Picnic Marathon: 2 July 2005

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1 1 Gavin Edmonds 4:37:33 SM Serpentine 10:35

Race photos

Race photos are at http://www.propubs.com/picnic/


A small off road marathon held at 2 in the afternoon
in the middle of summer featuring 6000ft of ascent and
6000ft of descent. All sounds pretty daunting so much
so the organisers claimed it to be Britains hardest
marathon and I'm not going to challenge their claim by
running any similar race in the near future which
could serve as comparison (except maybe Davos next
month).The course was 2 mostly well marked 'out and
back' laps of the Midsummer Munro Half Marathon which
started at 4pm the same day. After a confident climb
up the side of Box Hill things went rapidly downhill
and after having to cross a stream on
stepping stones we were faced with a 350ft staircase,
there was a smaller 250ft staircase 4 miles later so
on the 'double out and back course' we climbed about
1200ft of stairs in all. The terrain varied from
narrow tracks along the side of fields to climbs and
descents through woods and my enduring memory of the
day was a hill with a traffic cone at the bottom which
you had to run round before climbing back up, this
hill was itself a deviation from the main route so you
had climb it 4 times at around the 3,10,16 and 23 mile
points of the race. Marathons are all about even
pacing but it was impossible to keep any consistency
when powerwalking up a hillside or hurtling down
through the forest at 800m race pace and although
mentally challenging the out and back nature of the
course meant you were continually faced with your
fellow marathoners and the half marathon runners whose
support was fantastic. There were water stations with
jelly babies every 1.5 miles and lucozade pouches
6.6 miles. The winning time was 4:34 followed 3
minutes later by yours truly, I would usually expect
to run a marathon at least 90 minutes faster but was
pleased to have come second in a race and put my high
placing down to the fact that there weren't many
normal people around that day except maybe the
marshals who were very pleasant.

Conditions: grey skies, dry, slight breeze - as good
as running weather gets.

report by Gavin Edmonds

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