Hilly & Hillier Marathon Weekend
Four from Tewkesbury travelled to North Wales for the Snowdon Marathon or to give it its correct title ‘Brooks Snowdonia Marathon Eryri’.
Teresa Roberts, Phillip Howells, Angie Sadler and Mike Roberts started the rain-blessed race from Llanberis with 1,900 other hardy souls/soles.
The event itself has additional challenges to 26.2 miles of running with strong winds and almost 2,000 feet of climbing with two climbs especially testing. Angie’s great at ascending and it’s normal to see her running pass competitors when the direction goes up.
Her performance in Snowdonia was capped by securing the F55 category and 19th in the women’s field.
Her finish time of 3:39 hrs placed her 277th overall from the 1,883 who finished the course.
Teresa also had a fine result with a time of 4:46 hrs with Mike a minute behind securing 1,289th and 1,298th places respectively.
Phillip placed 18th in the M65 category and 1,747thoverall with 5:48 hrs and I’m sure he loved every minute of it.
A wet start in North Wales.
Nearer to home, the inaugural Bristol+Bath Marathon took place: Organized by the same team that stage the Cheltenham Half, the event was well-organized, glitzy and sponsored by a host of local businesses and authorities but, like CHM, expensive mainly due to the complete road closures.
Again four from Tewkesbury made the trip including two marathon debutants.
Not as much climbing was needed for this 26.2 miler, just 1,300 feet though it was all laid out over the last 13 miles!
Tewkesbury’s two first timers were Charlotte Deacon and Selena Goulstone.
We know that both of them have had numerous issues with their respective training in the build-up with both illness and niggles.
Thankfully, of the 72 runners who started in Bristol and didn’t make it to Bath, none were Tewkesbury runners! Charlotte set out her stall early and by the time she slipped under the Clifton Suspension bridge she had a gap on Selena.
Charlotte increased the gap to one mile by the time she materialized in Bath and in doing so, she managed to catch and pass Roy Northcott.
The club captain was taking in his 22nd marathon and with respect to the hilly nature of the course, was targeting a 4:15 hr time.
Alas for Roy as the dreaded tummy trouble troubled him on the daunting road to Bath – fortunately he had already clocked a neat 1:53 at the halfway mark and that was just enough to stay ahead of Selena, who herself had trouble of a different kind; the Evesham based runner wore a support band due to an Achilles woe and it blistered her foot by 7 miles, thus forcing her to stop and remove.
From 10 miles her Achilles become painful and the event then became her biggest challenge to date – although the hills didn’t deter her per se, the last 6 miles mentally drained her and she did find it hard not to stop and with that in mind, crossing the finish line as it displayed 4:26 – multiplied by the complications thrown at her, is a huge achievement.
Roy did manage a respectable 4:21 in 2,367th place but it was a very hard morning’s work.
All smiles at the end of an epic journey for Selena.
Jon Mansfield found the hilly later stages brutal and was reduced to walking on three sections – of course, there’s no shame in that but is was embarrassing when a spectator asked “are you in the race?” Jon cut the first 13.1 miles in less than 84 minutes and pretty much to plan knowing that there were two substantial climbs which he would naturally lose time on.
As it transpired it was relentless hills.
Crossing under the finish gantry in 2:56 and 28th overall, he did win his category and like Cheltenham the month before, part of the prize is entry to the 2016 event.
Needless to say, he’s overjoyed. But the morning must belong to Charlotte; finishing 2,152nd from the 4,128 who started in Bristol, her time is a shock – a shockingly good 4:16 hrs.
The greater the challenge, the greater the award as Charlotte displays her great medal.
Jon was soon the centre of attention when the litre of beetroot juice he drank the night before had caused his bladder to fail.