#301 Malta Marathon Marathon

Marathon #301 Malta Marathon done! 3:40, maybe 3:39 on chip time so pleased enough with that on a surprisingly less downhill course than I imagined it would be! Apparently they've changed the route a little bit so more up than the lying course profile might suggest! lol Bumpy roads had a few trip hazards and a few thousand half marathoners joining the last 10 miles offered a few more! But great to see so many fellow 100MC/usual suspect types, almost like a "home" marathon, lots of excellent performances, none of which were by me! ... Recarbed in Burger King, what's not to like?!!


Was looking around for an overseas winter marathon or two and Malta is quite a popular one for Brits. Direct flights, fairly cheap and the promise of some sunshine at the end of February wasn't to be missed! Throw in a net downhill marathon and it was the place where my sister was born in 1964 when my late father was stationed there during his time in the Navy so was on my vague list of places to want to visit anyway to see what it was like... the downside was the insanely early flight on the Saturday, ah those 3:00am alarm calls.


The "expo" was in a shopping centre, though really was just a packet pick up in a Nike store, bit of a pain as quite a lengthy queue as the hours it was open was fairly limited so everybody had the same idea of course, not that it was a big marathon, I think about 500 runners but there was a bigger half marathon (3000 runners) plus a "walkathon" basically walk the half marathon.

We were sharing the weekend with Heather & Alex and had a car, Alex not being a runner tends to be our chauffeur and as the course is point to point that made it very easy for us to be dropped off at the start rather than messing around with the busses that were shipping people from Valetta to the start in the shadow of M'dina. We met quite a few fellow Brits that we knew and a couple of minutes before the start I made my way up towards the front ready for the off.

Now M'Dina is on a nice hill and we were starting at the top, and the course profile and the reputation of the marathon was all downhill. So I basically was going to go off like the wind and see how long I could hold on for. 30 yards in to the run I noted that we weren't in fact heading off down the nice hill to the left but instead going up hill! That wasn't in the adverts! lol

But off I went anyway, not that far off from the lead really at 7:xx something but before too long we turned right and the downhill fun started, never for long enough of course and one thing that troubled me was the rather poor state of the roads in lots of places, plenty of things to potentially be tripping on so picking a line was important, not that it was like a trail run, but you couldn't just blindly run along.

The other thing I soon discovered was that there were more rises than I expected, and in fact some small hilly, or to be fair incline bits, they seemed to be missing from the adverts too! The breeze was pretty strong too, enough to make a difference when it was in your face for sure. Another "feature" I discovered was that the roads weren't closed, in some places they were coned off but otherwise runners were just in the wild and once or twice cars zipped by rather closer and quicker than you'd have liked.

I (as always really!) did have half thoughts of a PB run but they were tempered by about mile 5 when a bit of deadness was in them and my pace involuntarily slowed a little, so it was music on, head down, pound along. Went through half way in about 1:44 It was all good until about mile 16 when we hit the half marathon and walkathoners. I think I must have just about hit the last of them first as they were going really slowly, and the last 10 miles were basically spent trying to avoid the walkers and slower runners, the worst of the "traffic" was early on whilst I was passing the real slow guys, who of course always seem to be groups of women walking 4 abreast sort of thing...

Last few miles were a bit of a struggle as was getting a bit warmer by now and those little hills had just about sapped out the rest of what life was in my legs, came home just over 3:40, was vaguely hopefully that the chip time might get me a 3:39:xx but alas was a couple of seconds over, hardly any big deal though. Waited a while at the finish area (which was far busier than I imagined it would be!) to wait for Rachel and Heather and job done!

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