30 things I learnt running the 60th Isle of Wight Marathon

  1. Ryde Harriers know how to run an event; great facilities, genuinely enthusiastic marshals, race officials and volunteers, hands down the best organised event I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in.
  2. There may be less hilly, more forgiving routes for your first ever marathon; the last hills back from Porchfield to Cowes were hard.
  3. Really hard. After mile 22 I pretty much bonked; tingly extremities and a sicky tummy, on top of cramping toes on my poor right foot.
  4. I laced my shoes too tightly. img_1312
  5. It’s harder when everyone gets strung out and you’re running on your own.
  6. On the whole though, much more balanced toward enjoyable over barely functioning endurance though!
  7. Water stations were much anticipated and appreciated beacons. My mindset was lots of three mile runs and the regularity of hydration opportunities and friendly faces helped immeasurably.
  8. Sponge stations are an unexpected delight, particularly when the sun was beating down.
  9. Sports gels may have a place; trying to get flapjack down was distinctly unappetising once my body was no longer prioritising digestion! img_1315
  10. The usual tough first couple of km were like flying along, with the sound of hundreds of feet slapping the tarmac surrounding you and lots of happy chatter.
  11. It’s fun to use people having interesting conversations as pacers for a time.
  12. Ditto heavily tattooed runners.
  13. The vast majority of car drivers were respectful and considerate.
  14. The tiny minority were rude and dangerous.
  15. I kind of wish the route could be slightly altered so as to take you round Newtown proper, I missed it. img_1317
  16. The hills of the Brecon Beacons were a great training playground, our hills are short ones at least.
  17. When the sun is out for prolonged periods, ever cloud and section of shade is a bodily delight.
  18. To not be working the day after your first marathon is a definite bonus.
  19. Although most of my niggles usually seem to be on the right side of my body, today it is the left that feels a bit battered. Overcompensation perhaps?
  20. The Causeway between Yarmouth and Freshwater was a highlight, next to the water under a green canopy, away from the cars. img_1318
  21. Through Thorley, Wellow and Ningwood were the quietest of the country lanes, much appreciated about 15 miles in.
  22. Lack of headphones was not a problem as I had anticipated it might be. Plenty of which to take notice.
  23. Families watching and cheering on the sidelines were a great aspect, especially when they dished out high fives and sweeties.
  24. Lots of people assumed I was an Ovener and gave me encouraging but ultimately misleading advice about the distance and elevation of the remaining course.
  25. The guy who told me there were 600 yards to go assumed a better working knowledge of imperial measurements than someone who loves decimal as much as I do possesses.
  26. Through a complete lack of imagination, the roped of final metres with cheering crowds were a lovely suprise.
  27. The refuel station at the end was a sight to behold, bountiful piles of bananas, jelly babies and Haribo. Yum.
  28. The importance of keeping in reserve enough in the legs to at least stumble home.
  29. Although on numerous occasions I told myself I need never run this far again, I think I might like to.
  30. It’s practically impossible to take any kind of decent photograph whilst running! img_1322