ISLE OF MAN MARATHON 13/08/17
I am flying out from City Airport on a small propeller plane and I am sitting by the wing so I can watch it go round. After take off we fly over parts of East London I am used to running through and I can research on a reality map below the link from the top of the nature reserve on the Isle of Dogs to the new Art Walk near the mouth of the River Lea.
The Isle of Man course starts on the seafront and finishes just up the road at the Ballacloan Stadium in Ramsey. It's a very small race with a few hundred half marathon runners and only 65 in the full event. I'm running the marathon and Pete and Richard are doing the half. I love these sort of events but the Robin Hood 100 is only a month away so I don't want to trash myself, I'm treating it as an ultra training run, trying and stay as relaxed as possible and not look at the watch much. At the same time you have to respect the race so I am trying to tread a middle ground of giving it a decent go. The course certainly has no PB potential, the marathon is two laps and the first four miles of each lap has 250 feet of elevation.
After the stiff climb over first few miles I am going along for long stretches without another runner in sight.
The half marathon starts half an hour later. I do the first lap in about 1.50 which means I am overtaken by the first three HM competitors at the end of the first circuit, they turn left into the stadium finish and I carry straight on to the seafront to start the second lap.
I must be getting a bit better at hills as the four mile climb is very smooth the second time around. After that the loop is undulating and although the first lap had plenty of downhill sections, this time around the earth appears to have tilted on its axis and it seems to be mostly uphill like one of those Escher drawings.
By the time I approach the last few miles the spread of half marathon times becomes clear and I start overtaking the run walkers at the back of that race.
I am expecting a downhill finish but I haven't studied the course profile or remembered the first lap very well as most of the last two miles are uphill before the short steep descent to the stadium, really just a football field with a small stand along one side.
Rather carelessly I have run 23 seconds over 4 hours but surprisingly I am also awarded a minor trophy. Runner Up in my age group in such a small race is not a great achievement but I have never won anything so I will take it!