Abingdon Marathon

On a chilly and extremely foggy Sunday morning 5 of us set out along the M40 to Abingdon to take part in what is billed as Oxfordshires premier marathon. From the original line up when entries opened back at the beginning of the year only 3 of those entered, Ann Bath, Richard Goulder and Julie Chasin remained with myself and Peter Grecian taking advantage of places up for grabs due to various injuries.
 
Of the 5 of us Richard was running his first marathon, Julie and I were setting out put the misery of our spring marathons well and truely to bed, Peter was running his first marathon for a few years and Ann was hoping the effects of running her 24 hour track race only 4 weeks ago wouldn’t take their toll.
 
 

Abingdon is a BARR graded gold event and I have to say with the exception of a couple of stretches of the course that could have done with a few more Marshalls this event is extremely well organised. The teams of marshalls not only guided us safely across many difficult junctions and past numerous items of street furniture they were probably (with the exception of V10K) the most encouraging marshalls I have ever come across. The water and feed stations were numerous and well organised and the local residents obviously take this race to thier hearts and were evident throughout the course giving encouragement and handing out Jelly babies, although I think there were a lot of hyperactive kids in the Abingdon area last night as most of them seemed to think the ratio of 1 for the runner 2 for themselves was the order of the day.
 
The race starts at Tisley Park, an athletics track just to the north of Abingdon and takes a wide 4 mile loop round the main roads of the town, along country paths before heading through the town centre. Heading along the river the course then takes a double 8 mile loop through the villages of Drayton, Milton and Sutton Courtenay before heading through the town again back to Tisley Park. The route is extremely flat and scenic in places and although hard work like any distance run can be it was very a enjoyable race, one I would highly recommend. By the time we started the sun had shown it’s face and the conditions were absolutely perfect and remained so throughout the entire race.
 
All 5 of us set of with our own personal goals and set our own paces with Peter heading out first closely followed by Richard and Julie with Ann and I bringing up the rear. With exception of me passing Ann who was definitely feeling the effects of her 24 hour track race we all finished in that order. Peter, hoping to finish in around 3:39:00 ran extremely well and only missed his time by a couple of minutes. Richard who setting out on his first marathon attempt after returning from a back injury during the summer really did himself proud and smashed the 4 hour mark by 12 minutes. Julie was determined not to finish this race in the back of an ambulance and really went out with a point to prove. Running strong throughout she only just missed the 4 hour mark by just under 2 minutes and if I am honest along with many others I spoke to afterwards I recorded the course at almost 26.5 miles so a sub 4 hour is definitely on the cards in the near future. After my nightmare at Brighton my main two goals were firstly to actually finish and secondly to get round in 4:30:00 which despite pulling a calf muscle at around 23 1/2 I managed. Ann despite struggling somewhat kept at it and showed pure determination to finish as only Ann can do and came in to huge applause from the rest of us with a huge smile on her face.
 
I would like to say a huge thank you to Julie’s husband Stephen and Moustafa Fawzy who both came along and gave some great support. The beer and pub grub at the Kings Head and Bell afterwards while we rested our weary legs was most welcome and topped of a cracking day.
 
Results as follows:
 

Position

Name

Gun Time

Chip Time

1

Stephen Male

2:31:45

2:31:46

 

 

 

 

399

Peter Grecian

3:41:34

3:41:27

443

Richard Goulder

3:48:17

3:47:52

569

Julie Chasin

4:02:10

4:01:45

689

Kevin Stone

4:28:30

4:28:05

716

Ann Bath

4:39:47

4:39:42

 

 

 

 

777

Gillian Anton

5:44:47

5:43:58