#283 - Enigma Track Marathon Race Report

Marathon #283 Enigma Track Marathon done! PB alert- 3:31:14!! Another advert for my suicide pacing strategy... 1:37 for the first half and then hold on for dear life! Died a bit at the end but held on for an 8 minute PB so very pleased with that indeed, ran every step too! Thanks to Kaz Hurrell for crewing me!

So now the official results are out and time was 3:29:13!! Looks like Karen made some of us do an extra lap! lol Jim... have a check of the results on the Engima site, not sure if you were over 1 or 2 laps compared to your Garmin data you shared earlier!


Track marathons aren't everyone's cup of tea! 105.5 laps of a 400m running track really does encapsulate the phrase "running around in circles!" OK, ovals, but its not much different, I really like them myself, this in fact would be my 11th such event so as soon as Foxy announced this one i was down on the list (I was bib #1 in fact.). They're very social events, you see everyone constantly and you've got a 105 aid stations, you can leave stuff besides the track, its flat, what's not to like? OK the going round and round...


Was a new venue for me so took 2 minutes to ascertain where it was, glad I did as it seemed a few folk got sent the wrong way by their sat navs. Need not have rushed though as was locked up when I got there and by the time the place was opened and the chip timing folk were ready then we started maybe 15-20 minutes late, was no big deal as a nice enough day for late November and there was a changing room place where we could keep reasonably warm and have a chat and catch up with folk.

Was good to see Keith Scrivener there, (100 Marathon Club stalwart) he suffered a stroke some time back and first time I'd seen him for ages. The event was also a 6 hour ultra so you could roll up and do whatever you wanted and not get a DNF if you didn't want to go to 26 miles or beyond. Was pretty chilly, bit of a breeze but dry and you'd take that this time of year. Needed gloves!

Being a track marathon I didn't wear any music as would be awkward at best and dangerous at worst not to be able to hear other runners coming behind you and I intended sticking to the inside like as much as I could get away with all the time I was running well. So off we went, Adam Holland was in the house so that was the end of that as a contest per se, Jon Errington had him for the first bend, and then walked the rest of the time as he was suffering from some injury issues and I settled down in to it.

I was going really pretty well and although Garmins aren't rock solid accurate on track marathons I tend to think they're better than most people think and they're good for pace and lap counting. So started off at about 1:45 for each lap of 400m and stayed there for a decent while, slowly drifting down to the 1.50 or so area.

There really isn't too much to say, went round and round! Word here, word there, comment here, comment there! First objective once I figured out things were going OK was beyond 15 miles at sub 8:00 but was going so well I revised that to 10 miles at 7:30. Then at halfway I was there in 1:37, just under 7:30 pace and only four minutes off my Cottonwood half time, so from then on in was PB hunting time! Just hold on, and hold on... and I did. Managed 7:30 pace till 15 miles as the laps started leeching out to 1:55 area but was pushing hard the whole time.

Nobody was handing out water so I asked Kaz Hurrell to fill up my bottle as didn't want to stop, which she kindly did twice and onwards I went! Didn't want to stop for food either so my entire race was fuelled by a packet of Clif Shot Bloks, will admit about mile 23 to starting to feel a bit light headed, but didn't want to stop. I really did run every step of the way!

The bad news was on the lap counting front, on two or three occasions I'd checked to see if the chip count and my garmin count was the same and that worked, but discovered about lap 92 or 93 that they were making us run 106 laps when I had just assumed and my mental calculations were based on that it was going to be 105 (i.e. you just ignore the first 195m which is the usual convention on track marathons) Will admit that knocked the stuffing out of me a little bit, wasn't going to stop to discover or enquire why there was a difference, after all only another 400m but then made sub 3:30 so much harder to achieve and I was dying on my feet by now. Oh well. Did push as hard as I could for the last 3 or 4k and was very pleased to come in at 3:31, an 8 minute PB!

Chatting to folk afterwards (I'd abandoned any idea of doing the 6 hour option!) it seemed I wasn't the only one who thought that they had done an extra lap, but whilst I was 100% sure on that, wasn't going to make a fuss about it, it was no big deal. Karen put it down to folk counting the first 195m as a lap, which I know I didn't do and Foxy said there was some kind of delay on the chip timing. Oh well, a guilt free extra cookie!

Later on it transpired that lots of folks had done an extra lap so most people were 2/3 minutes quicker, wish now I'd kicked harder on my second to last lap rather than the final one which was just ignored! So times went down when the results came out and time was 3:29:14 rather than 3:31:14 dipping under 3:30 for the first time.

So now an official sub 3:30 marathoner, somewhat anti-climatically, not quite the same hours afterwards! Always seems to be "something" happens at a track marathon on the counting front, seems to be the nature of the beast! Still a good day out though!

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