Back on the North Downs Way for another challenging but very scenic Marathon. When anyone mentions St Martha’s Church you know there is going to be at least one big hill!
For me this race was paced brilliantly and being marathon number 10 I started to recognise faces from the crowds that I had seen at some of the events I had previously ran. Who would know that there is a small community of addicts that seem to run marathons week after week no matter where in the country?
The pilgrim marathon is in my top 5. The start with its marquees out on long lawns has a real ‘midsummer murders’ feel with the brass band playing, ice cream vans and other food vans. This caters well for the long-term suffering of family spectators who have agreed to sit around for four hours to see their loved ones off and return again in the afternoon. Fortunately my wife was almost bedbound with the pregnancy so did not have to endure.
The course is beautiful and absolutely littered with marshals and aid stations, a perfect trail marathon for the nervous beginners who may need that extra support at more frequent intervals. For £30 entry fee this in my opinion is an absolute bargain and should be run by all marathon runners. A half option is also available.
Having been to Wembley the night before to see the mighty Billy Joel I managed to get round the course in 4:11.
Some marathons just go well and for me this was one of them. I felt good, pace was quick and most importantly I had enough for the end. There is nothing worse than approaching the last couple of miles feeling like you’ve been flogged to death watching every other runner pass you by. It is a much more euphoric experience when you are the one passing others by.
If you’ve read this and haven’t entered the Farnham Pilgrim Marathon… enter! You won’t regret it.
If your family hasn’t been to one of your marathons before then this is the best you will find outside of the major city marathons where they may thank you for a nice morning on the village green with entertainments.
Try if you can to save some energy for the hills. St Martha’s Hill is a slog.