York Marathon race report by Ryan Talley

Race Date: Sunday 14th October 2018

I’ve been a strider for a couple of years now but due to shift patterns I don’t get out to many training sessions. After Sunday’s effort I plan to do better at this.

I booked my place on the Yorkshire marathon a year ago when entries opened, plenty of time to get ready I thought. I have run a number of Half marathons but this was going to be my first full marathon and by August I was on track with my marathon training. Progressively longer runs to work were getting easier and I felt fitter than ever. My PB for a half is 1.57.55 at Clowne although my Sheffield half time this year was 1.59.35 which I was happier with considering the climb.

A group of around 20 of us were running the Sheffield 10k for Cancer Research kids and teens. This meant I could try for a PB but I would have have to leave my 20 mile run until the Monday or Tuesday after. I got a PB but I was struggling to get my breath at the end and had to pull up twice on Arundel Gate. It turns out I had the start of a chest infection which stopped my training abruptly, I managed 101010 last week but that was the only run in what turned out to be a very steep taper.

I booked an Airbnb for me and my wife Polly. She went to York Uni and was keen to show me around and support me at a couple of spots on the route. We spent Saturday exploring York (and its bars) and headed back early to get a good rest. Obviously I was too hyped to sleep well but  woke early and left the room at 8am to head for the shuttle bus. It was tipping it down already. The rain continued throughout, I was completely soaked by the time the race started but nothing could dampen my enthusiasm for my first marathon. When we (zone 4) finally crossed the start line I had caught up with the 4h 30 pacer where I had planned to stay for the majority of the race. Within 20 minutes however, I had overtaken her and hit the first 10k marker in 55 minutes. I felt great and in my head thought I could sustain this for the duration. The 20k marker was hit about an hour later and I thought I could possibly manage 4hr 15 which would be better than expected for my first full marathon. I realised this was going to be a big ask when I hit 30k in a total of 3hr 6 mins as I was starting to feel it. I pushed on but in reality I didn’t have the experience of longer runs and the last 12k were a messy mixture of 7 to 8 minute kilometres. I had run out of steam, I found myself doing a strange mixture of running and staggering. It was painful to walk and less so to run but I had no power left. I must have looked done in.

I never once thought that I wouldn’t make it but the slower I went, the colder I got and I was willing for the finish line to appear. A few Striders passed me and I could hear people shouting my name and pushing me on including my wife who had ran between part of the route and was as wet and cold as I was. I finished in 4.42.42. It was, in reality, a good result given my poor training and the conditions. I know I have it in me to do a lot better. The Yorkshire marathon was a sellout and very well organised. The stewards were awesome, cheering us along from start to finish as was the crowd that braved the rain. In all 38 striders completed the marathon with some truly impressive times.

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