New Forest Marathon

27 Sep

Before I tell you about my latest marathon, I’d like to say a big thank you to Sandra from ‘A Promise to Dad‘ for reposting one of my posts – please go and check out her blog – it’s a great record of her achievements ūüėÄ

New Forest Marathon number

I felt strangely calm in the run up to the start of the New Forest Marathon ‚Äď probably because I was aware that I had not trained well enough to achieve a PB, although I was confident that I could finish the race and had decided to treat it as a long, slow, run with a friend. It was a weird feeling, as I‚Äôm usually nervous before big races. Although I didn’t expect a PB, I reckoned that I could beat my time from last year:

Mar 4:44:55 New Forest Marathon 23 Sep 12
Mar 4:32:01 Milton Keynes Marathon 29 Apr 12
Mar 4:29:33 Paris Marathon 7 Apr 13

Stuart and I arrived at the start quite early, so we had a chance to see the half marathoners before they left. Stu had brought his bike, so that he could cycle around the course with Alice and Alice and cheer the LRRs on. It was a different atmosphere from last year, when the cold rain forced everyone to find shelter wherever possible. There were lots of runners joining in with the warm up and also a local pipe band.

Carl's groovy warm up moves

Carl’s groovy warm up moves

IMG_1425 IMG_1424 IMG_1423

I had intended to go and cheer at the start of the race, but it suddenly struck me that I had less than 45 minutes to get myself ready. It was a little disappointing that I wasn’t able to hunt down Steve, my former colleague, but I needed to make some important decisions, such as how many bottles of water to carry and how many packets of shotbloks to take.

Before I knew it, it was time for us to line up. There were flags telling us where to start‚Ķ but ominously there was only a 4+ hours section ‚Äď nothing for 4:30 or 5 hours!

Start of the New Forest Marathon © Aniek Scorey

Start of the New Forest Marathon © Aniek Scorey

Start of the New Forest marathon (© Stuart Smith)

Start of the New Forest marathon (© Aniek Scorey)

Start of New Forest marathon ©Stuart Smith

Start of New Forest marathon ©Stuart Smith

Starting the New Forest marathon (©Stuart Smith)

Starting the New Forest marathon (©Stuart Smith)

Irene and I set off quite well, but we had to keep reminding each other to slow down. The miles started to tick by, especially as we found ourselves surrounded by 100 club marathoners. At 9k, we started to pass the slowest half marathoners who had started an hour before us. I know some people will think I’m being negative and hypocritical and I understand that we all have different challenges in life, but it seems strange to enter a half marathon without intending to run it… two hours to do 10k isn’t even walking quickly!

At 10k, we saw Mike and Pauline Dukes and Lawrence. High five!

Seeing Mike Dukes at the 10k point of the New Forest marathon (© Lawrence Chen)

Seeing Mike Dukes at the 10k point of the New Forest marathon (© Lawrence Chen)

We had a chat with Brian Mills (the chap with the tattoos in the photo above)… who was running his 997th marathon. He is hoping to be the first British man to complete 1000 marathons – with his next three marathons already having been booked. He is also rumoured to have a butterfly tattoo for each of his marathons!

We kept running and watching out for our cheerleaders. unfortunately, the weather was far warmer than I’d hoped and by the time we got to 9 miles, I was feeling very hot. Then finally, at the half marathon turn off point, we saw Stu.

At the half marathon turn off (9 miles into New Forest marathon) (© Stuart Smith)

At the half marathon turn off (9 miles into New Forest marathon) (© Stuart Smith)

At the 9 mile point (©Stuart Smith)

At the 9 mile point (©Stuart Smith)

It was great to see a supporter (even if Alice and Alice had already left at that point to chase their chaps). It was also good to be able to throw my hat to Stu, in the hope that I would be able to cool down a bit.

