Sunday, 2 May 2010

Sarsen about

After a thunderstorm on Friday night, I was pleased that it dawned dry and bright, making the motorbike an appealing transport option for the weekend. A lot of bikers find motorways boring, but I really quite like to put Haku (my Fazer 600) up into 6th gear and zip down the M3 towards the South West. I stayed in a cute hotel in Amesbury, close to Stonehenge.

On Sunday morning, they bussed us up from the henge to Avebury (which has its own, less well known stone circle), for the start of the Neolithic Marathon (also known as the Sarsen Trail). I've done this one 3 times before, so knew what to expect. It was muddier than previous sunnier years, but still had the expected strong winds - fortunately this time they remained predominantly tail winds with some cross winds. There are several hills of varying steepness on this beautiful trail course across the Salisbury plains. As I'm officially tapering for the 10in10, I aimed to take about 4:30 to 5 hours, so that my legs wouldn't get tired and they'd recover quickly. My plan was to jog gently, then walk lots of the uphills, making it a pleasant day out. I stuck to my regime successfully, though finished a bit quicker than anticipated in 4:13. I guess that's a good sign that my legs are over the exertion of Brighton a fortnight ago and happy to run an 'easy' sub-4:15.Jim had been camping in the New Forest and came to meet me at the finish, which was great. The winds stayed extremely strong for the ride home. It's always a bit disconcerting being buffeted by cross winds in addition to the buffeting you get on a bike at 70ish mph, but I was very pleased to discover the heated grips on my handlebars are still working. We stopped at the Ace Cafe for food and coffee on the way home.

At the run I met loads of folk I knew, including several I hadn't seen for ages so it was good to catch up. I chatted with Danny who'd been tripped over at London marathon last week. After the first aid folk patched up his many bleeding wounds, he went on to run 3:58. Not bad for a chap who'll be 70 next year! He overtook me today at about halfway. I was also approached by 6 different people I didn't know, who'd recognised me from being in this month's Runner's World magazine. It was almost like being famous. Fame is not something I'd enjoy though - I've had to put myself about a bit in the media to try to increase my fundraising, but I'll be very happy to return to complete anonymity soon.

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