Frankfurt Marathon Weekend 25th-27th Oct 2013
By Paul Cleasby
Sat in a Berlin bar after the marathon last autumn, fellows from the Runners World forums decided Frankfurt was the destination for this years October Marathon. Advertised as fast and flat it’s Germany’s second fastest marathon. In a city renowned for commercial excellence, transport was easy and hotel rooms for all budgets were in plentiful supply. There was no problem with the language as yet again out continental neighbours put us to shame with their command of the English Language.
Straight-forward flight from Teesside (yes it’s still open), changing in Amsterdam and then on to Frankfurt. 11 minute train journey into the centre and then a 10 minute walk to the hotel which was directly opposite the marathon expo and the start/finish area. Quick tour of the expo and time for some sight seeing and beer drinking.
Saturday morning saw the Pretzel Run, a 5k jog around part of the route finishing back at the Expo followed by free pretzels and apple juice. Usually these things are fantastic fun, runners often get their other halves to run this with them and there ware plenty of children who also joined their parents in a very leisurely jaunt. This one however was a little tedious. The route was torturous with many bollards and other pieces of street furniture needing avoiding as the paranoid marathon runners tried to make sure they did not do themselves an injury the day before the big event. With that in mind whichever parent allowed their little cherub to scooter amongst the thousand or so runners needs to have a word with themselves!
Marathon day itself, the wind had become much stronger, it was warm and wet, peculiar conditions that never settled. The start was crammed and the starting pens could have been better policed. Once the gun went off I was hoping the congestion would ease, it didn’t. This was compounded by a route full of twists and turns. I struggled to get up to pace from the off and it set the tone for my whole run. In the end I had to accept it was just going to be one of those days. Knee pain struck from mile 11 and I thought ‘if I pulled out now the coaches would say well done you did the right thing’ but I just couldn’t bring myself to. As it had poured down I would have been soaking wet, cold and miles away from where I needed to be so I ploughed on with the splits looking bleaker and bleaker. One advantage of running in kilometres though is that they come round a whole lot quicker than miles. Never have I been more grateful to just finish.
The finish area itself is indoors, there are cheerleaders, bands, indoor fireworks, big screens, loud music and I missed the lot of it.
For me it was probably a marathon too far, my training had been interrupted by summer holidays and had lacked the real focus of previous efforts. In marathon running there is no fooling yourself. It will find you out.
It would be wrong though to dismiss Frankfurt as a viable marathon option for the future. It’s cheaper than Berlin and there’s not the frantic scramble to sign up for places (Are you listening Brass Monkey?) as it does not sell out. Many other runners we met afterwards ran very impressive pb’s and had very positive perspectives of their runs and of Frankfurt.
In fact probably the highlight of my day was going to a traditional German bar after the race for some post race analysis and as we walked in we received loud and warm applause from the customers and staff.
Now it’s definitely time to rest and recover. As for an Autumn marathon in 2014 the canvass is blank…..
Running in the Amsterdam Marathon, Shaun knocked over 4 minutes off his pb and over 2 minutes off Stuart Dickenson's 1998 club record of 2:32:31 set at Sheffield - with a time of 2:30:19!
It was somewhere on the A1 that I asked the question of Jim Bulman. “What’s the race plan then?”
“Go hard to 20 miles then if I have an ounce of strength left hang onto the finish!”
This compared to mine which was.
“Start easily, build up the pace but stay around 6-09/6-10 for the whole course and bag a sub 2:45 with a bit to spare. It’s a stepping stone for me so there will be no heroics out there!”
I knew Jim fancied his chances of being up there with the leaders and possibly bagging a top 10 place so I quickly made up my mind to forget about everyone else and just stick to the race plan. As I knew
After a night in a bed and breakfast that we both described as barely inadequate we decided to walk the 15 minutes to the start as a warm up (Jim later regretted this decision!).
