If you’ve read my past few blogs you’ll know my preparation for Yorkshire Marathon was far from ideal… My issues with breathing and a tight chest during exercise meant my longer runs had been more like run/walks, I hadn’t felt comfortable beyond a half marathon and my times were much slower than in the build up to MK in May. I told everyone I would be happy just to finish Yorkshire, but I was also desperate to get under 5 hours. I genuinely had no idea if I would be able to do it though.
Easy to register, packs sent out in advance, good race guide.
Plenty of loos near the start, and loads along the route too. Hooray!
I always find the first mile or so of a marathon whizzes by, and this is especially true when you start with a downhill! Before I knew it I was at mile 2, where I saw Paul, but I somehow missed him at 3.1. The early part of the race takes you through the city centre and past York Minster, so there’s plenty to see and plenty of crowd support too. At mile 4 things were a little quieter, but I had a great time overtaking a giant minion!
Shortly afterwards came one of the highlights of the race, seeing the famous hi-fiving vicar in the village of Stockton-on-the-Forest. I’m not religious myself, but there’s something rather lovely about the vicar standing outside of his church hi-fiving and blessing the runners as they go past.
The miles were flying by rather nicely, although it did suddenly feel quite congested at about mile 12 when the 4:30 pacer caught up with me. I felt quite comfortable so ran with her until 13.5 and was feeling good when I crossed the line just under 2.13 – very close to MK halfway point and one of my fastest half times of the year, but I knew everything beyond this was a bit of an unknown quantity.
When the 4:30 pacer started to drift away and I realised it was too much of an effort to keep up, and my 14th mile was min slower than my 13th. The next was 30 secs slower than that… I clearly looked crap as somebody running back the other way shouted my name! I found the switchback slightly demoralising, and it also looked like my sister wouldn’t make it to mile 17 in time to see me. Luckily my slowing pace did have one benefit, as shortly after passing the 17 mile marker I spotted my sister and her boyfriend. The switchback was now a lot less painful, as I knew I would see Paul at 18 and I’d see Cheryl again at 19. But my legs were slowing a chest felt a little tighter. When I saw Paul I stopped briefly to catch my breath and take my inhaler and get a little pep talk before carrying on. I saw Cheryl and George again, while I was also pleased to see I’d managed to put 2 miles between me and the minion.
Mentally fading a bit, I spent a mile weighing up whether or not I needed to go to the toilet. I decided to just go, figuring I would at least have a brief pause to compose myself and focus on the final 6 miles. My running was still getting slower, and I had to walk for a bit to use inhaler and take an energy tablet. About 10 mins after I started running again I overtook a man who was walking. He told me that we kept overtaking each other and that I might as well walk. I smiled and said I’d rather not as I was an even slower walker than I was a runner, but his comment had made me grumpy. I vowed not to let him overtake me again, and kept up a steady pace until the finish! I was very aware that a hill was coming up just before the end, but after seeing my family again I was just hyped for the finish. When the hill did arrive it was just as steep as I feared… but at this point the adrenaline was pumping and I merrily legged it up the hill, earning myself some impressed cheers from spectators. On a high, I turned the corner at the top of the hill to realise that it was now all downhill until the finish! The crowd support on this final stretch is amazing, with lots of cheering and shouts of ‘you’re amazing’. After getting through the finish line I found myself at the Stroke Association support tent, getting a much-needed cup of tea!
Great chunky medal and a decent (if massive) t-shirt.
A really fantastic race that I’d recommend to anyone, whether a first-timer or a seasoned marathoner. Well organised, with great crowd support and a fantastic atmosphere. I’m currently contemplating whether to do it all again next year…
I am running four marathons in 2016 for Stroke Association and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. You can sponsor me here