50/50 marathons

16. Gloucester Marathon

19th January 2020

Gloucester Marathon

This weekends stagger takes me all the way to Gloucester to take part in the Gloucester Marathon. When it comes to the marathons where I need to stay over the night before, I’m fairly non plussed about the prospect of leaving home, getting on a ferry for an hour, then driving to where I need to be. I tend to leave as late as possible on the Saturday, but during these winter months, driving in the dark is really no fun. I dare say this will get better as the longer warmer days draw in, but right now, sat on the ferry with the prospect of a 2.5 hour drive to stay at a campsite in Gloucester is really not filling me with joy. To top that, I’ve just read the race notes for this one and turns out it’s another one of those bloody lapped events, curses! I’m trying to avoid any more of these, perhaps I should have read more about it prior to entering. That being said, this was the only official marathon I could find, so I guess it will have to do. The joy meter for doing this challenge is at an all time low, I need to find a happy place soon as I’ve got an awful lot still to do!

On arrival at the camp site it was pitch black and a bit on the spooky side. Once set up I settled in for a cold night, convinced I’d booked in at Wolf Creek and that I would be murdered in my rock and roll bed!

I wasn’t. I survived the night, made a quick breakfast and got out of there pronto. The race start was 10 minutes away.

I know nothing of Gloucester, other than it’s near Wales. I really should do a bit of research before I turn up at these places. I’d heard it was quite pleasant scenery (it wasn’t).

On arrival at race HQ, I hung around in a sports hall until it was time to go to the start. The air was a heady aroma of ralgex and BO, lovely. But I was used to this by now. There was a lot of people doing this event, but there was also a half marathon and an ultra.

The race started at nine after a quick briefing that confirmed it was 3 miles to the loop, then 4 laps of 5.5 miles, then a last mile back to the finish. The first few miles were mainly around a housing estate and a business park, so it wasn’t the most inspirational course. Once on the lapped part, the business park continued until we broke out a bit into the surrounding country. The weather was perfect, bit cold, but a beautiful clear sunny day.

I was aware that a big chunk of the loop part seemed to be more up hill than the flat course that it was billed as. It was a steady incline that eventually evened out a bit as the course looped back around into the industrial estate and crossed a timing mat before you went round to do it again.

By the second lap the half marathoners were with us, all fresh legged and ready to go. Quite demoralising as they were passing. I started off probably too quick, keeping an 8:30 pace for the first half, but that soon dropped and by the last lap it was more like 9:30. The last mile back to the finish was no fun at all, but then it never is.

Relieved to finish. Not a bad marathon. Well organised, great marshalling, sign posting for mile markers. Aid stations for water and electrolytes every few miles. Then at finish you get a medal and t shirt. The price was a bit higher than most, but they said this was to do with road closures. The entire race was on road, so no need for trail shoes. I was amazed at how many people had these fancy new Nike running shoes that they’re trying to ban from elite runners. Apparently they cut your time by about 10 seconds per mile! Very expensive though and they look quite distinctive.

Next week is the Darkstar River Marathon! Perhaps I’ll actually look into this one a bit!

If you’d be interested in running the Gloucester Marathon in the future, take a look at gloucestermarathon.co.uk

Gloucester Marathon
Gloucester Marathon


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I am running these marathons to raise money for Mind. If you like what I’m doing and would like to donate you can go to my Just Giving page below.