I've been steadily increasing the time on my feet but constantly falling frustratingly just short of the distance. I thought I had it cracked on the day of the London marathon when I headed out from my house for a 5 1/2 hour out and back run on the Dales Way, a popular long distance footpath that finishes in Windermere (well, Bowness actually). With it being comparatively less hilly than the trails I've been training on I imagined this would be the day, but quite a chunk of time wandering around a confusing succession of small fields looking for the path put me back too much and I missed out by .6 of a mile. Bah.
|Sheep on the Dales Way but no sign of the path ....|
Today though I finally broke that elusive (but entirely arbitrary really) 26.2 miles barrier, but it almost didn't happen yet again. I was due a 6 hour run (my longest yet) and with the weather looking particularly kind surely this would be the one?
|The new cyclepath next to the freshly re-opened A591 at Dunamil Raise - look at that for good weather!|
|It would just be rude to run straight through this landscape without taking a few pictures - heading down to Borrowdale|
Anyhow, even with all the snapping away I made it to Ambleside after 5 hours and 45 minutes. Close enough to 6 hours to call it a day, but looking at my GPS watch I had covered only 24 miles. This time I wasn't ready to accept defeat and luckily I was still feeling remarkably good, so decided to carry on following the course (the first few miles now) to Troutbeck, where Janet very kindly met me at the Old Post Office. It worked! I made it to 26.74 miles.
So I've run my first marathon now. Quite pleased to have done this as I've entered a proper marathon race, the Coniston Trail marathon in a few weeks time. I'm looking forward to running this in a familiar area and getting some proper experience of running in an event before the main one at the end of June. It's still strange to think that despite never having run an (official) marathon I'm now entered into one as a training run.
Actually, when I think about it the technical definition of an Ultra is 'anything over a marathon' so I could argue that today I did my first marathon and my first Ultra .... but I don't think I'll count this ...