NEMC Leas Marathon, South Shields, Sunday, February 26, 2017
Along with 5 other striders I toed the start line at the North East Marathon Club’s Leas Marathon at South Shields, It was a bright day and full of promise for my 14th Marathon as part of my bid to complete 50 marathons before I’m 50.
Start times were staggered to take into consideration how long you expected to take to complete the marathon, however this wasn’t the only option. Members of the NEMC who participated could run any amount of the 6ish mile laps up to marathon distance. Sue Jennings, Diane Harold, Joanne Porter and I all started on the 830am slot, which actually set off around 845am.
Employing a 2 min run and 1 min walk strategy Sue and I started off together. Sue having completed some awesome running achievements over the last year or so was happy to see how far she got, I wanted to complete at all costs. Being on trails across the Leas where I spent my childhood was lovely, it was sunny and just a bit breezy. The first lap went by quite quickly, we passed Anna Seeley and Catherine Smith as the started at 930ish.
It was a bit weird passing the car every 3 and bit miles of the figure of 8 lap, but meant I could carry minimal supplies as I would have ample opportunity to stop and grab fluids and nutrition as I went by.
Sue did really well but decided at mile 9 to complete the current lap (2 laps total) and then stop rather than risk injury. So then I was on my own, Singing along to myself in my head (as I do), doing calculations (if I run this speed I’ll finish in this time etc as I do) and saying hi to other runners, dogs, walkers time and distance kept passing on. As everyone has started at different times and were at different parts of the course it was lovely to see Anna, Catherine, Diane and Jo at different times really lifts your spirits to see a fellow strider and exchange a few words of encouragement. Anna and Catherine over achieved by completing 3 laps and Jo Porter did also (with a dicky tummy and all)
By 4 hours I was starting my last lap but now it was getting tough, the wind had picked up and some sections were really difficult because of this. My OH has gone off to do his own long run and I was wondering when he would be back, then just over the horizon I saw a familiar figure striding towards me, he couldn’t have arrived at a better time! It was the boost I needed to continue battling the wind and get this marathon completed.
As I crossed the middle section again, Diane Harold was coming in to complete her first ever marathon in 5:01:48, massive kudos to her in those weather conditions.
The last 3 miles were a huge struggle, there was a strong headwind whichever way I was facing but as I passed Souter Lighthouse for the last time I knew there was only about a mile to go. I could see the NEMC flag and my Strider buddies braving the freezing cold to welcome me over the mat for the last time!
The Leas Marathon is for NEMC members only, it is a low key, low cost event. Everyone was very friendly and encouraging, the fast lads/lasses zooming past the slower ones and the walkers all got the same encouragement and medal. A fantastic day out!