I’m not yet done with marathons. My last one was London 2017, which was followed by a stress fracture and a pandemic, so I was really excited to head to York last weekend for the Yorkshire Marathon. My training had gone well, and I’d surprised myself with my Round Norfolk Relay stage so I was feeling confident and aiming for sub-four. Harry had signed up for York a couple of weeks before being offered his London place, and we planned to start together.
My sister Mandy came to York with me and was the best race support ever for the whole weekend. We did a slow and steady York parkrun on the Saturday to get a Y for the parkrun alphabet (only a Q and Z to go.) Race morning was grey and drizzly so I headed for the start while Mandy tidied up the flat we’d stayed in and put our luggage in storage near the station. On the way I got talking to Pete who was about to do his 222nd marathon; this was my 7th!
Harry and I started well and were going strong at Stamford Bridge, mile 14, where the photo above was taken. We’d hit half way at 1:57:45 which was bang on target for the nine minute miles I was aiming for. And then at mile 19 it all went downhill – a classic hit the wall. My pace got slower, I could see I wasn’t going to make sub four, and then 4:05, which would have been a London GFA application, also slipped out of reach.
There was a slight hill heading up to the last barriered stretch to the finish line and I was trudging up it. Someone behind me bellowed, ‘Get running Ealing Eagle. If you’re not running by the time I get to you…’, which worked and I did the last 0.2 miles back on pace. I finished in 4:10:29. Harry was a couple of minutes behind me and got a PB two weeks after running London which was brilliant.
Someone said to me that I was only ten minutes off my target, but the race I ran was a long way from the race I wanted to run, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. However, it was faster than London 2017 so a post-cancer PB, and I was proud to finish. I still don’t think I’m done with marathons, but I’ll recover first and then decide!