On the 5th December 2021 I took part in the Golden Key Marathon. This is one of the Phoenix Running Events I like to take part in for my training runs. I only entered earlier this week, as I was not sure which event I was going to complete, but I had to enter one more marathon since setting the date for my 100th Marathon.
Today was my 96th marathon towards the 100 marathon club, with one more scheduled for 2021. As you will know, I have enjoyed running with Phoenix Running, using these events as solid training runs, and ultimately the only long training runs I do. I have only ever ran marathons here, even though it is possible to run as many laps as you want in the 7 hour limit. Today was my 36th marathon with Phoenix Running events, and I started with the same intention I always do here. To run between 3:30 and 4 hours, depending on how I feel.
My 100th Marathon will be on this same course on 19th February and it will be great if you can all come and join me. I will be running a Marathon (8 laps) in 3:59, so you can run with me, run a lap with me, or do your own thing. 3.28 miles, 10k, half marathon, 20 miles, marathon, ultra, whatever you fancy. We all run up and down the same path and finish at a pub, so should be a great event. Rik has made the #FunbusMarathon medal 15cm high, and 12 cm wide, and my 100th marathon will be one to remember. An official event, and an official finishers medal, where you can all come and join me for the celebration. I will be bringing cake…
I arrived a bit later today. Start time was between 07:30 and 08:30, and I arrived just before 08:30, so most were already running. I saw James coming in to the aid station as I arrived, and he usually runs a similar pace to me, but we have never ran together. I arrive ready to run, so I threw my bag down and Rik set me off straight away. I started to run with James and my body didn’t feel in the greatest shape today, so honestly didn’t know how long I would sustain the pace. I certainly set off faster than I would if I was on my own.
Together we ran comfortably. Each lap we stopped and got some sweets and a drink, we took our time at the aid station costing us up to a minute each time, but then went out together. James stopped for a couple of minutes at one lap to get a gel from his bag, but I wasn’t in a rush, so waited. Although I would have 100% slowed down if I was on my own, I kept up with James. We were running around 8 min miles for most of it, although I wasn’t watching the clock, it was great to have company of someone with a similar pace, sharing some stories of our running adventures. James has ticked off a few of my bucket list events, and we have similar goals for future races.
The only shame was James had already done an extra lap. So when he stopped, I had one lap to go and I was determined to keep a strong pace. Usually the first lap would be the fastest and the last lap the slowest, so I didn’t want to lose the time here and wondered how closely I could get our times without knowing how fast his first lap was. I assumed his first lap was faster, so I picked up the pace slightly, making my last lap my fastest and finished in an official time of 3:33:26. Which happens to be just 15 seconds slower than James, that’s a good guess at getting the finish time right. Also, 3 minutes off the faster target I set myself, which I’m really happy with. I don’t race these events, this time of year it can get muddy on the path, and I just use it as a good long training run. Sometimes I run hard for 6 laps then ease off for the last 2, so I’m really happy with holding an 8 minute mile throughout.
It was wet and cold. I didn’t need trail shoes, but I didn’t want to get my other shoes muddy, and there is no way I would wear new shoes on that route. It was a pretty grim morning, but a really enjoyable run with James throughout.
I have just realised whilst writing this blog, that my finish time of 03:33:26 is identical to my last marathon that I ran a couple of weeks ago, how crazy is that. I cannot believe that I’m so close to 100 marathons. I have one more this year. What events do you have left in 2021?