Beachy Head Marathon: 23 October 2021

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All runners

Pos arrow Name arrow Time arrow Cat arrow Club arrow Pace arrow
1 1 John Hudspith 4:12:36 V60 Serpentine 9:38
2 2 Christian Morris 4:15:57 V35 Serpentine 9:46
3 3 Lindsey Chiswick 4:37:26 FV40 Serpentine 10:35
4 4 Philip Cuypers 4:38:39 V65 Serpentine 10:38
5 5 Liz Wilkinson 4:55:31 FV50 Serpentine 11:16
6 6 Lizzie Wortsman 4:55:31 FU15 Serpentine 11:16
7 7 Sara Miglietti 5:00:12 FV35 Serpentine 11:27
8 8 Mairi McInnes 5:26:43 FV40 Serpentine 12:28

Report

Race report kindly provided by John Hudspith -

Having run this marathon in all but three years since 1991, some having been in fairly horrendous conditions, I was somewhat bemused to learn the day before, that the race route had been abandoned due to the rainfall and we were instead to run two laps of the half marathon course which had been staged the week before. Running with a damaged back, it did have some upside, in as much as if the back got too painful, I could always conveniently end my run at half distance.

Conditions were near perfect for marathon running, cool but not too cold and little wind. Negotiating the first hill a mere 20 metres from the start line warmed us all up. The triangular half marathon course was something of a journey of discovery, following the marathon course for the first 3.5 miles and for the last four miles, the diagonal joining these two legs being completely new to me and after cresting a hill, predominately a gentle downhill all the way to the coastal path. I was a little dismayed to discover that on reaching the coast and picking up the marathon course, not only did we have Beachy Head to run up, but before that, 4 of the Sevem Sisters. My spirits were lifted at Birling Gap by the cheers from a band of Serpies who also seem to be there every year and relief came at the end of the first lap where we were spared the arduous descent of steps to the start line and climb back up.
I felt reasonably comfortable at half distance and started the second lap climb with little inhibition. Little did I anticipate how my lack of running over the previous 6 weeks would hit me. On traversing the long gentle downhill section for a second time, my quads went into full rebellion mode and bizarrely I found myself eager to reach the coast and the predominantly uphill climbs. Relief finally arrived in the form of a second run up the amazing Beachy Head, the last downhill mile to the finish line being close to agony and the final straw for my quads. Nearly all of the places I had gained running up Beachy Head being lost as I staggered downhill to the finish line. The stats show I did the first lap in 2 hours and the second in 2 hours 12 minutes. In retrospect, dropping my pace by just under a minute a mile on lap two was a reasonable performance given my physical condition.

Overall, I'm pleased and relieved that the event went ahead, although the half marathon course even when traversed twice lacks a little of the monstrous character of the original marathon course. And on a personal note, it was very satisfying to have run all the way around.

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