38th Shakespeare Marathon, Stratford- Upon-Avon
Race report by Dave Phillips.
My 1st Stratford was in 1982 (missed the 1st in 1981 as was playing rugger on the same day and didn’t know what a marathon was). Only missed 2 since when they clashed with London so this was my 35th Stratford and 493rd so getting there –even if slowly.
I started early today in order to make sure I got to the 11.5 mile cut off point that you have to do in about 2.25. So I was on my own for about 5 miles ‘till the half marathon leaders screamed past me in Welford. So obviously I was well up in the field and running with many in the half so all seemed good.
But what a hot day again. Every Sunday is a scorcher at the moment so again power/race walking was the order of the day. The course is not too bad from a hilly perspective but on a 2 lapper they come back to bite you on lap 2. In my case on lap 1 also.
So lap 1 passed without too many problems except for the dead flat Greenway (the old railway line) that bores the pants of you. Dead straight, no tree cover from the sun, dead flat on white sandy ground and you can see for the next mile ahead. Mind numbing.
Then at 11.5 we turned off for lap 2 and all was OK despite the hills being steeper and the sun hotter. But we joined the Greenway about 2 miles further on at Long Marston so the last 5+ miles were all on that dam Greenway thing with loads of runners just walking. In fact at about 22 miles the last 3 of the half were slowly walking/struggling in with a marshal. Made me feel good as I passed them. A 4 1/2 hour half for them maybe?
Finally the never ending boring Greenway came to an end at 25 so it was just literally “a jog in the park” to the finish where my grandkids ran in with me-beating me of course.
So a good day with no complaints except that at the end they announced that next year’s event will be on 28th April. Same day as London apparently. Hmmm. My 500th must be at Stratford as there will be a party afterwards plus some have threatened to run with me.
So Team Phillips watch out-we may have to be split at 2 events for the Brain and Spine Team.
Dave Phillips: 6 hrs 10 mins.
Liverpool marathon next week and Rhein Ruhr marathon in Germany the week after. Getting there.