York Marathon – 08/10/2017

A family break provided the opportunity for me to have my first experience of taking part in a marathon, the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.

I travelled down to Yorkshire on the Friday where I met my brother, an experienced marathoner, who’d come up from Kent for the race.

We had an early start on the Sunday, travelling from our hotel near Harrogate to a park and ride just outside York where a fleet of buses carried competitors to the start at the University of York. There we enjoyed a traditional runner’s breakfast of porridge, coffee and banana before heading to the starting zones.
The course is a pretty flat one, heading past York Minster after 2 miles, before going out into the surrounding villages and countryside.

In one of the villages, the local vicar comes out and high fives the runners. There was further ecclesiastical support later on at 19 miles with another high five from the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.
The course also passes through the village of Stamford Bridge, scene of the second most famous battle of 1066, where Harold Godwinson defeated Harald Hardrada’s Vikings. I wonder whether the guy I saw running with a Viking boat costume was dying at that point?

Speaking of dying, I must have gone off too quickly. Although for the first half I was running at what had felt a comfortable pace, by mile 18 I was fading and it became a bit of a struggle. Nevertheless, I kept on going and was able to run almost all the way, apart from a short stretch of about 200m at about mile 23 when I felt a twinge of cramp.

In the last couple of kilometres I could hear people just behind me calling out “Come on Batman”, which provided an incentive to dig deep to try and stay ahead of him. Sadly, Batman caught me with about 200m to go – grrrrr!
But despite fading in the last few miles, I was really happy to finish in a time of 4.19.16, well ahead of my main target of sub-4.30, but just outside my brother’s debut marathon time of 4.14 which was my secondary goal.
The marathon was a really well organised one, with great support throughout. It really does make a difference to have people calling out your name or your club, although I did hear one spectator say to her companion “Moray, where’s that?”!

Afterwards I got my T-shirt, goody bag and pint of Erdinger alcohol-free beer and also took advantage of the free medal engraving service. The only physical issue I felt was a slightly stiff hip, but that had cleared up by the next day.
So, would I do another marathon? Yeah, maybe. I know that I could potentially run a better one with a bit more even pace. But we’ll see.

Thanks go to numerous Moray Road Runners who provided advice and encouragement, but in particular to Michelle Russell who was a good training partner on long runs.

Report by:  Bernard Salmon


  1. Karen says:

    Totally awesome Bernard … very well done on a fabulous debut Marathon

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