill to me for some reason! Weird.

For some reason I cannot remember I've always been keen to so 7 miles in the first 60 minutes. Never done that before until... this run, yay me! In fact would have been a 10k PB by about 10 minutes (not having done a 10k for 4 years mind you...) and was pretty good till half way in 1:52, which may well have been my fastest split for a marathon too and had very serious thoughts about a sub 4:00 run. Had a bit of a walk back over Putney Bridge as rather full of people and I had a munch on some jelly babies and flapjack from the aid station and then set off in earnest again.

And if now when it was marginally uphill, it still felt uphill to me! Was about mile 15 that I noticed that my pace was dropping off fairly quickly now and that there wasn't too much go in the legs, by 17 I was taking short walking breaks as they were really beginning to feel "dead" and that was the end of the sub 4:00 idea! It was about now also that the steady drizzle turned into steady rain, and then really fairly hard rain. And I can't claim to be much of a fan of that at the best of times!

I trundled along though, at first trying to tip toe around the rapidly forming puddles but in the end just gave up as was utterly soaked to the bone. Wasn't much running up the "big hill" in Richmond Park but kept up some fairly decent pace to try to get under 4:15 which I just did, 4:13 which was a PB for a trail marathon, so overall was pleased with that. Could have been better, but for a week after a 100 mile run on damaged legs, I think I would take that any time!

Stood around at the finish for a while (under cover!) to cheer a few folk in and then went and changed, have a bit of cake (Peter Bowles 100th marathon) and a bit more of a chat!

Felt oddly sad there in the rain watching some runners coming in, was the first time I'd beaten Danny Kay, who to be fair is over 70 these days but one of those guys who has always invariably been far ahead of me. Last year he'd caught me about mile 10 I'd say, this year I passed him on the way back at maybe mile 14, so 2 miles behind me, and fully expected for him to be passing me as I slowed down... but not to be. Seems a bit of the changing of the guard perhaps? Not even the same beating Roger Biggs when its the third time!

All in all a very nice marathon and just pleasant to get to have a bit of a catch up with lots of folk!

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