We carried on running and were surprised that Rhiannon and Simon were still with us, as we knew that they were aiming for around 4:25-4:30. At 12 miles we reached the first off-road part of the race, which was where Irene and I started to slow down. Simon started moving ahead and we urged Rhiannon to continue with him. Irene wanted a comfort break and I wanted to walk for a little bit and take on some water. I wasn’t bothered about what other people would think of me stopping to walk during a race, but I knew it was a risky strategy as it was likely to make e feel faint and dizzy. Fortunately, I was able to walk for about five minutes, so the dizziness passed and I was able to start running again with Irene.

Going though Burley © Stuart Smith

Going though Burley © Stuart Smith


Burley, New Forest marathon ©Stuart Smith

Burley, New Forest marathon ©Stuart Smith

Stuart kept popping up along the run route and we also saw Alice Y. at about 14 miles. She explained that the heat was taking its toll on some of our friends and that they had either dropped out or were running more slowly than they had expected ūüė¶

Climbing the hill in Burley © Stuart Smith

Climbing the hill in Burley © Stuart Smith

We kept going, but the temperature seemed to be rising and by 20 miles, our lack of training was starting to show as Irene and I were both starting to feel stiff and tired. Our both was dropping, and we both just wanted to finish. It was great to see the crowd of LRRs waiting for us at the 23 mile point, and gave us just enough adrenaline to get us through the last 3 miles.

Finally, the school was in sight… but Irene and I didn’t have the energy to sprint. the speed humps in the last 100m felt like hurdles, so we ended up dragging ourselves across the line in over 5 hours. So, in the end, the race didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped or expected, but I can cross it off my list of goals for the year

NF Marathon result

For a different perspective on the race, check out Hannah’s blog post:

Although I didn’t do as well as I had hoped to, it was great that some of my clubmates did well. Roy was 3rd V60 Male and Di was 2nd V45 female. They won lovely hand painted mugs. Well done!

Di's lovely 2nd V45 mug

Di’s lovely 2nd V45 mug


7 Responses to “New Forest Marathon”

  1. AndrewGills 27/09/2013 at 8:49 pm #

    The reason people enter a running race knowing they will have to walk is simply because they have the courage to try. They want to be part of the action and challenge themselves without waiting for that time when they know for sure that they’ll succeed.

    • tamsynsmith 27/09/2013 at 10:44 pm #

      That’s true, Andrew. They made a brave decision and I’ve judged them harshly. I was having a spectacularly negative day today and am being hypercritical of everyone (myself included).

      A big topic here in the UK at the moment is the London Marathon, as people have found out this week whether or not they’ve got a place through the ballot. There has been a lot of discussion amongst people I know about whether places have gone to people who ‘deserve’ them. We all know people who are keen runners, that are desperate to do the race and who will train as hard as they can, as well as people who have received places in the past and who have withdrawn at the last minute because they haven’t prepared… however, there are always a few people who seem like unlikely candidates who really step outside of their comfort zone to tackle a challenge like a marathon. Last year, my brother in law and his wife chose to run the London Marathon for a charity that means a lot to them. Neither of them runs regularly, but they are both reasonably healthy. My brother in law was able to find the time to train, but his wife found that after work, she ended up looking after their children and so she didn’t manage to get out as often. Her troubles were compounded by her asthma and her petite stature (she’s under 5′ tall). In the end, my brother in law was ill during his race, but he was determined to complete it for the charity and my sister in law completed it in over six hours. Although her time may not seem amazing, I know how hard it was for her and how much she tried… and now 18 months later she has decided to take up running again. I don’t know the backstories of the walkers that I saw on Sunday, but at least they were out doing something when it would have been easier to be sitting at home.

      • Sandra 28/09/2013 at 3:00 pm #

        But the exciting picture? YOU FINISHED WITH UNDER 12:00 minute miles! I cannot even get to that at the 7 mile mark ūüôā Congratulations for battling through, what a great achievement! Congratulations!
        And thanks for the note at the top of the blog. You’re a sweet heart.

    • Sandra 28/09/2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Nobody knows the challenges others faced to get to that point ūüôā


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