After running my fourth marathon this year, with no great disasters or an amazing race performance with a smashing PB I wasn’t going to both submitting a race report. Then checking back I realised I also skimped on a report for a similar race last year – Report Fatigue! Although I am not sure if that is for the readers or the writer! As I have really enjoyed both races I felt I should really share my recommendation for these events.
Engima Running put on small running events (Number of runners rather than distance) in the Milton Keynes area. These low key multi lap / multi day events within easy driving distance of the Coventry area make these perfect for anyone on the quest for the vest – (I am not even sure if I am on that quest yet!) 7 Marathons in 7 days – might make you go Weak at the Knees? Quadzilla – do you need to ask? Or in this case two marathons over and on the Easter Bank Holidays. As with any of these races you don’t have to do both you can enter a single days race.
Being a little over a week before Coventry Way I felt it would be a nice taper or long slow training run so I went to sign up – unfortunately it had sold out! But the fates smiled kindly on me or rather Foxy (The Race Organiser) and move a few places from Easter Monday to Friday so I was in!
Finishing work on Thursday I was slightly unprepared for my marathon– quelle surprise and decided to wing it in the morning! Not always good for running but normally good for a race report. But previous race experience are clearly rubbing off as I forgot nothing essential! I even arrived at registration earlier enough to get one of the special Fox Tubes – like a WSR muff or a trademarked Buff! You have got to love headwear when your head is showing a lot of wear!
Even though this was a 7 (and a bit) lap marathon (3.55miles each) around Caldecotte Lake, I decided to go with my full race pack rather than leave extra supplies at the aid station, as this was my one training run for Coventry Way I felt I should do a full kit test. Although every time I passed the aid station I would indulge in a jaffa cake.
With my totally inability to pace myself over a long run – actually make that ANY run! – I purchased an MP3 player so if I didn’t have company to chat for many miles I could have music. So it was that rather than pack on Thursday night I download 800 of the most eclectic mix of music ever from my laptop! 60s classics, funk, soul and punk from the 70s, cheesy 80s pop classics, 90s dance music – even Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem! Even music from this century… Omi’s Cheerleader even some Bieber – although I may have skipped this. Sorry Justin.
As runners shot off in front of me and before the downward slope under the bridge I was on my own so I pressed play and continued to run.
This was the second time I have run this exact course – even the same way round! The familiarity soon came flooding back to me. The path heading out of the aid station down and up to the dam and weir – got to love a water feature on a run. Across a grass track before looping through a green space aside houses over-looking the lake, under a pagoda and more woodland lake side before passing under the bridge and looping around 2! large amphitheatres around parts of the lake overlooked by executive looking flats with a waterside view.
However running on a Bank Holiday rather than a weekday did have a few differences. The rowing club that use the lack had a new to rowing group out on the lake with coaches pulling on rope and shouting advice to novices – unfortunately for me none fell in (Coaches or novices)! The industrial / office units were empty so no workers on the table tennis table; back under the bridge and pass the windmill / pub to start another lap!
Four the first 4 laps the relatively flat loop passed nicely enough maybe a little bit quickly! Then it came… the rain!
Exactly as forecast 12pm.
Having in my pack an underused lightweight top I decided that I would pull it on! A most sensible decision. As less than an hour later the heavens would properly open! Then for the remaining time drizzle or rain intermittently – what a start to spring !
At 17miles I wasn’t feeling it any more – wet and chilly I was all for giving this one up but then I was saved! As much as I know Craig Keenan will rib me for this I was saved by Miley Cyrus! ‘The Climb’ came on my MP3 player.
I can almost see it
That dream I’m dreaming but
There’s a voice inside my head saying
You’ll never reach it,
Every step I’m taking,
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking but I
Gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
The almost prophetic lyrics spurred me on and invent a new form of running – Freeplay Fartleks!
With ever change of tune I had to change the pace – At this point it wasn’t between 10km pace and marathon pace more between shuffling and walking – but every step was on closer to the end. I even had to add a few rules – forced on me by bizarre musical choices – if I didn’t like a tune I would have to keep running until I found one I did enjoy.
At times it did seem that luck wasn’t on my side as the 60s classics seemed to always be in my walk breaks. Therefore over in 2 ½ minutes. Whereas Soft Cell’s full length classic Tainted Love and Meatloaf’s 10 minute epic Bat Out of Hell ended up as very very long running interval tunes.
If any other Enigma Runners where still on course at this point and reading my report I would like to offer my apologies not for my choice of music – Venga Boys, Alice Cooper and MC Hammer are all classics – but for singing along (loudly!) Especially to the lady that heard my rendition of Tiffany’s I think we’re alone now, as she lapped me… At that point I did think I was alone! It could have been worse it could have been during my Rendition of Reel 2 Reel’s, I like to move it!
At the start of the day I waitied chatting to Kat, Gina and Lynda about the option of an extra lap and a bit to run a 50km Ultra that was on offer – and even 8 hours cut off! And you only needed to declare you intention after you finished the marathon!
After hearing the bell for my last lap in the marathon (not a literary bell but a real life clanking cow bell) I started with Dead or Alive’s, You spin me right round playing followed by Kylie Spinning around and next then Vic Reeves & The Wonder Stuff I decided to let my MP3 player give me a clue if I should stop or not.
With my MP3 playing the La’s, There She Goes, I saw Lynda – Aka Punk Runner (Not Drunk Runner as I misread at a previous marathon) – start her 8th lap, I decided that leaving the fate in the hands of music would work. Dropping to a walk with Bananarama singing Robert De Niro’s Waiting I realised Foxy would be waiting for a decision, well after 5 hours of running I am sure there is a likeness. So as with the track ending and passing the water sports centre for the slope towards the finish I started to run knowing that the next track would decide my journey.
Within less than one second of hearing the squeal of electric guitar I knew that my race was to end at a marathon. It was time to sit down and enjoy having racked up another marathon.