Chester Marathon 2015 - My Secret Marathon
Report by Diane Hall
Back in March I ran the Locke Park 20 miler and finished comfortably after the disaster the year before. Running for 20+ years I have always thought about running a marathon but it just didn't happen, the 20 miler now made me think it was more achievable. The next thing I knew in April Graham put my entry in for Chester Marathon, it was far enough away and also had been entered by a fair few people we knew that hopefully no one would notice my entry, Dave Aspin being the only one who would dig enough. Michelle knew but was sworn to secrecy, Beth couldn't keep a secret so she was definitely kept out of the loop, Cheryl Hepples was training for York so we did our long runs together. Keeping it from Terry Saffin was hard, I thought she might cotton on when I said I was running 18 miles with Cheryl but she didn't, must have been having one of her "blond moments". Anyway it looked like my secret was safe. At least if something happened and I had to pull out nobody would know.
The morning of the marathon couldn't have been better, overcast with hardly any wind. I lined up with everyone else behind the 5hr start, the start was on the Roodee (race course), the grass was wet so we had all been offered plastic over shoes to keep our feet dry before the start, great idea. I got talking to a few ladies who were also doing their first marathon so we set off together, gossiping as we went, trying to run slow enough to hopefully keep going to the end. Near to 10 miles there was only 3 of us together, Patsy from Norwich and Ray, a guy we caught and ran with. Patsy decided to walk a bit at 14 miles and told us both to carry on, I ended up running on my own after about 15miles, when I checked the results later Ray DNF. I did find it quite difficult to keep my pace slow, Grahams saying going around in my head "you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube". The aim was to finish, even if I had to crawl, I wasn't giving up now. The course was supposed to be flat, if you're a plodder it’s not, those slight drags are.........a bit of a nuisance.
Graham had brought his bike to catch me on different parts of the course, taking wonderful photos of me along the way, everyone who knows me knows I hate having them taken, I was too tired in places to object, he also gave me great encouragement till I finally at 23 miles told him nicely I would see him at the finish.
There were a couple of steep downhills for me, my quads were screaming, there were also a couple of nasty hills, I didn't even attempt to run them. They say a marathon is made up of 2 races 20 and 6, my goodness that 6 was blooming hard. My watch died on mile 22 so I was running blind. I was struggling for the last couple of miles so ran and walked using lampposts, bins and cones as run/ walk guides. I got to the last 500m to go and my legs were crying for me to stop so I ran and walked to 400m, then I kept repeating to myself "a lap of the track, a lap of the track", finishing on the Roodee the last 200m was the longest 200m I have ever ran, my leg kept knotting and cramping, just run, just keep going I was saying, I didn't hear or see Graham, the crowds were amazing just willing you on to the finish, the clock was showing 5.03 I wasn't sure about my time but was really pleased to finish so close to 5hrs. I picked up my medal and goody bag and almost cried, I'd done it, I had nothing to prove to myself anymore. Chester Marathon is one I would recommend, the setup, co urse, officials and the marshals were brilliant, water stations with gels, energy drinks and water, the crowds on the course, for all the races I have ran this is one of the best, I couldn't find fault with any of it, maybe the official pictures when they come out though.