Dorchester Marathon & Half – 27.5.18

My marathon running exploits are renowned.  Unfortunately not for speed, grace and running style as I would wish for but for things that go wrong!

My last few reports have bordered on boring as I have had everything, turned up and run 26.2 miles.

However, today’s marathon was a return to form on an epic scale; epitomised by the fact that I am sat in my boxer shorts smeared from my head down to my ankles in natural yogurt in an attempt to calm down my sunburn.  The white of the yogurt really complimenting the red of my burn much like our club quarters! I apologize to any of you that have a good imagination for that image now burnt into you brain.

In past reports, I had raved about the excellent events put on by White Star Running – always trail and normally long but how much is always the question.

So the idea of an officially measured and certified road race with all the WSR touches including camping made Dorchester Marathon a must do event!  However last year I had taken the early bird offer from RnR Liverpool so missed out and had to read all about it from Mylene and Cathy Keay!

So as soon as it opened for 2018 I booked Mary and I on to the marathon and even booked a pitch for a tent or caravan.

As soon as work stopped for half term I was home and packed in 15 minutes – everything I could possibly need (even two lots of P20 suncream of different factors!).

To make a really weekend of.running I.booked a hotel on Friday night so we could enjoy so very relaxed parkrun tourism at Andover (Read the run report here!)

As Mary had the day off work on Friday she spent time getting everything together we would need for camping! However as I found out at the Travelodge in Andover this surprisingly didn’t include what I would consider camping essentials – pegs, mallet, sleeping bag, pillows, lights & chairs!

I only have myself to blame as Mary had previously forgotten the sleeping bag before on a camping trip!  Yes, it may have been 20 years ago so she really should have remembered as I like to remind her of this often.

In fact Mary was slightly nervous that she may have forgotten the tent and.only packed the new porch!  Thankfully that worry was unnecessary.

Being miles from a Go Outdoors, Decathlon or pretty much any large conurbation it was a challenge to locate what we needed – Thank goodness for Halfords carrying a summer camping basics range even in small store!

Arriving on site I checked in with the base admin (Pitch was perfectly paid for!)  Mary waited in the car. The pitch master came.over to the car and asked Mary what size the tent was?!  Her reply whilst accurate was useless – ‘I’m not sure it might just be the porch!’. Thankfully I was on hand to indicate the berthing.

Despite rock hard ground, cheap replacement pegs (14 bent beyond use from one tap!) and wifely advice.  The tent was up in no time. Although very close to our neighbours but in our designated spray marked pitch!  Very different from other WSR camping where you pitch where you want.

A quick trip into Dorchester got us a pre marathon meal (cold pasta pot!) and two chairs.

The pasta was quickly consumed and one chair was quickly destroyed – my manly athletic frame was too much for the aluminium tubing!

Lying in my new sleeping bag with my head on my new pillows in new pillow cases… I started to sleep – a black out tent is the way forward.  

The strange rumblings filled the tent!  Initially I worried the pasta pot didn’t agree with Mary, but then the flashing started.  As well as hundreds of pitter patters all over the tent! The promised thunderstorms.had arrived.

I did the husbandly thing.  I rolled over and snored loudly to try and drown out the thunder.  What a kind thoughtful husband I am!

Race day arrived with the sound of howling children!  Not mine but some other runners noisy brats. At least it was 6:30 and time to forage for food.

Overnight, the stalls had multiplied, one coffee shop became two.  It is amazing what happens when you add water! The new van even sold a range of porridges – luckily they had a standard variety.  Breakfast was sorted, so it was time to sort the kit.

No matter what the weather I run in the same kit!  In cold weather, I warm up. In warm weather I boil.  Running naked is frowned upon! Mary has to be careful to.manage her airways with her asthma.  So carefully checking the weather forecast, a vest was ditched and a t-shirt and waterproof gilet worn.  As she ties her laces the thunderous downpour signified she had made the correct choice it seemed.

As the pre race briefing started the clouds vanished.  As the town crier eulogised Mary removed her gilet.

The race started and puddles were splashed through.  The displaced water droplets didn’t seem to hit the floor as they turned to water vapour.

Twisting and turning through Dorchester the route started.  Half marathoners making their way from hotels joined locals clapping and cheering.  Just as the atmosphere rose so did the temperature. Increasing the humidity. For the first 2 hours it was like.running in a steamy bathroom surrounded by beautiful scenery.

By the first water station I was freely spraying sweat from the peak of my cap to anyone and everyone close by!

Before starting my run, I couldn’t decided which WSR squeaky toy I should run with.  I even had a squeaky conversation for a while with them. Much to my amusement although this wasn’t widely shared!  So I ran with them all.

Compared to me the additional weight was nothing.  However one unfortunately side.effect was that they squeaked.  Apparently loudly. Not just when squeezed but each step I took!  Initially it was like having a Muppet choir – cheering you along. However later they just goaded and jeered at me as I ran at least they ignored me when I walked.

It can’t have been that bad as Mary hasn’t hidden them from me this time!  Apparently after a few days they can become slightly irritating.

White Star Runs usually are hilly!  Dorchester was hilly! But the views at the top made it worthwhile.  The bottom of the hills seemed to pass through pretty villages that wouldn’t look out of place on a chocolate box.  In fact each village seemed prettier than the last.

It must be rather annoying to have your local roads either fully or partially closed.  However the locals didn’t seem to mind as they came out to cheer and clap as runners passed.  Some even set up sprays to cool hit runners or offer extra water stop.

The humidity of the first two hours soon passed and was replaced by a baking sun.  Which had most definitely not been forecast at 8am on the BBC APP – and after listening to Radio 4’s More or Less this week I was confident I had read the forecast correctly.

Even though I was carrying suncream in my kit bag I didn’t stop to apply it.  I didn’t feel like I was burning, it didn’t look like I was burning and I was so sweaty and salty it wouldn’t have taken anyway.  I kept on running.

This was Mary’s 2nd marathon after her comeback from injury and diabolical and minimally treated asthma so she hadn’t totally logged the miles as she had only resumed running in March.  I stayed with her the whole way!

This meant that for once I got to have my say uninterpreted as she could barely breathe and grunt a reply. (Bliss). Her coach (me) wasn’t really happy for her to attempt a marathon for a few months but she is stubborn and keen to log more to her tally.  

With the rising temperatures I stopped at Londis for an ice cream, impressing other runners and the pub garden drinkers as I passed devouring my icy treat.

At mile 20 I was greeted at the infamous Lovestation with ‘Nipplesman, how are they today!’. Thankfully no first aid was needed this time so I could enjoy the tasty treats on offer before the final hilly 6 miles home.

This was an excellent event.  Probably the best road marathon I have done – definitely not for time but for cost, organisation, support from marshals, locals and superb scenery.

Rather than enjoy the band and the Piddle brews in the bar all evening wearing our medals and t-shirts before coming back on Bank Holiday Monday, we had to swig down our Watercress Smoothies (Actually really nice) decamp and head home as I have managed to book a course on Monday.

We will definitely be doing this race next year if GCSEs allow (Beth’s not ours) would be great to be joined by other Massey Runners.