Arrived nice and early to register and get ready for the off, informed in race briefing that the marathon route had been changed due to the rain over the last week. It was now out on the half course, on to the full route course then back onto the half course. Almost a 2 lap course with an extra loop thrown in.
Decided from the start to stick to my own (slow) pace and not get drawn into the usual mass start keeping up thing, I was surprised how quick everyone semmed to fly off up the road!
It was about 5 miles in before we hit the first section of singletrack, a rooty and grassy bit before a slightly uphill sectiom - not too bad I was thinking. Back on the fire track for a few miles before we hit a sweet section of downhill singletrack, off camber, muddy and slippy - best part of the course!
My plan before the start was to pace myself and run the whole course, the singletrack just after the downhill bit put paid to this. The first bit was runable but the section after wasn't for us mortals, this is when the fast half guys passed us...running!
Back onto the firetracks and onto another good section of singletrack at around 9 miles.
It was then a long drag of fireroad past the split for half and full runners and out onto the extra loop for the marathon runners, this is when I started to push it a bit and passed a good few runners. The route then went uphill on a boggy path before hitting a steep open field...back to the walking. The next section was a tarmac road before hitting another short section of down hill singletrack, once again boggy, rocky and plenty of tree roots and then a return to the fire track before rejoining the half route.
I was starting to enjoy myself now after walking the steep singletrack for the second time started to push on a bit running my fastest mile splits at miles 21 and 22, got to mile 24 and crossed a bridge I remembered from mountain biking years ago - I thought 'Great, only 2 miles to go and they're going to send us back on the firetrack' - couldn't have been further from the truth.
This was the sting in the tale, keeping the steepest, longest and most hateful bit of singletrack for the last 2 miles! It just seemed to get steeper the further I went up, it finished me off and my splits for the last 2 miles were 16 and 14 mins. I was glad to hit the last half mile downhill into the finish and cheers from Chris and Clare.
A great day and well organised first running of the race, plenty of aid stations, route markers and marshals. Nice bit of flapjack at the finish as well!
Training around Coed Llandegla, Coed Ffrith and the trails over Minera Mountain are ideal prep for anyone planning on entering this event next year and don't forget to pack bug repellent - over 60 bites and counting.