Viking Coastal Marathon


This was quite a different experience to the marathons I've run up to now. It was hard not feel slightly out of place amongst the smattering of '100 marathon club' vests and casual attitude of runners who probably knock out a marathon before breakfast every weekend. In fact, I've absolutely no doubt many do. Fortunately everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
At the briefing I learnt that there was at least one person celebrating their 50th marathon, one their 100th (I think) and one their 150th! I mentally tried to tot up how many marathons I'd run and how many years (decades?) it would take me to run 100.

Back to reality, it was 7am and 60 were runners lined up in the humid coastal air. The task ahead quite simple - 4 dead flat out & backs along the coast to make up the distance.

Milling at the start
It started well enough, the tiny bit of rain on the start line disappeared and we ran off along the coastal wall towards the outline of Reculver castle in the distance. I settled into a pace which I wanted to keep nice & constant at just around 9 min/miles. The turnaround was just in front of the castle and as I touched the gate for the first time and turned I realised there was going to be a little head wind on the return legs. Not too much as the wind was mostly perpendicular. Both the 1st and second laps went well and I completed the half in about 1h58.

Outwards & onwards to Reculver Castle


By the third lap the sun was fully out and it felt HOT! I fished into my pack to get my sun peak out. For the 3rd lap I'd promised myself some music and was feeling good. Perhaps too good. Some time after the turn around on the 3rd lap around mile 17/18 I could feel a change - my heart rate was up and the pace was beginning to slip. Not too much to start with but enough to know which way things were going...

I'd hoped to meet my wife at the aid station for the last out & return but she wasn't there. Since my time was not going to be amazing I made sure to stop and fill up with water in the heat - I certainly did not want to run out on the last lap! As I started my final outward leg, a wind whipped up out of nowhere. It was ridiculously strong and I was leaning sideways to try and run straight and I could see others doing the same. Every now and then something airborne would sting my cheek. It was all quite stoically comical. Then, as if that were not quite enough, somewhere before the turn around the rain came lashing down. I decided to put my jacket on which flapped about horizontally as I tried to turn it the right way around and slide my damp arms into it. After about 10 minutes the rain stopped, naturally.

Not far after the final turn around, who should I find myself running towards? My wife - I must have just missed her earlier at the aid station. We ran together, though with my pace by now rather impaired she was struggling to slow down and was constantly running half a pace ahead. The long slow leg back was a bit of a low point whereas really it should have been a high point - I was running with the wife and I'd nearly finished. But it was just such a struggle it kind of sapped the joy from the moment.

It was a massive relief to finish! My final time was 4h16. Not so bad, but I'd really like to run a marathon one day without suffering such a big slow down at the end.

I was rewarded with a fantastic medal and the best goodie bag ever. Sadly I didn't fancy the spread of cake and chocolate on the aid station table at the finish, but if I'd have come back in 3 hours I reckon I would have eaten the lot!

I really enjoyed this friendly event, running along the coast, listening to the waves. Some people loved it so much they were doing it all again Sunday! Me? I was looking forward to a lie in...

Goodies....

MileTimeMvg tAvg HR
108:53.808:53146
208:52.308:53150
308:56.808:57149
408:47.308:47151
509:00.409:00152
609:03.009:04151
709:01.109:00151
808:57.708:58151
908:57.908:58152
1008:53.308:53155
1109:02.909:03154
1209:04.509:04155
1309:07.309:08155
1409:37.009:02155
1508:53.408:54158
1609:28.509:05160
1709:13.109:13162
1809:48.609:49160
1910:07.110:08157
2012:11.410:42150
2110:34.210:34149
2211:12.311:12146
2312:34.411:24145
2410:16.610:17149
2510:31.310:31148
2610:51.310:52147
26.3904:07.504:07149
 Summary4h1609:42152

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