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Since embarking on Ultra's I have discovered a love of running along the Thames Path. Whilst looking for races along the Thames Path I discovered an evening Marathon (or half) on my Birthday and it appeared to be a good idea at the time! I mentioned it to our illustrious Chairman who took no persuading to join me. With a 5pm start for the Marathon and an 8pm start it would mean finishing in the dark unless you could get under about 4.30 for the marathon or 1.30 for the half. This was the innaugural event with just 42 entry's for the Marathon, 38 started and 33 finished. I have already run 62 miles of the Thames Path but this was a section I hadn't run before. The Race HQ was situated at Wokingham Waterside Centre a good facility with parking and showers and was in the middle of the route. The route was 4 laps of about 6 miles, about 2 miles east along the Thames Path before turning near Sonning bridge to run the 2 miles back to the race HQ continuing past the race HQ for about a mile West along the Thames Path to Reading before turning to head back to the HQ which constituted 1 lap. To make up the full Marathon distance we were treated to an extra "bonus" lap at the start of about a mile East and a mile back! So essentially I competed a Marathon to run a 3 mile stretch of Thames Path I hadn't covered before! We struck lucky with the weather, after the deluge of rain the day before and the day after, the day of the race was a perfect summers evening. The race itself was always going to be a struggle for me with only one 15 mile run and one 18 mile run behind me since London and my back troubling me for couple of weeks before hand. After a huge birthday lunch out I set off too fast as always weighed down with too much steak and kidney pudding and pancakes. After making an initial break for freedom Ulen, running his 70th Marathon tucked in just behind me for the 1st couple if hours. It was at this rather early point on reaching 12 miles I started to slow and the machine carried on (he had run the park run that morning and had completed his 69TH marathon less than 48 hours earlier}! I soon started walking and i knew then with still 14 miles to go I would struggle to avoid a PW. On the east section of the route the terrain was a lot of grass and stony track. The west section was far more tarmac but included running up over a bridge with wide shallow steps (twice per lap) which meant a varied but challenging terrain. The bonus from the running laps is that you can see what is happening at the front of the race and also what is happening behind you which meant I could keep myself entertained my measuring how long and far ahead Ulen was on each lap! The long time leader got caught by a local Reading runner and the1st lady finished just 10 minutes behind. I picked up my head torch at the start of my last lap and by now we had been joined by half marathon runners. Despite my apparently slow pace I still managed to overtake several runners in the later stages, this included a couple I had battled with for much of the race. The 100 Marathon club runner who looked like a Christmas tree with his red and green lights all around his head and the St Albans Strider modelling are old style vest! If you think our chairman is pretty mad with all his running, one bloke was running his 2nd Marathon of the day having run one in the morning and was then running another one the following day! A PW for me by 24 minutes and 4 seconds! :-( If anyone else has nothing better to do with their Saturday evening they are holding another Marathon and Half on the evening of 19th September, limited entry's!
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Position|Bib|Name| Club|Time| 1|219|Brian Grieves|Reading RR| 03:21:03| 3|224|Caroline Jackson|Hercules Wimbledon|03:31:42| 17|232|Ulen the machine Neale|HRR|04:49:44| 23|211|Graham the slug Day|HRR|05:17:48|PW| 31|229|Brian Mills|100 Marathon Club|05:38:37| last male| 33|235|Tracey Smith|Corsham Running Club|05:57:51| last|