[Thu 21st Jun]
A new “local” marathon was added this year, sponsored by Karrimor and described as a difficult yet scenic off road marathon it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Susanne and I travelled to Keswick for this one. The day included a number of other races including male and female senior and junior international trail races, this included Steve Vernon and Andi Jones. In addition there were 10 km, Half Marathon and Full Marathons, so plenty of choice for everyone. Just over 900 competed/completed overall on the day.
We decided to do this about a week ago; having done four marathons before this one this year and many others previously we were confident that we could just add this one in! I can honestly say that neither I nor Susanne have ever done anything as difficult and demanding as this.
The course was mainly off road, most of which was on trails, this was fine until you are hit with the mountains of the lakes, which simply put you cannot even consider running up. I suspect that perhaps only the winner ran only some of these. To give an idea we probably had 5 miles of leaning forward, pushing your legs with your arms type of hill walking! Coupled with a lumpy course to start with and the distance of 26.7 miles, it wasn’t going to be a easy day!
To compare it with anything that we have done, if you said say Edinburgh is flat, Druridge is off road and flat, Tynedale 10 mile is a bit lumpy, Kielder is hilly I will give you that one as its “worth” about 20 mins off my marathon pace, this one is off the scale! The winner did it in 3:22 a whopping 35 mins slower that his best of last year.
The weather was good for running, but really cold on
the top of the hills, we have 2 long then 2 short loops to do, if we didn’t do
a small pre loop at the start I think the distance would have been a lot closer
to the true marathon distance, however in an off road marathon you can actually
call it a marathon if its over 25 miles long. There was plenty of water etc en route and
the marshals were mainly local cadets who were very enthusiastic. We ran in road shoes, most others ran in
trail or fell shoes and they were mainly from clubs such as Border Harriers and
say Ilkley in
Overall we kept an even pace on the running parts, some had gone off too fast and a small number simply dropped out after 1 lap or so. Injuries seemed to take their toll too on occasions. This one wasn’t for the faint hearted!!
At the end of the day we came in 13th and 14th, with Susanne in a great 2nd placed lady, the winning lady had caught up with us at about half way and explained that she had hill trained for 8 weeks and was off to win this one. Oh yes and she was 27 years old!!!!
This was a very well organised event, I’m sure they are looking to expand it for future years, most people we spoke to afterwards said “Never Again”, no doubt we will be back next year. Mrs Hunter has a 27 year old to beat!