Just a quick update on today's Beachy Head marathon. Since moving down to East Sussex in 2002 I have run the Beachy Head Marathon every year, so today was my tenth time. My personal best for the course was set in 2007 with a time of 2:57, when I finished second to Tim Short, a fellow inov-8 athlete.. As the time of 2:57 indicates, the course isn't really flat. My times for the last three years, all being winning times, have been 3:02, 3:03, 3:02. So going into today's race, I was hoping to try to run quicker than last year, but a PB time wasn't really on the cards.
For the first time in ten years of running I had a real race on my hands. At CP2 at BoPeep car park, shortly before half way, I was in third place, I guess around 45 seconds behind the leader. It was then head wind pretty well from there all the way back to Eastbourne. At around 17 miles, the leader from local club Lewes started fading and the three of us were for a few seconds running side by side. The chap, Steve Nimmo from Orpington, but originally from South Africa didn't want to lead. I also wasn't to keen to lead so, it was a bit of 'cat and mouse' with the occasional attack for the next 7 miles, as the chap from Lewes, (sorry I didn't get his name!) faded to eventually finish in sixth place.
Then at the 24 mile mark, Steve from South Africa, took off up the start of the last climb up to the top of Beachy Head. He looked like he was doing a 5K. He quickly gained around 30 - 40 seconds, and then we ran this distance apart to the finish. I think his official time was 3:02:28, and mine being 3:02:58 was only 33 seconds slower than my 2010 time.
Overall a really enjoyable and exciting race. A true race, with the pace fluctuating substantially over the last nine miles. It would have been nice to clock up my eighth win, but it wasn't to be today. I felt I ran well, but just didn't have that 'extra gear' when Steve attacked. A great run by Steve Nimmo. Hopefully he will be back next year, when I will be ready for him. Maybe I might even go back to doing some rep work again in preparation!
So another great Beachy Head marathon. Trail marathons really don't come any better. A great atmosphere with around 1700 starters, a great course, a beautiful sunny day, and a superbly organised event.
Full race report to follow in a few days, although, quite a lot already highlighted above, as the quick update wasn't that quick! However, the race report will include 'snippets' of my new 'Race Focus Energy' fatigue model, that was launched at the Beachy Head Marathon Science Symposium last night, which was a very successful evening.
Time to sign off, with a relevant quote from last night; "Performance is determined by an enjoyable interaction of the Body and Mind".
May your runs this weekend be as enjoyable as mine was today.