Kielder Marathon - 04/010/15
Report by Ian Hague
On 4th October Lisa Bennett and I took part in the Kielder Marathon. I had some longer duration triathlon training under my belt by the time I started following a training program from a book by Don Fink - ‘Mastering the Marathon, Time Efficient Training Secrets for the 40-plus Athlete’ and Lisa followed a plan from Rob. Both plans were very similar in many ways, with many training sessions based on heart rate zones and time spent in ‘that zone’. This enabled us to share some of the longer run sessions which helped pass the time more quickly.
The day of the race was ideal with cool dry conditions and little breeze. The event was pretty well organized except that the transfer busses from the remote car parking had difficulty turning at the drop off point near the start, and as a consequence, the start was delayed by some 20 or so minutes, leaving the more punctual participants standing around getting cold.
The field consisted of 6-700 athletes. The route was undulating on a mixture of tarmac and smooth trails and the training we had done on the Guisborough Hills put us in good stead. We ran separately. I used my heart rate monitor to pace myself and found the technique very effective, finding myself gradually picking off those who had gone out too fast. This was very satisfying! I felt strong and confident of a good time. Despite having been plagued with left hip and hamstring problems in the few months leading up the race, my leg felt as good as it had been.
I had, however, prepared myself mentally for the risk of failure and felt hints of problems developing from around 20 miles. Low and behold at just after mile 24 my chronic hip/glute problem acutely manifested itself with excruciating pain on the outside of my left knee (IT band pain?) and I had to sit down to absorb it or fall over. After a time I managed to start hobbling the remaining distance, periodically crying out as the pain welled up. Several runners who I had overtaken began to trickle past. After a sit and a stretch I managed to walk with a least a little fluidity and Lisa who was running strongly caught me up and slowed down to enquire if I was ok. I urged her to keep on going, she was in line to finish second woman. Desperate to get a time of under 3hrs 30 minutes, I managed to run the last few hundred meters to cross the line in a time of 3:26:56. Not bad for a 1st attempt on an undulating route with injury thrown in. I can’t really grumble.
So is it worth getting your Snickers in a twist over a Marathon (sorry!) where you feel you might not have reached your potential? No is the answer, for me it was a mental as well as a physical test and I had prepared myself for both. It is about more than the 1st few steps, it is about the ‘longer run’, not just this marathon but hopefully the challenges of the ones to come. I plan to revisit Kielder next year!
Lisa finished as 2nd woman with a cracking time of 3:26:29, not bad considering she was only hoping to get just under 4 hours. Reflecting on a catch phrase from the Hong Kong Phooey cartoons of my youth, “I was proud to be ‘run over’ by the very humble, very well respected and excellent athlete that Lisa Bennett is! Well done Lisa, you are having a great season, and well deserved!