#282 - A20 Path and Downs Marathon Race Report

Marathon #282 A20 Path and Downs done! Very pleased with 3:42 a mere 71 minute course PB and 3rd quickest marathon ever. Bearing in mind the. 1500' of up and I walked up four hills may well be my best ever run! Great to see so many familiar faces!


For some odd scheduling reason this weekend in late November always seems to be popular with races, would like to do 3 or 4, but as the A20 is just a few minutes from Rachel's its really a no brainer to be doing as enables a marathon to be done with a 5 mile drive rather than something silly! Throw in that its a nice enough route, well organised and nice aid stations, a road marathon and popular with the "usual suspects" then what's not to like?!


We'd gotten there maybe 90 minutes early as I knew from the year before that parking was a bit tight and spent a pleasant hour plus chatting to folk that we knew. Unfortunately Rachel was feeling under the weather so in the end decided not to run but was nice to see her pop up a couple of times on the course!

I'd done this race in 2012 and made the mistake of starting right near the back and as the first mile or two are on narrow pathways I decided to start off way further forward this time, I must have got the spot about right as I'd say in the first two miles I think I over took one person and two overtook me, so in the perfect pen more or less so to speak!

I had planned to not wear headphones for this one, or at least just on the pavement parts (I'd say maybe 9-10 miles were on pavements and 16-17 on pretty quiet but open roads. But in the end actually kept them on the whole time which actually turned out to be rather frustrating as for the third pair of Skull Candy headphones they tend to get "stuck" sending my iPod shuffle instructions from the control thingie... and having a track play for 10 seconds and start again, and start again, and start again... gets fairly annoying! On the plus side that did distract me from time to time from the general suffering of the legs!

The route is one of two halves, the first is rather more hilly than the second and has three long drags, really quite steep in places, the flip side being though is that you can just pile it on downhill. Its just over 1500' of up according to my Garmin which sounds about right, not super hilly, but you know about them! Must confess to having 4 walk breaks, though even on those I did jog a bit of the less steep bits, also my aid station discipline was excellent, its something I'm trying to improve on, I can waste ages at them. But I only stopped briefly at three I think it was in the end, and either by accident or design (and its colder!) I've been drinking a bit less on recent marathons so its easier to skip them. One simple way to get quicker marathon times is save time there! Garmin had me stationary for 50 seconds, which sounds a bit much I'd have thought, but I'll believe it!

Because of the hills I always knew that my usual daft pacing ideas weren't going to be working as usual here, but I was really pleased with my effort level, speed level and general level! 8 miles in the 7:xx, 12 in the 8:xx and even the long walking breaks only resulted in miles in the 10:xx area, whereas last year more like the 13:xx level. Last mile was 7:35 (which was a bit downhill) but that must be a first for me!

Really pleased with a 3:42, would have been very happy with sub 4:00 and I kind of expected a 4:10-4:15 type run really as its the sort of course where you can find lots of places to have a bit of a walk if you want to. One thing I noticed though was that I think Bear 100 might be out of my legs now, didn't feel anything in the calf muscles up hills that I have done since then so that was good. Also finding I'm getting rather better at going up slight inclines, it's nothing much, serious hills I still die a death, but those inclines I once would have been labouring up or walking up and running up and only a little off flat pace now so that's good.

I'd actually rate this as my best ever marathon run, whilst only my third quickest, was by far the hardest of those three, by 10 minutes perhaps? Hard to tell exactly as the downhills are so runnable, so maybe less...

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