Sunrise to Sunset – 8:20am to 4:01pm – 27.12.18

Mary is very keen to join the 100 marathon club after having fallen in love with marathons after her very first Beachy Head Marathon in 2014.  If I hadn’t already booked a 2nd marathon before Beachy Head I would have forever remained on 1 as I spent 15 miles hating everything about it!  But ask any poor suffering spouse, watching a marathon, even a multiple lap event is not the most entertaining way to spend time however devoted you are!  So rather than be on baggage detail I kept signing myself up for events Mary was running as well.  Mary may hold the family marathon best time that I can’t get anywhere near but injury and asthma meant that I have slowly crept ahead of Mary on the Quest for the Vest!

Due to Mary’s irritable asthma (surprisingly for such a sweet person Mary would normally use more colourful language to describe her asthma) her running season normally stops at the end of October and if the weather is decent restarts in April.  Being a wise coach and an even wiser husband who has married a runner I have been trying to extend her running season – vast quantities of kit to rival Decathlon in an attempt to mitigate the worst of a damp or cold autumn and winter.  And also picking short lap marathons so she can change kit at regular intervals rather than carrying everything like a pack horse!  And races with decent cut off times so the pressure is off to race beyond the abilities of her lungs!

Denzil’s Sunrise to Sunset was a perfect event to sign up for her birthday present as you had from sun up at 8:20am until the sun sets 7hrs 41minutes later at 4:01pm to run 44 – 1km ish laps along a fairly flat cycling track to claim your marathon medal.  It was also only just over an hour up the motorway (on the way there) so very cost effect as a present!  This year there was the added bonus of chip timing…  No need to stop each lap and have a card punched!

I was feeling confident that this was the perfect birthday gift ever…  A constant meal out, (the well-stocked aid station was passed each lap – and who doesn’t love cheesy puffs!) free flowing beverages – flat coke, clothing and a piece of jewellery (well medals sparkle and are worn around the neck so must really be necklaces!).

After Mary commented that it would have been nice to have music at our last short lap marathon I had even got her some bone conducting headphones – this husband really knows how to please his woman!  I even let her use my MP3 player – actually she took it as a test and never returned it!

Even the weather played ball being a positively balmy 9 degrees at the start with no rain and at first no wind!

So with race numbers attached, timing chips velcroed to the ankle and proper prerace toilet facilities everything set for the perfect run as the perfect present.  I wasn’t going to be Mr Bump…  The bandages would be removed to reveal MR PERFECT!

Life sometimes likes to have the last laugh!

Despite apparently having charged the MP3 player and headphones they didn’t work! The race didn’t get off to the best start!  Especially as my headphones and new Bluetooth MP3 were fine!  Let’s just say Mary wasn’t amused for 20 laps!!!  However I had a lovely run listening to my new marathon playlist – unfortunately being bone conducting headphones meant that I could still here her gasping asthmatic breathes.  On another positive note as breathing was tricky moaning at me was impossible!

As the wind picked up slightly on the uphill slope running for Mary became harder but as she is a very determined lady she kept on going, if slightly slower.  Adopting a walk run strategy at the same cone and light from last year we made good progress; however as I chatted away to other runners – another benefit to bone conducting headphones I realised that I had increased my pace and left Mary behind.  Unfortunately, I might have only realised this after a few laps!

As the good husband that I am, I decided that Mary would enjoy a little space and time of her own – so kept running and cheerfully waved and commented as we passed on each side of the cycle track.

Following a drink and nutrient strategy of stopping ever hour and walking a lap I decided that after 5 hours I would let Mary catch me up so we could finish together.

On the 2nd walking lap I realised I wasn’t feeling great and that running with Mary would keep me in check – a very sensible decision.  However she caught me up and even though I asked her to stay with me she ran off…

Apparently, she, ‘Didn’t hear me…!’ And just wanted the last three laps finished and the race to end so she could get warm and get her breathing back under control.

This would ultimately prove a big mistake as to teach her a lesson I decided to run out of salt.  Hours of being over dressed in the warm conditions (for me), sweating constantly, and not using the gels and electrolyte tablets I had in my bag – I started to feel mildly strange on the last lap.

Crossing the line I was convinced that we needed to run on.  By this point I might not have been thinking totally clearly.  So grabbing Mary (who was wearing her medal) I tried to get her to run on.  Shouting, ‘More… More…’.  Much to the concern of the Race Director.  Mary wasn’t phased, and blamed me for doing this – Again!

I was unceremoniously sat on an empty water barrel and force fed gels, coke and crisps!  Soon I returned to my normal erudite self!  And then realised Mary had two medals!  Apparently I was a little wobbly so she was looking after mine – a likely story!

Despite my stupidity, I was well looked after by Mary and the race team.  This was another excellent race from How Hard Can It Be (CODRC) and one I would recommend to all next year as a way of burning up any Christmas Excess especially as it has a variety of race options – 10km, Half Marathon and Ultra.  You don’t just have to run a marathon.

This brings to an end another year of marathon exploits from which I probably should learn a lot from however based on my past performance it is unlikely.  I should have stuck to buying Mary a new washing machine for Christmas rather than another 6 marathons!