Race report by Tony Payne
Sunday 8th September saw a fine late summers day coming up over Hampshire, and also a huge number of visitors to New Park, where the New Forest Marathon event was being held. Despite the name of the event, there are a number of runs ranging from a Woodland Walk up to the full 26.2 miles.
The organisation and manning of the event were second to none and at 08:45 the Marathon runners were called to the warm up arena where we were all treated to a 10 minute session with lively music and an enthusiastic group of participants. No sooner were we done there and led to the start line, when the gun was fired and we were off.
I was hoping for a time of just under four hours, and with the weather not yet too hot I was feeling good. I’m not very good at pacing myself and was actually running a little bit faster than I had intended but decided to continue for the moment anyway. The route was on a mixture of surfaces, but the going underfoot was always dry and stable, and not too undulating. The scenery was exactly what you’d expect from the New Forest, with a mixture of woodland and open heathland. The crowds and volunteers were all very supportive, and having your name printed under the bib number means they could cheer you on with that personal touch, something which always helps me towards the end of the race.
With about six miles to go, I started to flag a little bit, but managed to pick myself up with one last gel pack and an energy drink from the water station. Even then the last mile was decidedly slower than the first! Luckily for me, the time I had made up at the beginning of the race was enough to see me to the end in a record time (for me) of 3:54:45, which was a full 15 seconds quicker than I had planned.
The whole event was really well planned and executed and I’d recommend it to anybody who fancies a stroll through an ancient English woodland on a summer’s day!
New Forest Events – Results.
Marathon. Tony Payne. 3:54:46 (PB) Well done!
Half marathon. Jerry Shield 1:26:24. 2nd of 205 in his age group
Sarah Gentry. 2:06:49
Glyn Davies 1:59:24
10k. Vickianne Gough. 55:48 5th of 163 in her age group