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Duchy Marathon 2013

By Stuart Nicholas

9th March 2013

So after all the long training runs, race prep and cake eating at the Tremodrett Open House, the Duchy marathon and 20 was upon us.

Although this marathon is a double looped 13 miler around Redruth and Pool, it will always bear some significance to me. The Duchy marathon was my first ever marathon back in 2010, completed as an unattached runner with very little training under my belt (a 13 miler the weekend before!) in a time of 3hrs 44. On this day I vowed never to run a marathon again, ticked that life achievement box. Job done. However, Duchy 2013 was to be my 10th 26.2 mile run.

As doing the London Marathon in 2013, the Duchy was to be a long training run. Owing to this, and his desperation to be in London in 2014, I suggested pacing Alan Wherry round to get him home under his good for age qualification time of 3:15. So here goes...

Three hours before the 10:30 timed start of the race, the most important (and best!) meal of the day was being consumed... breakfast! As it was a marathon, it was quite an epic breakfast too... a mahoosive bowl of banana-ry brown sugary porridge, promptly followed by a warmed saffron bun with honey, which was about the size of my face. One of the upsides to distance running eh?

Fast forward to about 10:10. The usual dilemma of ‘what do I wear?’ cropped up. T-shirt under vest? Gloves? Just vest? Baselayer? Argh! I don’t know it’s quite cold out there, it’ll warm up, what if there is a hellish wind like last year? - After much deliberating/fannying about, a decision was made – vest and gloves.

10:15 – warm up and final wee time.

10:28 – Dave Buzza from CAC shouts at us all about the race, and 2 minutes later a man with a gun(!) starts firing(!!). Fight or flight takes over and it would appear we all would have made rubbish caves people as we all ran away.

We had to clock an average pace of 7:24 minutes per mile to get in under 3:15. After talking to Alan he wanted to do a fairly pacey first 6 or so miles to give him some ‘wiggle’ room should he decide to hit the wall later on. After the adrenalin filled first few miles, the race settled down and the pack started to stretch.

Everything was going well, and we had just reached the coastal road for the first time of the two laps, fairly eager to see which way the wind was blowing – slight tailwind, happy days. Come this point, we had developed a small ‘gruppetto’ of runners who were also aiming for a sub 3:15. No pressure Stu, but you’ll disappoint about 8 people if you fail.

Around the corner and up one of the few real inclines – mile 10 – and it was only me and Al left! Ah well, if you can’t handle the heat...

Halfway round, still hitting averages well below 7:24, I ask Al if he’s alright and we can afford to slow up a bit if needs be. He says to me ‘I am sounding out of breath but my legs are fine, when they start hurting I’ll let you know about it!’ Good man.

Mile 20 – ‘This is where the race really begins, you know this Alan. Dig deep mate and we’ll soon be on the final stretch’. Acknowledged by Alan’s trademark grin (or was that a grimace?) and up the hill we go.

Miles 20 – 23: A bit of a drag along a quiet residential street leading into Pool – Alan had adopted a technique of running just behind and to my right slightly to make it easier, just watching my feet turning over as this appeared more interesting than the scenery. At this point we caught up with a flagging Tim Adams, which was like waving a red rag to a bull. At some point here Doug ‘The Slingshot’ Alsop was supporting, following him having to pull out through a quad injury. Wishing you a speedy recovery Doug.

Miles 23 – 25: Alan had gone quiet. I knew he was okay, we BOTH knew he would get in under 3:15 at this point as we made such good headway at the start, just to kip chugging along as we were.

Miles 25.5 – 26.2: That sodding hill leading up to ‘Trickie Dickies’, where some welcome words of gusto and encouragement were received from CAC’s Colin Snook. ‘He’s catching you Stu!!’ Believe me, i knew Alan was there! We reached the top of the ascent, and I saw a green Hayle vest at the bottom of the hill. Turned to Alan, he was going to make it, I made it my mission to overhaul this Hayle runner as remembering last year the team category places were close. Emptying the tanks, down under the bridge, overtake the Hayle runner, up past the Tesco’s and down to the Penventon... and there’s STARC’s very own Gary Jane nearly finishing the 20! He’d never let me forget it if he beat me!

Sprinting to the line, not realising I’d actually already crossed it and kept running to the table topped with water, orange squash, hundreds of snack-sized chocolate bars and bananas. Oh and the medal!

One minute later, Alan crossed the line. His time? 3:06! Not only had he qualified for London, he smashed his own PB by ten odd minutes AND he made the STARC men’s team for the first time! (Sorry Tim)

A great few hours for STARC, Duncan Oakes coming in second overall in 2:50, Phil Montgomery-Smith 5th overall with 2:53 (5 minute PB), me at 3:05 and Alan at 3:06 to make the mens team. Which came first I hasten to add. Quite a formidable men’s marathon team we have!

Age cat prizes went to Duncan, Phil, Me, Sue Mellis and Claire Budge, and a whopping list of PB’s, Mark Owen, Paddy Vander-Talen, Alan Wherry to name just a few.

Special mentions to Shaun Scrace and Sarah Bazely for achieving sizeable 20 mile PB’s, as

well as many 20 mile first time racers.