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Clarendon Way Marathon – 7 October 2012

Salisbury –Winchester Multi-Terrain. Jon Braund reports.

Even though I hadn't done further than 13 miles since the 32 mile ‘Doddle’ seven weeks back, I had the best intentions of tapering the week before the marathon. Then on Tuesday I decided it would be fun to do a circuit, the first for about 8 weeks.  Now, the first time I do this is always bad news. The soreness built up over the next couple of days although I did get out for a jog on the Friday. By Saturday one leg was fine and the other had a heat patch on ...

I was up early on Sunday to drive to the Winchester Park & Ride for the race bus to Salisbury where I met Jerry, Pete and some non-WAC friends. It’s 10.25, standing at the start bouncing around I’m trying to warm up the dodgy leg, I felt the five gels I had in my pockets pulling my shorts south. Five minutes later I was still trying, unsuccessfully, to recover the end of the drawstring that had got lost in the waistband when we started and Jerry disappeared into the distance. After a few minutes the shorts seemed to be staying up so I settled my mind on the race (mental note, check before the race in future). The weather before the start had been cloudy and cool with a bit of moistness in the air, not good for standing around in but great for running. Luckily it stayed like that pretty much all the way.

I settled into the usual pattern of running with people for a while, the occasional exchange of comments, changing companions as we went up and down hills and through water stops at different speeds. I really enjoy the variety of this course - tracks, fields, woods, plenty of hills, a few puddles and some mud, even a bit of road! Usually it has some great views but fewer this year with the misty weather. The mile markers counted down from 26 and they were soon ticking past regularly - the benefit of an interesting route for me.

I had set off doing a bit over 8 minute miles which, given that my PB for this course was 3:49, was too fast (according to the wayward mile markers I even did a 5 minute mile between 2 and 3!). Although I tried to slow down a bit I got to Broughton, the halfway mark, in 1.46. Having stopped at a drinks station, I looked up and saw Pete Lemon ahead - he'd run through. I shouted a greeting, caught up and we ran together for several miles, welcome company.

I had a faint hope that we might have got through Broughton ahead of the half-marathoners who start there 1:45 after us but we soon started catching the back markers. This meant that the mud was churned up by several hundred runners instead of maybe 60 - all part of the challenge! There followed a period when we were overtaking half-marathoners steadily which made judging pace hard, but soon tired legs, big hills and narrow, muddy paths made the overtaking less frequent.

I had ground up a few hills in the first half but in the second they seemed longer and harder, and Pete and I walked up a couple. Towards the top of one of these I was slightly in front and I think started running sooner and got a bit ahead. The gentlemanly thing would have been to wait but I was worried about losing my own rhythm so I pushed on, meeting Jools and then Nikki, who were doing the half, a bit later.  The last few miles had some seriously muddy patches, some bits churned up by heavy forestry machinery, but these were negotiated. I allowed myself to walk up a final bit of off-road uphill on a really rubbish path (I didn't really have any choice but last time I tried to run up it and failed in frustration), jogged the last undulating mile or so and in the last 400 yards I even got up onto my toes a bit more and felt quite good - although the photo at the finish doesn't look like it.  My legs felt OK too (compared to how they sometimes are) which I think is a benefit of running off-road with a softer surface and more variety of stride. I finished in 3:46 which I was pleased with.

The Clarendon Marathon is well organised (by the Winchester and Salisbury Rotary Clubs) and well marshalled. There seems to be plenty of company on the run, especially in the second half, and quite a few knots of supporters  (at one point I wondered if people coming out to watch marathon runners go past is the modern equivalent of the 18th century entertainment of going to stare at lunatics).  It's one of my favourites and I plan to be there again next year.

WACers results:


14 – Jerry Shield – 3:26:27
54 – Jon Braund – 3:46:54
62 – Pete Lemon – 3:49:48

Half Marathon

193 – Julie James – 2:11:54

A fabulous rolling route – Profile - net climb of 80 metres



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