The Abingdon Marathon was first held in 1982 and 2012 marks the race's 31st year since its inception.
This is a flat, fast, scenic marathon with not too many runners.
This race sells out within weeks. Mostly good standard club runners looking for a PB, because it's such a good race and usually ideal temperature in October.
About 750 starters out of the 1,000 entrants. About 80 usually go sub-3 hours.
No idea how I would do on the day but weather seemed perfect. 10 degrees, light wind, cloudy. Some muddy puddles from recent rain. In 2011, I trained diligently for marathons and Abingdon 2011 yielded 11mins off PB for 3:11:03. Done several marathons since then and not gone faster. 2012 has been dominated by long distance triathlon and long distance duathlon with no specific stand-alone marathon preparation. Heartened by taking 3 mins off half-marathon PB just 3 weeks before Abingdon 2012. A bit in awe of Kevin James' 3:02 marathon finish a couple of weeks ago.
Figured I would go for sub-3 and see what happens. That meant a decent warm up for 10 mins before the start, so I could post sub-7min miles straight from the gun. Delighted to find I was doing 6:40-6:50 min miles with relative comfort for the first 6 miles but then got a nasty pain develop in heel at the Achilles Tendon insertion. At age 49, one does worry about Achilles Tendon rupture. Contemplated dropping out but decided to keep going as it did seem a genuine opportunity to fulfil the sub-3 dream.
Toughed it out and got to half way in 1:29:30. Completed mile-22 and was averaging around 6:45 per mile, which was comfortably inside target. Hit some kind of wall thereafter and the next miles were 7:00, 7:10, 7:29, despite really trying hard and almost passing out.
Always manage to rally for that last mile, which was around 7:05 on this occasion. Then the last half mile was at 6:30 pace as I sprinted screaming like a nutter to motivate myself. Yes, that's 26.45 miles in total rather than the 26.2 miles I had in mind. That extra quarter of a mile probably took a 100seconds or so.
Great to see Anthony Bliss of Sussex Sports Photography. Posed for a few pictures. Delighted with 3:01:17. According to Garmin I had done 26.2 miles in sub-3 but unfortunately that doesn't count.
Great to give Kevin a bit of friendly competition and perhaps the nudge he needs to go sub-3 next time.
My heel feels wrecked and will need serious rest from running for a while. Massive limp day after the race. Thank goodness I have swimming and cycling to do instead for a while.
Race Report by Jim Graham
**After the Male club Marathon being held for over 6 years by Steve Alden it was taken by Kev James 2 weeks ago at the Chester marathon with a time of 03:02:50. Unfortunately for Kev he only got to hold the title for 2 weeks as Jim is now the proud owner of that title.