Sunday 8th October 2017 was a brilliant day for York, North Yorkshire. It was the day of the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon 2017 and I was running it. Having never ran a marathon before this was quite something for me.
5.45am the alarm went off, I rolled over and switched it off. Marathon day was here. I nudged the hubby who was running with me today and we both got up. Breakfast was your standard affair before a long run- a big bowl of oats with a few spoons of Nutella. I was feeling surprisingly calm and fine at this point. I expected the pre-race nerves to kick in but they didn’t seem to be. I started to feel confident that everything was going to be ok and I was quite excited to run my first ever marathon.
7am we set off. We live about 25 miles away from where the marathon started so we estimated it would take about 45 minutes to get to the car park where we could get a bus into York (buses were put on from Elvington airfield so that traffic wasn’t going straight into York as there were loads of road closures). As we got closer to the airfield, the traffic was pretty hectic so we had to queue for a while. At this point I started to feel the nerves a little, but I kept a positive mind and just kept imagining us finishing the race. That was our goal for this- having never ran 26.2 miles before we didn’t know what to expect so we just wanted to get round in one piece and finish it. We finally managed to park the car and grab the next bus to the university which is where the marathon started and finished. The atmosphere was buzzing when we arrived.
The bag drop and event area was pretty well organised, everything was well signposted. The only thing that was annoying was the toilets. I know with such a big event with thousands of people there that of course there’s going to be queues for the toilets but I think there should have been more. We queued for about 15-20 minutes just to go for a wee! After we finally managed to use the toilets it was time to head to the start line which was a 5 minute walk away. The warm-up for the race was non-existent so we had to just do a little jiggle and a quick jump about in the tiny space we had and that would have to do.
Before we knew it the countdown had begun and it was time to go. As we were so far back from the actual start line it took around 10 minutes to get to it but we were off. The first couple of miles were straight through York city centre and the support and atmosphere here was incredible, it really made me feel confident. I had noticed from the beginning that the 5-hour pacer was behind us and she was slowly getting further and further away from us. This made me feel confident and made me believe that we may finish this in a pretty good time for a first marathon (anything sub 5 hours was a good time for us). The first half of the marathon flew by and I was feeling great although I did have to stop at the toilet I had drank so much water and isotonic drink that there was no way I could have ran any further feeling so full.
I told my husband to carry on running and I would catch him up, which I did. Mile 15 was a bit of a struggle and I feared I’d hit the dreaded wall. But I focused and pulled myself back. At this point we saw the 5 hour pacer go by and disappear ahead- bye bye sub 5 hours for us! To be honest, at this point it didn’t really matter what time we finished in, we just wanted to finish.
Miles 16 to 20 were probably the most awful ones as when you reach mile 17 you can see mile 19 on the other side of the road- you know you have to run all the way down that road to come all the way back- not the best feeling in the world. At this point I was keeping an eye on my husband as he was starting to slow down. I kept a slow pace just ahead of him and kept encouraging him to keep going. This continued until mile 20 when my husband had to stop. I feared he hadn’t taken on enough energy to keep him going so I made him continuously sip water and isotonic and told him to have an energy gel sachet. He did and we started to run again. Unfortunately, this was now the point of no return for him and I had to continuously encourage him to keep going. This is when the aches and pains started to kick in for me as I was running so slowly to keep my husband going.
Miles 23-25 were the slowest due to walking quite a lot but I was determined to keep us going. I told my husband that when we got to the mile 25 marker we were going to run and not stop until we finished. Mile 25 arrived, I grabbed his hand and off we went. At 25.5 miles there is quite a steep hill to get back up to the university campus but there was no way I was letting that stop me from running. I completely zoned in on my husband and kept him going. We got to the top and then it was downhill from there- the last few hundred feet and the finish line were in sight. The crowds going up the hill and on the way to the finish line were awesome. There was so much encouragement from everyone!
It was done, we had done it! Off to get our goody bag and medal we went. Would I recommend the Yorkshire marathon? Yes I would. Looking back it actually was a very pleasant run (as pleasant as a marathon can be I guess). 90% of the course is pretty flat which makes for a great first marathon. I would certainly do it again and I would be aiming for a better time- we did it in 5 hours 30 minutes so I would definitely aim for sub 5 hours next time. To have an event like that so close to where I live is fantastic and I will be back!