As soon as i left the house at 5.30am to mark out the last part of the route i knew it was going to be a scorcher, by the time the Marathon runners started turning up in Craven Arms i was a little concerned about just how hot it was. There was plenty of water along the route but as a runner myself i know how easy it is to get dehydrated. As it turned out it seemed that everyone was sensible and took on plenty of fluids throughout the races which was a big relief.
We were thrilled to have John Disley an Olympic bronze madalist and joint founder of the London Marathon present to start both events.
I was really envious of everyone as they set off as this a route that i absolutely love running and with the underfoot conditions being so good, to join them for a few hours of running would have been bliss.
Whilst the Marathon runners toiled up towards Flounders Folly and the first checkpoint i headed off to Wilderhope Manor to set off the half Marathon.
|Val Swingler on her way to setting the womens course record, photo by Alistair Tye|
On arrival there were plenty of runners sheltering from the sun whilst doing some last minute stretching. There was no shelter for them for the first few miles once John Disley had sounded the claxon, heading around the stunning Wilderhope Manor before going out across farmland and their first climb of the race.
|Half Marathon start, photo by Sabine Hutchinson|
From here i headed towards Much Wenlock, stopping at 4 checkpoints along the way to help set up and position marshals on the entry to the town. I arrived at the finish area and got some flags set up just in time for the first finisher of the half Marathon, Martin Snodgrass. Martin ran a brilliant race and set a new course record with a time of 1 hour, 37 minutes and 13 seconds.
|Martin Snodgrass approaches the finish line, photo by Alistair Tye|
In the womens race Jessica Harvey was the first over the finish line, improving her own time from last year by an amazing 23 minutes, finishing in 2 hours 4 minutes and 26 seconds.
I now had a little time to chat to some of the early finishers which was great, it gives me a real buzz to hear about how others have enjoyed the route and which bits they found tough.
Thoughts around the finish now turned to the first Marathon competitors finishing as we thought they would be getting close. We didn't have too long to wait until Luke Moseley raced onto the Church green, finishing in a time of 3 hours 41 minutes and 57 seconds. Not long after this Val Swingler crossed the line in third place overall and first woman, she smashed the previous womens record by 8 minutes with a time of 3 hours 53 minutes and 38 seconds!
Unfortunately i missed half of the presentations as i was delivering cake to some of the marshals. All that was left was to nervously wait for the last marathon runners who had been out in the hot conditions for a long time. When they arrived they all seemed fine and were suffering no ill effects of the temperatures which was a great end to the day. A quick dash about to throw everything on the trailer and then it was home for food and a long overdue drink.
A special well done to Jenny Mills who i believe was the only Marathon competitor who took on the extra climb to the top of the Folly!
Full results will be avaiable in the next couple of days.
I'd like to thank on behalf of the National Trust all the landowners who allow us to use their land without their support the event could not happen as half of the route is not owned by the National Trust. Special thanks to Chris Hill of The Edge Adventures and the Wardens at Sytche Lane camping and caravan site for clearing a footpath that was quite overgrown in the days before the race. Paul Cashmore from Wilderhope Manor again went out on his tractor to mow some of the footpaths around Wilderhope Manor for which i am extremely grateful. Wenlock Water very kindly provided water for all participants which i am sure was gratefully recieved by everyone at the finish.
Finally thankyou to all the National Trust staff, Wenlock Olympian Society and mainly the volunteers who kindly offered to give their time up, without whom we would not be able to put the event on.