It is an incredibly tough course with over 750m elevation gain over the route as the course goes through the North Downs, put in comparison the big city marathons such as London and Paris have 100m or less gain. Race day was also a really hot and sunny day which did not provide ideal running conditions.
So how did I do?
I finished in 5 hours and 27 minutes, my slowest ever marathon and in many ways a disappointing result. Yes I know I did well to run it, to complete the race and to finish with a time which many people would be proud of but in many ways I am very disappointed.
Even prior to the marathon I knew I had got slower over long runs since last year. I have restructured my training to be more targeted with my pacing and have paced my longer runs at about 30 seconds a kilometre slower than my desired 4 hour marathon target pace. Although I have done plenty of speed work and shorter faster runs overall I feel I have got my training wrong and made myself slower.
Additionally I don't think I pushed myself hard enough in training, although I was covering 40-50kms a week I just don't think I trained hard enough to be marathon ready.
The other factor was that I set off too slow. In the early miles I was conscious of being overtaken by a lot of runners but I maintained what I thought was the right pace as I wanted to run the whole race evenly paced and be able to finish strong. Looking back now I realised I was to slow and starting off any marathon let a lone a tough hilly one too slow it is always going to be struggle to make up any time. In the end I did managed to pace the whole marathon very evenly and perhaps even ran a negative split largely due to me pushing really hard through some of the middle miles.
There are some positives though, I feel I tapered really well and felt pretty fresh on race day. Similarly my carb load went well and I felt I had plenty of energy to keep going in the final miles just not the fitness to match it.
I am not too downhearted thoughts the marathon was a great experience I really enjoyed, great scenery, brilliant comradary chatting with other runners and a great challenge to push myself through.
It's good to get these thoughts off my chest and to reflect on where things went wrong and how I can continue to improve. A more detailed race report might follow later in the week but fire the moment I will continue to rest and recover ahead of my next event spitfire scramble in less than two weeks.