Glasgow-Edinburgh Double Marathon, Saturday, March 6, 2010


Clare van den Bos

“Keep the canal on your right and you’ll be fine.”

Started off, cold and nervous, in a park in Glasgow. The hooter went and I set off near the back. Which is where I stayed.

I decided to do the 25 mins run/ 5 mins walk thing, and I pretty much stuck to that the whole way round. I ate and drank something during every 5 min bit and I also made sure I crouched right down to stretch my legs a bit. Having a routine meant that I could run for 10 minutes and then spend the next 15 planning what to eat 🙂 Food is always the way to get me to do things …

salted nuts/ pretzels/ sweeties/ sandwiches/ muffins/ chocolate (that one was a mistake) about 300 Kcal an hour. water/ OJ/ nuun (but hardly any nuun as it is pure Juice of Ming) drinking mostly when thirsty.

That all might seem a bit OTT but I knew it was going to take me rather a long time and wanted not to fall over …

Most of this route is stunning. Especially after Falkirk. The landscape opens up and the views of the snow-covered hills. And close by, the trees and the birds and the ducks ice skating and oh, a rat Raspberry! I ran through beautiful beech woods and along bits that felt like country paths. And all pretty much on my own, which was a nice feeling, mostly.

Sometimes I listened to music, but not a lot. The stillness and birdsong was lovely to hear and when I was running through the scary skanky bits I wanted to be able to hear …

First HM was great. Good pacing/ hydration/ still with some of the field. CP 1 and Phil saves me from being poisoned by gluten and off I trot.

I spend the next two and a bit hours to CP2 leapfrogging with a couple who have matching kit and a guy who just can’t face me being in front of him … (I leave him at CP3 🙂 )

CP2 is the Falkirk Wheel. A bit disappointing that it’s not going round. Pick up stuff from my drop bag and take too much water. My backpack is too heavy for the next half hour until I realise that I don’t have to carry water for the next 5 hours and ditch half of it 🙂 Through two scary tunnels which I didn’t like.

CP3 where apparently I impress the marshall by looking all fresh. Silly woman!

And this is where things get tough. I’d let go of my timings so I hadn’t really eaten/ drank/ walked properly. And it felt like there was a heck of a long way to go, still, even though I’d already run further than I ever had before. I had a patch where it felt like I was running at full effort and yet was struggling to make 13 min/ miling.

So I had a little weep. And reminded myself that I didn’t have anything to prove to anyone, that I was doing this because I wanted to. Then I took good advice and focussed on getting to CP4, texting ahead really to say that no-one needed to put themselves out waiting for me as I was going to be slow, and possibly even pulled off the course.

Oh, and the sunset was breathtaking. Dark reds right across the sky and as I turned a corner there it was, perfectly reflected in the canal. Made the whole thing worthwhile.

Got to CP4 and a text saying that not only was a friend from fetch waiting for me at CP5, but she’d sent her lovely husband out to meet me 🙂 That really lifted me.

A runner passed me and reminded me that it was actually dark and hadn’t I better put my headtorch on? So I did and that made a huge difference, especially when I remembered that I could angle the torch rather than having to move my head …

Through splashy mud and stuff and CP5. The marshall asks “Are you number 6?” and titters politely at my “Who is number 1?” joke. She says it’s only 7.5 miles to the finish.

Suddenly it feels like I might actually finish. Which is an odd, lightening feeling.

Just as well, because from this point the difference between the walking and the running paces is purely academic as my leg is causing me so much pain and everything else is just tired. And suddenly I’m starving. Need chips. Spend the next hour fantasizing about chips and Daniel Craig, or chips on Daniel Craig …

3 miles to go. A wise runner once said “Any fool can run 3 miles.” Well not this one. I can hobble it, and that’ll have to do. The last mile takes me over 22 minutes, even though I’m pushing as hard as I can. Lots of helpful texts, one very annoying ring tone. (James Bond theme – that’s where the whole Daniel Craig stuff started)

I approach the finish and all I can see is 2 marshals 🙁 Is that it? NO! Round the corner and OH! OH! (I’m still teary thinking about it!) There’s a huge crowd of people (who’ve come out of the party especially) waiting and cheering and Anna’s made me a finishing line to cross and there’s Phil, waiting with a gin just for me 🙂 🙂 I fall over the line and into a hug. I can’t believe it’s over.

Clare reaches Anna and Phil waiting at the finish.

Almost as soon as I finish everything starts hurting. Even my hair hurts.

Then gin and champagne and trying to get changed in the toilets and a very green risotto (and watching everyone else eat garlic bread and pizza) and a taxi to the Hotel From Hell …

It’s in an Edinburgh town house… 10 steps up to the door. I check in and the bloke says “your rooms in the next house up.” Pick up bags. Down the steps, up the steps to the next house, up two flights of stairs, find he’s given me the wrong key. Consider going to sleep on the landing. Down two flights of stairs, down the steps, up the steps, get the key, down the steps, up the steps, up two flights of stairs, take 5 minutes getting into the shower and bed.

I could get to like this long running malarky. And I’d like to try it somewhere less, well, flat.

55 miles, 12 hours 41(ish) 🙂

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