A few weeks back I learnt about the Richmond Park Marathon through Martin who runs with us at The Running Works run club. He’s run it on numerous occasions and said he enjoyed it despite the pretty hilly course. I looked in my race calendar and there was a gap, that soon dissappeared.
Being only my third marathon I should have been nervous but due to how busy I have been recently with races and running events I didn’t have time to think about it. Another reason I wasn’t nervous was because I was thinking of it as a long training run for Race to the Stones. I wasn’t aiming for a specific time I just wanted time on feet and a run around Richmond Park. Leading up to the run I planned to run at 8min/mile pace and go sub 3:30. That soon changed just after the start line.
In recent weeks, in my opinion, I have paced myself reasonably well over various distances. I was happy with doing 23 miles for Wings for Life, 1:20:30 for Hackney Half Marathon and getting decent times for the assembly league victoria park run and Mile End parkrun. I believe running on track has helped me think more carefully about pacing, understanding what I’m capable of and what pace is pushing it. Richmond Park Marathon went a bit differently. Instead of running at 8min/mile pace I set off closer to 7min/mile pace, which felt comfortable enough through the first half, but I knew it would come back to haunt me in the last few miles. I probably should’ve researched the course more and accounted for the hills. Another reason I kept running at this pace was because within the first few miles Stuart began running alongside and we had a good chat about marathons etc. He was doing his 35th marathon and was thinking that he’d started the race a little too quickly, join the club. The course was great and some small out and backs gave us the opportunity to cheer on fellow runners. Me and Stuart got a friendly shout and smile from the winner of the women’s race, Run Dem Crew runner, Sorrell. She smashed it. I also saw Martin out on the course, he completed his aim of going sub 4, well done mate.
I really enjoyed the marathon as the route was really scenic and when you’re in Richmond Park you have to become a professional deer spotter. Around mile 17 our pace slowed but this was always going to be the case in hot (sunburning) conditions. The last couple of miles in particular were really hardwork but I think I needed a run like that to test me mentally. I just kept thinking to myself “it’s going to be a whole lot harder after 60 miles of Race to the Stones so get used to this.”
As you can see the hills and heat took their toll. I’d also like to add to that excuse, fatigue off the back of a half marathon and no proper taper or carb-loading. I’m not sure why I’m making excuses for going sub 3:30 in a tough marathon but there we go. I finished in 3:25:48 finishing 27th. Stuart had a rest around the 23 mile point and then came tearing past me in the last few miles, he nailed it and I’m sure he’ll get his GFA time for London soon enough.
As some of you have probably seen on Twitter and Instagram I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing people recently. On Sunday before the start I just had time for a cheeky selfie with David Weir CBE. He’s won 6 gold medals and the same number of London Marathons, amazing!
Overall the Richmond Park Marathon was a great race, loads of water stations including bananas etc, awesome scenic route and good crowds. I will definitely be back in Richmond Park soon for a long run and/or some hill training.
I almost forgot it’s all about the bling
It was hardwork but as the t-shirt says I do love the Richmond Park Marathon.
It was great to see some of you at The Night of the 10,000 PBs on Saturday. I hope you all had a good weekend whether you were racing, running or not. Hopefully see some of you at the Westminster Mile and/or Bupa London 10,000.