When I woke up last Saturday morning having not run for two weeks because of an injury to my right foot, the reality of signing up to the inaugural Bristol + Bath Marathon hit me like a smoked kipper to the face. I’d been focusing on cycling all summer and running an autumn marathon suddenly seemed like the worst idea ever. The last time I ran a marathon at London 2013, the whole winter had been spent planning, preparing and training for that one day. This time, I’d treated the process like I was popping down the shops for a Ribena and Twix.
Luckily I had a wingman for this event in the shape of my mum. This was her first marathon after she set the world on fire with her long-distance running debut at Race to the Stones which she successfully completed earlier this year. Neither of us were particularly prepared for this one but at 5am on Sunday morning, dad handed us an egg sandwich each and willed us into the car to make the journey to Bristol where our battle would officially commence.
Rather than bore you with a tome of marathon memoirs, I thought I would just jot down the most significant thoughts I had at each mile.
MILE 1 – “Too early for a gel?”
MILE 2 – “One down, 25 to go”
MILE 3 – “Why did I wear a winter hoody?”
MILE 4 – “And…there’s my injury”
MILE 5 – “If I could go back in time, I’d be a Victorian for the day”
MILE 6 – “There’s mum! Hi mum!”
MILE 7 – “No, maybe, a Tudor”
MILE 8 – “That sun’s actually quite hot”
MILE 9 – “I should really get more work lined up for December”
MILE 10 – “How long would it take to retrain as a TV historian?”
MILE 11 – “Love this crowd.”
MILE 12 – “Hang on, I think I’m enjoying myself, what is this?!”
MILE 13 – “Hey, I’ve been averaging 9 min miles this whole time, I can so keep this pace up”
MILE 14 – ” I can definitely NOT keep this pace up”
MILE 15 – “Why is everything slowing down?”
MILE 16 – “Hate these gels”
MILE 17 – “I’ve got my pace back, back on track, I’m unstoppable!”
MILE 18 – “I think I could shave an hour off my PB”
MILE 19 – “OK, maybe half an hour”
MILE 20 – “Fuck I’ve lost it again”
MILE 21 – “Officially in hell”
MILE 22 – “Barely moving”
MILE 23 – “Why do I do this? WHY. Why can’t I do normal things like normal people?”
MILE 24 – “Come on, so close, what’s two miles between friends”
MILE 25 – “CANT.TAKE.ANOTHER.STEP”
MILE 26 – Thank fuck
I stopped the Garmin at the finish line in Bath at 4:33hrs, exactly the same time I ran at London but with 1,300ft of running uphill. In my mind, whilst not lightening speed, it was a personal victory for the Pepperami legs and I was chuffed. Those hills in the last 6 miles were nothing to sniff at. With London Marathon 2016 in the diary for next year, this marathon was a really encouraging way to end the season. I am hoping to run more consistently and take advantage of the flat course.
Meanwhile, mum stormed in just under an hour later, an amazing time for her first marathon at 65yrs. She was walking remarkably well compared to me and definitely looked like she’d just popped to the shops for a Ribena and Twix.
This was the first Bristol + Bath Marathon and if you’re looking for an undulating course, I thought it was so well organised and the crowds were so amazing.