Craig Gibbons' Lifeblog lifeblog://tri.eat.net

16Jun/050

Edinburgh Marathon 2005

This past Sunday (12th) saw the running of the 2005 Edinburgh Marathon, an event which my good mate Russell and I have been training for ever since we signed up in December last year. It's been a long road; both of us have been injured, ill, through physiotherapy and bottles of vitamin C and back on the road come the Wednesday night Serpentine running club training run. Running a marathon is a must-do goal to set in one's life. Triathlon's, summiting Everest and Iron Man competitions aside, it's one of the most physically challenging activities one can undertake in one's lifetime and for me personally the realisation of a dream and proud sense of achievement. All these months, the fact that we would be running fully 26.2 miles on June 12th has never been quite so real than when we were lined up on the start line amongst 11,000 other runners in biting cold and persistent drizzle. Thinking back to my days as a track athlete, lining up on the starting line before a 1500 meter race, barely able to hold back the natural compulsion to heave up all those butterflies, the experience of watching the yellow numbers of the start clock counting down wasn't entirely dissimilar. The race started with a resounding, Signal Hill noon gun kind of bang and we were running, only 26.2 miles to go Russell quipped. I pretty much went at my own pace from the get-go and eventually settled into a good 7 minute per mile pace with a welcome partner I recognised from running club, looking for the same target time of anything under 3 hours and 30 minutes I was. My lurvely girlfriend Laura hauled my good folks around the course at a rate of knots to make it to 5 points on the course to shout cheers and hand-off Squeezy energy packs, very impressive. Without boring the reader with a mile-by-mile blow account of the race, it was good going for the first 16 miles, then miles 16 - 18 started to get rough, 18 miles is the most I had ever done in training due to injury quite close to the race and I started to feel the effects of the increased distance and persistent pounding on the legs. Strangely this coincided with a pregnancy like (I would imagine) craving for jelly babies, odd. By mile 19 I was hurting and still had more than 7 miles to go, a marathon in its self at that stage. I kept in my head 2 things, one, that if I just kept putting one foot in front of the other it would eventually all end and two, I had already done enough to secure a time well inside my original target and need only keep going. Until the end of the race that’s exactly what I did, one foot in front of the other, always fighting back the urgent desire to walk, to stop, to lie down even, but never succumbing to the temptation. As my father would say, a lot of character was built in those last miles. I finished the race some 3 hours, 22 minutes and 10 seconds after the gun. Russell finished around an hour less than his original estimate, in an excellent time of 3 hours, 31 minutes and 59 seconds.

Next time, 3 hours.

UPDATE: Results are out, go see for yourself

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