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 The Goodwood Running GP - Marathon

Goodwood Running GP Marathon - 11 February 2024

Race numberI was somewhat coerced into running this by Ian a running friend who I first met one Saturday morning when I asked about his "Running Sucks" shirt.  Ian was the first local person to make a donation to my London Marathon fundraising page.  Like me, Ian was keen to achieve a personal best marathon time of 4hours 30mins and Goodwood motor racing circuit is ideal, as being circuits you can leave a bag with everything you need on the circuit at most 10 minutes away, rather than lug gels and water etc around the 26.2miles. OK there are two harder but run-able hills, but these are countered by the equally easier downhill sections.

The weather forecast at 5am for the event was abysmal. Rain, heavy rain, followed by more rain. I nearly decided to give it a miss, but I was keen to give myself confidence of being able to do a marathon distance without issues, ahead of the Brighton Marathon on 7 April and this gave me an opportunity for recovery if I got any injury.

Two hours later, on the drive to Goodwood, the weather was surprisingly clear and sunny. Where was the rain? Is it still due (90% chance of)?  I collected my race number and asked a steward what the forecast now was. He confirmed that rain was now less likely. Ian rocked up and said "see, why you should never trust a weather forecast"

Ian at the startWe started off at an easy pace. Spiderman was back again, this time with his son in a push chair. After half a lap I saw him in front and decided to try and keep up with him and quickened my pace to catch up and have a chat.  That was the last I saw of Ian, I had thought he had also quickened to mach me.

Salt Sticks Electrolyte helps with cramp!All was well until mile-14 when yet again cramp struck. Not as bad as previously, but I knew from experience it had the potential to get much worse, so decided to slow down and walk the uphill sections for a lap or two. At around mile -18, suffering with cramp and my electrolyte tablets having failed me, along with copious numbers of bananas, a nice lady runner gave me two of her chewable electrolyte tablets, telling me they work much quicker. What a revelation these are. Within ten minutes I was back to running again though not fully confident that the cramp wouldn’t return.

Then on the penultimate lap it started to rain quite heavily, enough to soak everyone. After two minutes, we were being showered with hailstones. So my options became a choice of calling it a day or putting on a waterproof when next at my supply bag. But within 10 minutes the rain stopped and the sun came out drying us all off, so I decided to carry on what I had thought would be my last lap of the 2.367mile/3.81km circuit, especially as the chewable salt tablets had worked. Also another incentive was my target time appeared to be still achievable if I went for it.  I crossed the finish at 4 hours 33mins but was bemused that according to Garmin watch, I had only covered 24.3miles – 1.9miles short!  

That sky looks ominousAnother nice new Goodwood medalAfter I collected my medal someone suggestively joked I had might have another lap to do, (which by then I was never going back out to do) but that did indeed turn out to be the case. It gave me a pro-rata marathon time of 4 hours 50mins equalling my last sub 4hours 30mins attempt at Goodwood on 2 July 2023.

Not quite a full marathon

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