Another day, another Covid-delayed marathon. This one was originally going to be in Rayne in April but that was cancelled so I switched onto this one for a day out by the seaside. It would've been a pretty horrific drive from Liverpool to Clacton-on-Sea (536 mile round trip) but I came up with an alternative plan which involved staying at my parents' house and meeting Ben just off the M25 at 7:45am.
Hate to spoiler you but here I am at the end :)
The drive down was uneventful and we arrived with 20 minutes to spare. I had time to collect my race number, go to the loo, check out the aid station and listen to the race briefing. Here I am, listening:
I was amazed at how quiet and pretty the beaches were. There were several, separated by sea defences and rocks, all sandy and shallow and lovely. The forecast was for it to be overcast with moderate winds until 2pm when it was going to chuck it down with rain. I hoped to be finished by then.
I didn't think I'd ever been to Essex before (although subsequent googling has identified that Stanstead Airport is in Essex). I certainly hadn't been to Clacton-on-Sea before. I got chatting on the first loop to a guy called Julian who was doing his second marathon (technically third, but he didn't include the one he'd done 15 years ago). After a while, he let me go as I was going a bit faster than his target pace. I was meant to be doing an easy run but felt quite comfortable so I kept going. I saw Ben once or twice on each loop as he could hop between the lower beachside path and the higher cliffside path quite easily. He was going to join me for a couple of loops later on.
Unfortunately, I realised as the end got closer that actually I might not quite make it. I realised at 4 hours 28 minutes that I was going to have to get a move on and upped my pace substantially. By the time I crossed the finish line I was full blown sprinting. I got across the line and stopped my watch.
4 hours 30 minutes 21 seconds. Damn.
The next couple of minutes mostly involved trying to get my breath back interspersed with one word answers to Ben and the friendly race director and crew. I drank some squash and Ben took some pictures and I chatted to them a bit about my challenge.