Running a marathon a week after the 145 mile Kennet & Avon Canal Race wasn’t the best idea in all honesty but as I had entered the Phoenix Firebird Series of 4 events then there was little option but to get round with a steady run.

This was my 99th Marathon or Ultras (38 marathons vs. 61 ultras) so the big 100 will come at the Liverpool to Leeds Canal Race which seems quite apt as I’ve run a few Canal races.

This event was the usual 4 lap out and back route along the Thames hosted by the Rik Vercoe and the Phoenix Running team. The 4 lap format making it nice and easy to break the race into different goals, first lap easy, second half half way there, third lap music on and then the final lap.

On your marks, Garmin check, Go! (Photo courtesy of Jon Lavis)

The plan was to run at a steady pace throughout and I set out at about 7.30m/m pace which felt ok and I trotted off out and back, out and back. The weather was sunny but cool and the legs felt ok at first although I could feel a bit of ‘secondary lethargy’ in the legs. Nothing was aching so far but the legs were not totally fresh.

Lap 3 or 4 (Photo thanks to Jon Lavis)

I ran a pretty event race with each lap averaging just under 7.30m/m pace. I did have a couple of quick toilet stops on the first couple of laps and paused each lap to grab a quick energy drink but was pretty steady and solid for the entire run.

There were a few places traded near the front of the race towards the end but I was pretty content with getting the job done and didn’t have the legs to run closer to 3hrs today so didn’t trouble the leaders at all.

The legs did start to grumble around the 18-19 mile mark towards the end of the 3rd/start of the 4th lap but once I hit the final lap I could focus on getting to the turn and then get back so the mind won out on this occasion.

I finished the race in 3.16 which was a bit quicker than I thought I would run and the pacing was solid throughout so was pleased to get it done fairly quickly before the rain hit later that afternoon.

Thanks to Rik and team for the usual well organised event. I’ll be back in November for event number 3 in the series.

Phoenix Running results here

Strava run here

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