When: 9 October 2016

Where: Good ol’ Yorkshire (York)

Who: Alison ‘crazy marathon runner’ Shooter

Why: Just for the sheer fun of it!

Alison tells us all about her Yorkshire marathon experience. So if you’ve got a ‘No’ from London why not see if Yorkshire could be the 2017 marathon for you!

Marathon Morning

6am alarm calls in my house can only mean that it’s race day, this morning , it is because it is the Yorkshire Marathon.

This isn’t my first Marathon, but there were a couple of firsts for this race; first time a friend (Erica) had flown in from the USA to run this race and the first time I had a running partner at this race.

There was also a non first; not the first time I have run a Marathon without sufficient long run training (not recommended – see later)

Prior to getting a foot injury – which contributed to the lack of long run training, I had hoped to break 5 hours for the Marathon. Paul Hopkinson had offered to pace me to a sub 5 hour. Which considering his usual pace was probably more like a steady Sunday morning stroll for him.

Anyway, to reduce the stress on the morning of the race, Erica and I went to the Park and Ride facility at Elvington Airfield.

Early morning, at an airfield , somewhere outside York
Early morning, at an airfield , somewhere outside York

Once we parked up, we ate our porridge and bananas and headed for the bus. Erica was hoping we would get on the double-decker bus but it didn’t happen. The journey to the race village at York University was short and the weather was fine .We went to the Macmillan Charity tent and met Paul, then moved along to the start zones.

At the start line

We started in zone 5

Alison, Paul and Erica at the start line
Alison, Paul and Erica at the start line

with so many runners it took a while  to actually cross the start line, then there was a brief downhill towards the City of York.

After a mile or so we entered the city walls

Still all smiles at this point...
Still all smiles at this point…

across the cobbles and passed Betty’s Tea Rooms . Erica wanted to stop for a scone but we managed to convince her to carry on towards the Minster . The crowds here are usually large and vocal and the approach to the Minster always makes me proud to be a Yorkshire lass. We soaked up the atmosphere and managed to find a friend in the crowd who took our photo.We moved on and then the team from channel 4 who were making a documentary about the race stopped Erica to interview her. Not long after that Paul and I said bye to Erica to follow our own agreed race plans. The course is pretty flat and we headed out into the countryside . At about mile 5 you pass through the village of Stockton on Tees , where the Vicar stands in the road and high fives the runners if you need any spiritual support.

In the Countryside

The countryside is beautiful but in some parts support is scarce so it is good to have a running partner to help stay motivated .At half way  we clocked 2 h 31m and were feeling good. At 14 mile there is an out and back and I hate those. There is then a long straight stretch to a turnaround at mile 18 with a 2 mile out and back. I kept motivated by trying to run away from the guy in a Minion suit , which rustled as he ran and by cheering all the other Macmillan Runners as they came towards us.

Just before we turned off to the 20 mile mark we saw Erica, she was doing ok, enjoying herself and making friends on the way round. Paul  and I hit mile 20 around 3h 55m, so if I could pull a 65 minute 10km then the dream time would be mine. Unfortunately, by the time I got to mile 22 the “wall” that you hear people talk about came to meet me, the next 2 miles were very tough and I was wandering across the course at times (this is what you get for the lack of long run training). By the time mile 24 appeared I was getting it together but the pace had dropped massively. At around mile 25.5 there was a hill and it was a battle to get up there but then it was a steady downhill to the finish.

Happy that there's a downhill and also a finish line in sight
Happy that there’s a downhill and also a finish line in sight

The Finish

Paul and I finished in 5h 25m. I was very relieved and thankful for Paul’s support.

We collected our medals and bags and then went to get coffee and biscuits at Macmillan tent before returning to meet Erica.

A well deserved finishers medal....and foil blanket
A well deserved finishers medal….and foil blanket

Erica finished in 6 h 30m which was a massive achievement  given that due to issues with her Transatlantic flight  she only arrived on Friday morning.

On the return to the Park and Ride, Erica got her wish, as we winced our way upstairs onto the top deck of the bus, followed by much laughter from all the other marathoners on the lower deck!

So, would I do run this race again….you bet your life I would.

Next time I hope that I will be able to prepare better and that I can achieve that sub 5 hour target, but If I don’t, it doesn’t matter. Running a Marathon is a huge accomplishment and that make me a member of an elite group and you could be too!

If Alison has inspired you to take on 26.2 countryside miles, sign up for next years Yorkshire Marathon