A Last Minute Marathon

I got a message on Monday telling me about a marathon on Sunday (May 8th)… “Would I like to run it?” My first reaction was that I wasn’t sure I had prepared myself mentally to run a marathon in less than a week but on Wednesday I found myself on the website signing up. It does fit in nicely as a marathon 3 weeks before a 50k I’m doing on May 29th. So I signed up with 4 days till a marathon.

Lets go back a few weeks…
I did Brighton 3 weeks ago. I didn’t blog about that one. I had a great weekend & really enjoyed bits of the marathon- especially the crowd who were great. Some bits were pretty tough. Although I’d said I wasn’t bothered about time I had under 4 hours in my head so I really pushed it in the first half of the run. This made for a difficult 2nd half. I felt ill at times and the bit around the industrial park really does mess with your mind. I was happy to finish it and I did have an excellent weekend seeing lots of #ukrunchat people.

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I don’t know why we put pressure on ourselves so much for a road marathon. I’d said that I wasn’t bothered about time but once you start running and know what pace you need to do for a PB the pressure is on. I don’t normally go out with a pace in mind as it’s not how I run so it’s no surprise really it didn’t go amazingly.

Back to this week…
On Saturday I was working 5pm-10.30pm so I made sure my bag was packed before I went to work. I had breakfast & 2 lunches during the day, & then some pasta at work. I got home around 11 so I went pretty much straight to bed as my alarm would be going off pretty early.

I got the train to Guildford & the lovely Natasha picked me up & we drove to Cranleigh to pick up our race numbers, cover ourselves in suncream and get ready for a nice run. We were going into it not worrying about time, just going to enjoy the sunshine and have a fun day out.

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The atmosphere before the race was lovely. We chatted to quite a few people, including a woman who was about to do her 60th marathon dragging a tyre (a big rubber car tyre) that had a plant pot in the middle of it. She’d also done 100k with it!

A of race history…
The Cranleigh Parish Boundary Challenge is put together by the rotary club of Cranleigh. People can run, walk or jog around the parish boundary. Walking the Paris Boundary is also known as Beating the Bounds. It is an ancient custon still observed today in many English parishes.

There was half marathon option, a 23 mils walk (the traditional ‘Beating the Bounds’ route and this year they added 3 miles for runners wishing to do the marathon.

Before the race began Reverend Roy Woodhams Rector of Cranleigh St Nicolas Church read out a blessing for the “beating the bounds” and then started the Challenge.

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Our fun day out…
Although I am not religious at all I loved the pre-race blessing. It gave the race a proper olde English feel and made you feel the tradition that the race stems from.

There was such a relaxed feel at the start of the run. Everyone was chatting as we started our way round the parish.

The route was beautiful…often we felt like we were in a different country (I know I sound like a total Londoner when I say that but Tash said it first & she lives outside of London). The scenery was gorgeous. Bluebells, sheep & lambs, horses.

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It was the hottest day of the year so far and some bits felt quite hot but there was a bit of a breeze to enjoy and we stayed well hydrated with water we were carrying & stuff from aid stations. We kept an eye on our hands as I’ve heard about Hypnatremia, which is when salt levels drop too much which can be caused from over hydrating & diluting the salt in your body plus sweating…so we were very sensible. (I have provided the link to a piece about Hypnatremia at the bottom of the blog).

I’ll quote Tash to give you a feel of the run. She described the run to the girls: “We ran, we walked, we took pics, we spoke to the old people that organised it, we chatted to the sheep, horses and dogs. A really chilled run”.

The people at the aid stations were lovely, we chatted to them & drank squash & I ate grapes & wished I didn’t mind eating on a run when looking at all the cakes on offer. Everything tastes so good during a run so I thought the orange squash was amazing!

We were chatting to a couple of other runners when we realised lots of people were coming towards us….apparently the signposts had gone wrong so we had gone down the wrong path- we were lucky we weren’t at the front as some of them had done a few miles extra. No one seemed to really mind- we all waited & chatted while someone phoned HQ to figure out where we were supposed to be going. We were all loving life & the breeze that was blowing on us. The person that called got our instructions & we continued on. Everyone was in it together. At least we weren’t dragging a tyre! There were orange arrows for us to follow around the route and they were mostly clear- there was another point some people had gone wrong but we were luckily following a couple of other runners at that point who knew where they were going. If this happened at some of the big races you can imagine the uproar of this happening but it really wasn’t an issue. Everyone was relaxed and didn’t mind.

We picked up our pace a bit through this field!

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As we were running along a bit of woodland I suddenly tripped on a tree root. It was quite funny. Tash turned around & saw me in a heap on the floor & wondered how she would tell anyone where we were as we had no idea. I sat up & knew I hadn’t hurt anything seriously. I just had some grazes on my leg. I gave them a wipe with a wet wipe & then I got up. We walked for a minute but I was happy to run- it didn’t hurt. It only stung later as sweat got in it (nice!). Some lovely ladies at one of the checkpoints gave me a wet wipe & some spray on savlon. These 2 ladies were great- they told us about all the route we had left to go and their husbands had gone to get some more water & they’d asked them to pick up some wine. That’s totally us in 30/40 years time!

We did it!
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We were given our medals and chatted to the people at the finish line before we headed in to the hall where there as food, squash, tea & coffee on offer. We grabbed a drink & went to lay in the sun to recover for a little while….& tell twitter we’d done the marathon & I’d only told a couple of people I was doing it.

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(The medal says 23 miles…the traditional route of the beating of the bounds was 23 miles & they added 3 miles this year so runners could do the marathon distance).

After a bit of lounging in the sun we went back inside to check out the food on offer. We were looked after so well. We both had a sandwich- I had a delicious cheese & coleslaw baguette and then a doughnut- all of which had been donated by the local bakery. They were delicious. We decided that we should probably get ourselves together to go so we got changed, my water bottle was topped up with squash for the journey and we were on our way.

It was the nicest way to finish a race. We were so looked after, and it was all so relaxed and friendly. It was such a treat as after big races it’s so crowded and busy you just don’t get that personal friendly feel that there was at this race.

This is all good training for Race To The Stones.  I have no idea how long that will take me.  And it really doesn’t matter.  As long as I see that finish line I’ll be happy and I’ll go out and enjoy myself and get through the toughest parts of the run.  It’ll be a tough challenge that I’m excited to conquer.

As you can probably tell I had a fabulous day in Cranleigh. I do enjoy the crowd at a big city marathon but I definitely want to do more runs like this. No pressure- just out to enjoy it. It’s the most friendly relaxed run I’ve done and I would definitely do it again next year.

Well done Cranleigh!

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