Stratford Upon Another Marathon

Historic Town Centre Start Line

So……exactly four weeks after running my second ever marathon I was running another  – This time the Rotary Shakespeare Marathon!

When originally entering this I felt four weeks was ample time to recover physically, and in fact suffered no post race aches or stiffness at all after the first one. I even ventured out with my running club for an interval session two days later. With the ultimate goal of an ultra marathon, I was worried about maintaining my weekly long runs though, with a double taper and double recovery, but they went like this: 13 / 26 / 15 / 20 / 13 / 26 / 13 so no issues there.

The race itself was a double loop of half and full marathoners. It starting in the historic Stratford Upon Avon town centre before heading out through some pictoresque villages and back along a converted railway track. Once the halfers had peeled off back into town, the full marathoners did a second but extended loop. It was obviously a lot quieter on the second loop, but also more friendly. I ran a good portion with a guy running
his first marathon (who finished well under 4 hours) and chatted to another runner who had run the race twenty odd times (with a sub three hour PB!)

I had been eating fig rolls and dried apricots up until mile 18, but had my first of two gels here as could feel my energy start to decline. The last 4 miles felt like really hard work but my pace only dropped by about 10 seconds a mile and I overtook a lot of plodders and walkers.

I was overtaken early on by a runner who said he liked my shoes (vibram five finger bikilas) and it wasn’t until he was a few metres ahead I noticed he was wearing the same! I decided not to catch him up as he was slowly pulling away. However, I saw him at the finish and we had a quick chat. Turns out it was his first marathon and he finished 70 seconds ahead of me. I did see someone doubled up at the side of the road wearing vivobarefoot evo’s so not sure he finished.

Patched Up And Ready To Run!

I had no issues with my shoes at all, dispite them being very worn after 1250 miles. I reinforced the thinnest parts with bike tube repair patches, which were still present afterwards. The bodyglide and glass lens cleaning cloth covering the rough areas on the inside completely eliminated any rubbing.

Taking Up The Slack!I did have a few issues with my UltrAspire hydration belt though. On the last few training runs the belt had jumped around a lot when the bottle was full, but settled once there was some air space in it. It just didn’t settle down at all during the marathon and at one point fell off completely with all the adjusting! Luckily I caught it as it fell. Since then I have realised that although my weight has stayed constant throughout training, my waist has gotten slightly smaller. Coupled with thinner clothing now it has finally started to warm up, the belt on the smallest adjustment isn’t tight enough. I have sewn a double fold in the outer fabric to reduce the fit by about 2 inches and since then it’s been spot on.


As of finishing this marathon, the ultra is 5 weeks away so my training will become more specific:

More off road running.
Running at a lower effort level.
Slowing down if my heart rate gets too high (actual BPM to be discovered)
Walking steeper hills.
And hopefully running the ultra course as it’s local.