Yesterday I took part in the Enigma “Week at the Knees” Marathon. The overall event was a 7 marathons in 7 days challenge and there were about 25 people who were on their last day out of the 50-60? competitors.
For me, it was another training event as a build up to summer races and I was just taking part on the Sunday and was ‘relatively’ fresh compared to others in the field.
With a decent run (for me) at my last marathon event (a 3.00.53) the obvious assumption would be that this would be a sub 3 attempt. I’m sorry to say this wasn’t the plan as I was back into the usual mileage logging phase and this marathon was a planned good training effort and the back end of another 100 mile week.
The journey up was impacted by the closure of the A421 which meant a bit of a detour but I had allowed plenty of travel time and arrived at the start to collect my race number. We were running the reverse of the Caldecotte Lake loop today and upon collecting my number the RD Dave “Foxy” Bayley had advised me that I was likely to be one of the front runners today (this was a combination of everyone else being knackered from multiple marathons and no-one really fast was running today) and made a point of reminding me about the mini loop at the start so I didn’t go astray.
As is usual with these low-key events, a few quick words, a round of applause and photo for the 7 in 7 day runners and then we were off.
I ran the first couple of laps with James who was hitting a pretty impressive sub 7 pace early on for this 7th marathon and we were out in front with a couple of people not too far behind.
After a few laps James unsurprisingly dropped off leaving me at the front by myself for the rest of the race although with a multi loop affair you see and pass other runners periodically so there’s always a bit of contact, be it a hello, a wave or a well done comment.
The weather was cool at first and then the clouds disappeared and the sun came out before it started to get a little breezy towards the end. Pace wise, I was averaging around 7m/m (a few laps below and a few laps above) it was a comfortably quick pace (again relative to me) and a fairly enjoyable run.
The only issues of note were a slight twinge on the outside of the left knee which I ignored and it settled down and with two laps to go I thought I needed to stop for a comfort break but I decided to grin and bear it.
I put on the headphones as a distraction for the last couple of laps and trotted my way round. My pace slowed a touch in the last few miles but I eventually completed the last lap and finished in a total time of 3.04.53.
RD Dave offered his congratulations on being in first place to which I classily replied “Thanks, I need a poo” and dashed off to the toilet. I did return a few minutes later having got changed to watch a few of the other finishers and thank Dave and chief helper Rik Vercoe for hosting the event.
To be fair the finishing position on a small low key event is a little immaterial as it very much depends on who is running on the day and with loads of people I know on Facebook capable (and running) quicker times it’s nothing to shout out about.
However, what is pleasing is my current level of consistency. With my last 3 marathons in 6 weeks being a 3.09 (wind against), 3.00 and a 3.04 despite not quite feeling fully fit as I did say before Sparta last year, I’m not running too badly at the moment so hopefully this bodes well for the summer ultras.