“What marathon are you doing Kev?”
“The Wrexham Marathon………what do you mean you’ve never heard of it?!”
That’s been the standing joke for months, most people were left scratching their heads wondering why Aaron and I had chosen this obscure race. The original plan was to run the Meadows Marathon in Edinburgh, I was all set until the awards night when Aaron announced he’d found this little gem in North Wales. Unbeknown to me he’d been frantically searching for an alternative to the 14 laps of the Meadows as he hates running loops. It doesn’t bother me, I’d run round my back garden a few thousand times if I had to.
My plan was to use an early spring marathon to gain the elusive GFA time for London which I’ve failed to achieve in the last 3 years. It suited marathon junkie Aaron’s plans too, he’d still have 6 weeks before his next one in London. Our target was sub 3.15 so it made sense to work together.
Anyway, we signed up and started the hard work. On the morning of the race, Aaron announced he had injured his thigh, not too badly so he was happy to start off and see how it progressed through the race.
The start and finish were at the same location in Wrexham town centre so there was no deadline for bag dropping and toilets were nearby too, the only strange thing was the lack of crowds, a big comedown from London last year! We agreed to start together then see how things go. All 170 marathoners and 130 twenty mile runners set off together, our first mile was way too fast but we soon settled into a steady pace. A fair bit of banter was had with the local runners but that tailed off after the first few miles. Aaron stuck with me for the first 9 miles until he had to drop back as his thigh was becoming uncomfortable. Not long after that we passed David Hulse with girlfriend Sarah, it was fantastic hearing “Come on Bella” so far from home.
The course was fairly undulating with a mix of country roads, industrial estates and housing schemes. It was pretty lonely so to take my mind off the increasing pain in my quads, I was mentally comparing scrabble points for the Welsh road signs as against the English. Welsh won, by a huge margin!
With 8 miles to go and beginning to snow, we were rejoined by the 20 milers and half marathoners, which really helped. The mile markers were accurate but the signs for the 20 mile race were great as they told us exactly how far was left without having to worry about the significant last 0.2 which can be anything from 0.1-0.5 due to the inaccuracies of GPS watches.
Thanks to my cocktail of salt tablets and electrolyte gels, I managed to stave off the dreaded calf cramp until the last mile so I had to tough it out to the finish without any heroics. The good people of Wrexham lined the last 50 metres and the commentator was going mental when he realised a couple of us had bothered to make the journey from as far away as Glasgow.
I achieved the GFA with 3.08.41 in 14th place (2nd V45). Aaron finished his 10th marathon with a PB of 3.23.21 in 25th position, a brilliant performance considering his injury.
All in all it was a very well organised but challenging race, don’t think I’ll do it again although this might not be the last marathon I run in Wales, I hear there’s one in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, not sure how good it is but apparently the medals are enormous….