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The Autumn Shakespeare Marathon

15/11/2014

With an ambition to set a PB for the marathon before the end of the year, Vicky Hart entered the Autumn Shakespeare Marathon at Stratford-Upon-Avon, she reports as follows...

"After the disappointment of not being able to race well at my target marathon last month I decided to enter another one to try one more PB attempt before the year was over. Having run a marathon PB after my daughter Annabel was born, my focus for 2014 was to do the same after having Daniel in the spring.

Despite what I knew would be a long round trip to the race and being only 4 weeks after the Mallorca Marathon, it seemed like the Autumn Shakespeare Marathon was my best option. In the lead-up to the race I faced a number of set-backs, and I wasn't as race fit as I was in October but I still felt I could give it good attempt.

The weather conditions couldn't have been more different to my last marathon - it literally was 20 degrees cooler at a very pleasant 11 degrees. It was a little overcast and only a light breeze as we started, and although the wind picked up and there was a little drizzle later on the conditions were good for running.

The race is run on the runways and paths of an old airfield and although this made for a flat route there were many sharp corners to be negotiated each time you ran round the 5km loop. The marathon involved running a 5km route in the shape of a cross, running out and back on each leg of the cross. After finishing your 8th lap of the 5km route you then run an extra out and back on a 2km loop before running down the racetrack to the finish line.

When I have run a marathon previously I have always tried to get to halfway still feeling comfortable and then started working in the second half, but I knew that if I was to do that on this occasion then there was no chance of a PB. So I set off from the start at a strong pace with the goal of seeing if I could keep that going to halfway and then try and hang on each lap after that. I was really pleased with how the race was progressing and at half way I was well on target. Although I was starting to fatigue, I was still managing to keep ahead of my target pace.  My left leg started to become very painful on the penultimate 5km loop due to the repeated sharp left hand turns out and back round the barrels that marked the furthest away points of the course. This meant I had to work even harder to maintain my pace and halfway round my final lap I had to briefly stop to be sick and then about 1km later I had to stop due to a painful stitch. It was very frustrating as I could feel the time slipping away but I managed to get going again and worked really hard round the final 2km loop to cross the finish line in a chip time of 3 hours 52 minutes and 29 seconds.

I was delighted and relieved to achieve the PB that had been my main target for 2014 and all things considered I know I can run a even faster time in the future. It was a nice surprise to later find out that I was 2nd FV35 and 8th Lady overall."

Vicky.

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