Marathon Month Underway

With Easter having come and gone a little earlier than in many years, April was left open this year for the marathon season. The season duly got underway last weekend with a handful of GVH athletes travelling to Paris (lucky them) and a fine solo effort at the Milan Marathon. 

Sunday April 7th also saw the Brighton Marathon, but for the first time that I can remember, it appears that no GVH runners made the trip to the south coast, at least nobody bragged about it on the club Facebook, and the results page doesn’t allow a search by club name, so there is a chance this may be a Magic Results Fairy Fail.

GVH at the Brighton Marathon
Photo by Luismi Sánchez on Unsplash

Charlie Cadogan was the Harrier on the solo mission to Milan. His race started at 8:30 CET. He posted on social media, from what looked like a lovely, bright, sunny Milan morning, “Milano Marathon. Start at 0830. Wishing everyone a lovely day and all the best for chums running in Paris.” Note to London – many of us would like to see the London Marathon start a lot earlier, maybe not 8:30, but I still haven’t discovered a good reason why it can’t start at 9:00 instead of 10:00.

Unclear if this is before or after, or whether Charlie has ever taken a selfie before in his life

Charlie was hoping to challenge his PB and he set off at a challenging pace, completing the first 10k in 49:37. He looked dialled in to that pace as he went through the half marathon in 1:44:37 (average 4:57 per km) and was still looking very strong as he passed the 38k checkpoint in 3:11:12 (just over 5:00 per km). Charlie found the last stretch a bit of challenge, however, as he struggled to maintain the hot pace, but was still very happy to bank a new PB of 3:35:37.

Charlie posted this picture on Strava, so I assume he’s in it

I spoke to Charlie during the week and asked him if he had scored a new PB, he said, “Yes 3:35:38, around 8mins faster than Eton Dorney 2 years ago. It was the most beautiful sunny day. I definitely recommend it: a fast, flat course, decent organisation, very easy city to get around, lots to see around the marathon, especially Lake Como. Thanks for asking.” Thanks for providing the quote, it makes a change for me not to make stuff up.

Over to Paris where Roland Kendall, Kim Morgan and Ines Trent had made the trip for the weekend. All three were hopeful (perhaps confident) of achieving a new PB but unfortunately Wizzair baggage allowances meant that Ines was unable to take her PB bell to France and there wasn’t enough time between her previous PB (about 36 before the flight I think) and the race for her to courier it over.

NASA consulted on how to fake photos – they never actually went to Paris

The lack of a bell didn’t stop Ines managing a new PB, with minimal drama, as she finished the race in 4:39:50. I don’t have the numbers in front of me but I’m fairly sure this was the first time that Ines completed the marathon in under 5 hours. Ines’s Strava feed simply said, “Tooting the PB horn!” It is unclear to me (I haven’t seen her this week) whether this was supplied by the organisers or whether she purchased a travel version of her PB bell specially for the race. I don’t have a photo so I fed, “Ines at the end of the Paris Marathon” into an image generating AI instead.

Artist’s impression of Ines at the finish

Roland and Kim also managed to better their PBs, although they took contrasting routes. I chatted to Roland the night before the race and in reply to my question about his existing PB (and my suggestion that he might be able to go under 3:30) he told me, “Just having a big pizza. 3.30 would be great, my PB is 3:39 at the moment.” Kim’s existing PB, as far as I’m aware, was a few seconds under 4 hours, but I’m happy to be corrected if that is way off the mark.

Another unconvincing fake. Why put Marble Arch in a Paris photo????

Having trained together from time to time and having been fairly well matched in various races over the preceding few months, Roland and Kim set out together, seemingly aiming for a target time of around 3:30. Roland is famous for starting too fast, even being known as the new club Goodman (but only for the fast starts, no other reason), so when I looked up his early split times I was concerned about what might happen next.

In the event Roland managed to hold the pace together very well but Kim was the one who suffered badly. It probably wasn’t through setting off too quickly, though, as she told me after the finish, “I was a sick a couple of times in the second half but got it done and a PB too”. Some may question the choice of pizza on Saturday evening.

After 20km, Kim and Roland were still sticking together. They both went through that checkpoint in 1:37:55. It must have been around that point, just before the halfway mark, that the sickness kicked in as Roland managed 1:43:17 for 21k while Kim went through in 1:44:38.

Still together

Roland looked solid all the way to the finish (as much as can be guessed from looking at the split times), as he recorded times consistently just under 5:00 per km. He had a slight dip in pace, as man people do, between 35k and 40k, but managed to raise the pace again in the final push to the line, completing the 42.2k distance just under the significant 3½ hour mark, in 3:29:55, so in his own words from the pizzeria, that must have been “great”.

As noted, Kim struggled in the second half of the race. After the initial bout of sickness around the halfway mark she managed to recover her composure, form and pace and held it together well up to the 30k checkpoint, which she crossed in 2:33:21. As so often happens in painful marathons (anybody who has run more than a handful of marathons will have experienced at least one), the real toil was getting from 30km (about 20 miles) to 40km (about 25 miles). Again as often happens, Kim managed to recover some pace as the finish line neared and managed to complete the distance in a still superb 3:57:54.

The conerstone of every nutritious marathon preparation
Photo by Ivan Torres on Unsplash

I heard the Paris crew managed to sink a few beers on Sunday evening, but details remain sketchy. Personally, I have no recollection of anything that happened after 6:00PM on any day I ran a marathon so I’m not surprised that all I got was a picture of a bottle of beer from Roland and, “Fine now, thank you.” from Kim.

Didn’t bother waiting for her, she knows where the pub is

Congratulations to everybody who ran last weekend, apologies if I missed any marathons, the Magic Results Fairy seems to be on strike at the moment. Good luck to all those running the Manchester Marathon, or any other race, on Sunday.