Race Date: Sunday 16th April 2023
Boston uk marathon 16.4.23 –( a story)
A staggered start also saw a Half marathon and a 10K run in the same morning.
Boston Marathon was described to me as flat so should be easier to run it! I, on the other hand, thought I’m never doing a marathon again. It was at the Striders Xmas do when Christine informed me that she had booked onto this. Go on Mandy you can do it.
I tend to veer towards ultras due to their easier pace and less competitiveness, having done 3 marathons previously (approx. 4rs ago)– all sub 4hr I wasn’t sure that I wanted to ruin my own record.
December passed to January and Covid took hold, my thoughts for an easy 2023 after a chaotic 2022 appeared to be forced upon me. This seemed to lead to ‘A women’s prerogative…change of mind’.
Every one around me was discussing either Manchester or London Marathon and I was beginning to feel left out. The only way to London was via GFA, ballots not good. Hence, 11 weeks before the marathon date saw me signing up for Boston.
Boston route is exactly as it is described, flat, lanes through villages, lots of open fields and farms. And open to the elements. The start and finish are in different places. The start is at the centre of Boston outside the Cathedral where myself and some fellow Striders met up.
Christine turned up with new belt for her gels and wondered if she had got enough, think there was about a dozen or so. I had a lonely one in my belt keeping sweets company! Obligatory pics taken and views expressed how we were going to tackle this run. Conversation interrupted by the Lady Mayoress who nicely asked if we were the elite team, some more small talk, Ryan cheekily asked if she had already collected her medal (as dressed if full regalia) the mood was lighthearted.
It was good running weather, chilly/overcast to start but dry, the sun was due to make an appearance a little later.
We set off at 8am, (HM 8.30 and 10k at 9am) Through the town centre, out across a dual carriageway and shortly hit the countryside. The route was marshalled well, water stations every 2 to 3 miles, loos on route and plenty of colour coded way markers.
I met up with Mark after the initial dash and ran with him for the first couple of miles, him saying we were doing well and giving me km details left me to check my own tracker. Brilliant if I’d being doing a Parkrun 23min @ 3mile. Had to slow down. We approached 4 mile station and I sent Mark on his way and visited the loo. The need to pace myself became an obsessive thought. At mile 7ish I passed Mark and thought he was taking it steadier as well.
Couldn’t remember seeing any lakes on the map, but there seemed to be one in the distance just peeping through the buildings. Turned out to be fields covered with plastic sheeting! Hallucinating at such an early stage. Though the route is flat, some of the lanes were covered in potholes, so an awareness was needed. Kept thinking don’t trip on that. (possibly being hypo sensitive as car just suffered £200 damage on a pothole) but it helped to pass the time.
Spectators are few and far between, but they were very friendly and encouraging. It was nice and unexpected to see a fellow strider early and again when struggling (18mile ish) taking photos, I really did try to smile.
The route can be a bit monotonous, but at the same time it was nice to see lots of runners across the fields both in front and behind. The sun came out mid morning, but for a short time there was a lovely cool breeze, this did drop towards the end of my run, so I could see that it may be problematic for others behind me.
It was good to see civilisation – the thought you were close to the end, torture over, the run down towards the finish line was great, with plenty of people spurring you on.
Once over the finish line a banana and bottle of water was thrust into my hand, I felt disappointed, I thought we were getting a medal and t shirt. Sense took over quickly and off I went to find afore said t shirt and medal! The fruits of my labour! The sun was shining, I had done it.
If running a flat route is your thing and you are chasing a PB then it’s a good marathon to attend.
Fairly local, not expensive and well run. Potentially the weather could be a huge disadvantage. And only water provided. Gels, jellies etc are left for the individual to take.
Personally – I did feel that running this marathon was jinxed from the start for me, Covid scuppered a few weeks of what could have been the start of my training, and of the 3 x 20milers I’d done, (hadn’t done any long runs since last Aug) one saw me mis judging the temp and not being warm enough, once home I had to head to bed due to shivering and feeling nauseous for 30mins. The 3rd long run then left me with tendonitis (groin area) another week of non running. To cap it all the day before the marathon my back tooth broke and the sharp edge kept catching the side of my tongue. During the run, I was unable to eat the jellies/sweets as my mouth felt swollen. The one and only gel went down a treat. I’d previously revised my sub 4 and begrudgingly amended this to 4.30. But this wouldn’t have qualified me to apply to London – I’ve never deferred a race so just went to get on with it.
I actually felt really good up to mile 16, the next 5 was OK and surprisingly I’d got just past 20mile mark under 3hrs. Though I was shattered, the thought there was a possibility for the sub 4 really spurred me on. There was lots of walking, and the last half mile I just wanted to sit down and give up, but really, could you let the last half mile get the better of you? So plodded on.
I’m well pleased that I’ve maintained my sub 4 record, maybe London next year is a goer.
470 marathon runners finished.
The Marathon was won by Richard Ollington – Thames Hare – 2hrs 30.00 and Joanna Oregon – St Neots Riverside Runners 2hrs 50.29
Striders Results: Marathon
Striders results: 10k
Full Results: here