This weekend in Stratford upon Avon there were celebrations going on for Shakespeare's birthday. This included various events such as a parade with marching bands and various acting groups and some morris dancers, as well as the marathon (run along with a half, for the semi-fit).
It was a beautiful sunny weekend and we stayed in a lovely B&B in a comfy room with a four-poster. Saturday involved a cafe, butterflies (see Jim's fantastic picture of a glasswing), rowing on the Avon (Jim rowed, I loaded up on food for the next day's run, we both sang silly rowing songs), wine on the large grassy area by the RSC theatre and a pizza dinner. A top day all in all.
The marathon itself was very good. Before the start I met up with a Fetchie, Naomi, who had chosen to run as Lara Croft. We had drinks with several other Fetchies after the race and it was great to put some more faces to the names of people I've been chatting online with recently. I've done this run a couple of times before so knew exactly what to expect from the two-lap course through country lanes and along a track. There are a couple of hills but nothing too bad. There are plenty of water stations and there was a cool breeze negating the effects of the sun. I got a little burnt, but not badly. I felt comfortable and enjoyed chatting with other runners on the way round. My time was 4:02:35, which is pretty good for me. I didn't really mind too much how long it took though, as just completing my 50th was enough achievement in itself.
As this was my tenth marathon/ultra of the year, it also marked the end of the challenge I was doing to raise funds for Animal aid. The challenge was '10 marathons in 5 months', but in my eagerness I completed it over a month early. I got an email from Richard at Animal Aid telling me that the sponsporship has amounted to over £15 000, which is a record as it's the most they've ever received for a sponsored event. Given the current economic climate of credit crunchiness, that's not bad, eh?