It was a very fresh Sunday morning where 2 Wye Valley Runners joined in the second biggest marathon in the UK and Ireland with over 20000 participants. To say it was fresh might be an understatement as experienced runners were wearing there free hats and keeping on extra layers right up until the last second when cheap discard able layers would be thrown to the side where spectators look like they are under attack.
For me i could only find one problem with this marathon, the start was complete chaos. They split the race downs into waves but after that it was a free for all. You had 5000 runners in a free for all and not joining the start line in respective to the pace they want to run, which even lead to some runners running outside the course trying to find space and then attempting to jump a hedge once they realised there mistake.
After a couple of miles the race settled down and it led you out of the town through an massive park with long straight roads which cut straight through. Even in this remote part of the race the support was fantastic with crowds lining the streets almost the entire 26.2 miles.
I wouldnt say its the most scenic if routes as this stayed fairly residential but the walls of noise was better motivation than a breathtaking backdrop. This is the flattest marathon i have with a 700 feet of climbing, but none of these were severe climbs and if you tackled the hills properly and relaxed coming down the other side they barely even registered as an inconvenience.
The last 5k felt like you were running into a headwind, which may been the effect of running over 23 miles or an actual headwind, but at this point you just hit a wall of noise and were spurred on by the shouting, giving every last bit of effort and leaving it all out there.
I was delighted to get my times back on track and after a poor start i ran 2:49:04 and finished 236th, Cath managed to keep her times tumbling with another pb 3:40:11.
My overall verdict would be if you cant get in London this is a great 2nd choice, it might lack the iconic sights of London but the atmosphere and goody bags start to make amends capped of by copious amounts of Guiness make it a no brainer for your diaries.