There are many good ways to ensure you’re fully rested before your marathon. Driving to Leeds at 3am the day before, running a parkrun and driving down at 3am on the morning of the marathon is not one of them.
There are many good breakfasts you can eat on the day of your marathon. A hot chocolate and a large packet of salt and vinegar crisps at a service station at 5am is not one of them.
There are many superb in-race nutrition strategies that you can adopt to make sure that your run doesn’t turn into a walk part-way round. Water and air (unless you have spent months preparing your body to function on them) may not make the list.
There are many good anti-chafe lotions and potions available on the market. They only work if you remember to take them with you.
Basically, I turned up tired, hungry, slightly queasy and with sub-optimal kit. And I had a blast.
Farnham Pilgrim Marathon is a relatively hilly trail marathon which is small enough to be friendly and large enough to have a dozen-or-so familiar faces amongst the milling throng. The course takes in bits of the Pilgrims’ Way and bits of the North Downs Way and also includes the odd little out-and-back detour to take in some of the local attractions.
It has 16 water stations (no, that’s not a typo), a good half of which have squash and biscuits at them, more marshals than you can shake a stick at, and is so well marked that if you haven’t seen any markings for 10 yards, you begin to wonder if you’ve missed a turning.
The goody bag is basic (technical t-shirt and banana) but who needs goodies when you can relax post-race with cake while listening to the mellow sound of a brass band?