Another week and a nice gentle drive across country to the outskirts of Nostell Priory. I guess Wakefield conjures images of urbanisation but the marathon was quite the opposite.
Quite a walk to the start from the car park with a start in the sunshine around 10.00. I consciously started right at the very back so I was quickly into picking off runners as I moved through the field (not a real field unlike the last time I did this event). A three mile run through the woods (flat and shaded) took us to a main road. Things were comfortable but the predicted heat was quickly starting to come true. I had placed three drinks along the route where I thought I would need them, but not until the second (final lap). I continued to be comfortable on the first lap but the heat was becoming an issue for many.
At the half way point my Garmin read 12.69 miles and Ian Richardson (North East Marathon Club) had 12.7. Alarm bells were, therefore, going off in my head – it was going to be a short course. We decided that we would complete the run and count it in good faith. Looking forward to the shade and woods on lap two, they weren’t there! Somehow Ian and I had gone wrong, taking over three miles off the route. We decided we would make up the missing miles near the lake at the end. So the plod continued. I found myself alone, getting lost once more and meeting up with the final water station at what should have been 24 miles. A chat with the marshals revealed that many had dropped out of the full (21 from a start of 61) and many had got lost. They felt bad but it wasn’t really their fault.
From this point, it was simply a case of running to clock up enough miles to ease my conscience. Now the question was whether to do 25.4 (the original route) or a full 26.2? I opted for 25.4. So I ran up and down along the lake, through a field, and past my parked car. Guilt raised its head and I just had to do 26.2 – and so it was that I finished in 15th place from the 61 starters of the full, quite miffed and disgruntled with what I saw as a bit of a farce. My time was 4.25.18 for whatever distance was ‘official’.
This is not the first time that the organiser(s) of this series of runs has come in for some scathing comments on social media and, sadly, I guess it won’t be the last. Next up is Halifax (hilly) in six days but I am delighted to say all road!!