- Well-organised, friendly event. Easy to park at the race HQ (IOW Community Club)
- Plenty of Marshals who guided and encouraged us. Many supporters waving and cheering. Water and sponges provided about every 3 miles.
- Not crowded. About 150 runners.
- Mostly quiet roads. Undulating, not too hilly overall.
- Pleasant scenery. Lovely sea views especially near Yarmouth.
- Traffic and fumes in a few places.
- Tough hills near the end of the run.
- Cold shower water (it might have been hot for the faster runners)
My aim for this race was not a particular time or position, but rather to train well, and to get things right technically, such as pacing, hydration and nutrition. Oh, and to enjoy the running!
Training – lots of “multi-terrain” runs up and down the Tennyson Trail, and along the cycle path to Yarmouth. Wendy accompanied me on several longish runs, and helped with pacing (not starting off too fast). My final long run was a fiendish 24-miler with at least 6 big hills - it was like the “West Wight 3 Hills” race, but with extra miles and hills.
I think I trained well in terms of distance and running up hills, but with hindsight should have done more miles on roads (tarmac).
At the start line, I checked everything was ready: race number, water bottle, energy gels, banana and an oat/peanut bar made by Wendy. Also, a wrist stopwatch, and the “MapMyRun” App on my mobile phone. I expect you are thinking - unnecessary paraphernalia!
Soon it was time for the briefing (reminders to “Keep left” and not wear headphones) and then the race started.
For the first 15 miles I maintained a steady pace of about 10 minutes per mile.
The runners soon spread out, but the road did not seem empty - there was nearly always another runner to say hello to. With sunshine and a light wind, this was proving to be an enjoyable run.
The marshals, including several members of the West Wight Road Runners Club, all did a great job. My morale was boosted at about 13 miles by familiar faces shouting support.
At about 17 miles I passed though the village of Wellow - waved to alpacas and Dave Berridge (I recently enjoyed reading his book about Ultra-marathon events and adventures).
Pace gradually slowed, and various parts of the body started complaining. Brain tried to ignore such complaints. At the 20 mile point my pace was about 11 mins/mile.
I overtook a few walkers around mile 22 or 23 then became a walker myself up some of the steep hills.
I managed to speed up and lumber along for the last couple of miles, passing the 26 mile sign (a beautiful sight). I finally reached the entrance to the Community Club and shuffled across the Finish line at 4 hours 46 mins.
The hard surface took its toll on calf muscles, but I didn’t feel too bad at the end - an improvement on last year.
Other stats from MapMyRun were: Pace 10:49 min/mile. Calories: 3149
Looking ahead to 2016, I might try a different sort of challenge such as a cross-country event.
But for anyone thinking of tackling a road marathon, I do recommend the Ryde Harriers IOW Marathon!
Thanks to Peter Billington for these photos