Start line was the usual hustle and bustle, small talk and handshakes. Jim was unusually quiet which I now know as his way of dealing with pre race nerves. The race was started by the town crier who claimed to have run the course that morning in a quick 2:05. Not sure about that but soon we were off.
At the 10km split Jim enjoyed a four minute lead over me and was in the top 10. I went through in 38:28 which was about spot on for my plan.
At the 20km split Jim had extended the lead to over 6 minutes which extended further at the half way point which Jim reached in 1 hour 14.44. I came through in 1 hour 21 mins 10 seconds having started to struggle a bit with some hamstring pain. So far so good for our respective goals.
At the 30km split I had my fastest 10km split and was enjoying the fact that the race plan was going well and despite some hamstring tightness I was in fact feeling generally good. A different story (unbeknown to me) was developing at the front end. Jim went through 30km in 1:49.30 and I was less than 6 minutes behind.
Between 30 and 40km it became clear to me that some of the leaders were coming back to me. During this part of the race I passed 5 or 6 runners clearly feeling the effects of the race. Fleetingly I thought. I wonder where Jim is but I could not see him anywhere so assumed he was flying along to a 2:30 something. It would be a good journey home if we both had good races.
Up to 40km I was working hard to keep as close as possible to the plan. Despite a few hills to negotiate I managed to hold a decent pace and felt that despite a disaster the 2:44 was in the bag. Just two miles at 7 minute miling would be enough so my confidence grew. The last hill at 24.5 miles was in sight and I pushed on. Little did I know that less than 400m ahead of me was Jim Bulman. I’m told by those tracking us that this was causing waves of excitement in the online community tracking using twitter and facebook.
It was Jim in the end who came in first in 18th place in a time of 2:42.34 with me coming in 20th in a time of 2:43.42. A pb of almost three minutes and a satisfying run. So different to
If only the marathon was 27 miles long who knows what the outcome may have been!
By Andy Pearson
Meanwhile father and daughter, David Hodgson and Gemma Parkin completed in 3:28:20 and 3:58:58 (chip time) respectively.
REDCAR HALF MARATHON 2013 - 29/10/13
IT CAN'T BE WINDY IN REDCAR AGAIN - CAN IT?
By Patricia Speedie
Well, the Redcar Half Marathon was here again and now in it's 31st year had a great turnout, members from various clubs and also many non-club runners, lots of people travelling a great distance to take part.
Last year I remember marshalling this race as I wasn't ready to run a half marathon and it was freezing, I now appreciate how much effort those marshals actually put in to keep us runners going. This year I was running it, I remember people saying, "Oh, it's always windy in Redcar, that Coast Road will be a nightmare!". I see what they mean now, windy yes!
The race started at 10am and everyone went on their way, weather conditions were dry and sunny, a bit too warm for my liking but better than freezing cold downpours. As we all headed along the Trunk Road it seemed to get warmer but there were plenty of water stations along the whole of the course, great job those people do. The support down this road was amazing and I can tell you it was needed, that road seemed to go on forever, roundabouts came and yet it still didn't end, finally I see the garage in sight and the crowds of people near Locke Park shouting and cheering us on, we had made it to the end of the Trunk Road, relief! We passed the start finish line which was around 7 miles and headed towards the Coast Road, lovely scenery, fantastic support but wind, oh yes, remember it is Redcar! Running down this road was a bit of a battle but everyone tried to shelter behind each other as we ran (good idea and it works). The turnaround at Marske brought an easier run home as the wind direction was then behind us, tired legs but enough energy left to push on knowing that the finish was in sight.
The finish line, what can I say, the support was tremendous, lots of people cheering you on and friendly faces to congratulate you at the end, just what you needed! A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this great event run smoothly, also thanks to Andrew Pearson, Graham Hall, Diane Hall, Terry Saffin and of course David Aspin for the great selection of photographs!
Well done to all runners who took part and big congratulations to all New Marske Harriers!