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Thursday, October 4, 2018
Wearing their ‘Mighty Green’ SRC shirts, the pair were amongst 2,910 intrepid runners on the start line on the penultimate Sunday of September.
The start line was quite high up above the Loch and could easily have been in the middle of Dartmoor. The road was shut to traffic and a Scottish pipe band led the way up for a long wait at the start line for all to assemble.
This Loch Ness Marathon quest all started in December 2017 with a message from Kate saying ‘Happy Birthday Martin, think you need to lose a bit of weight! Your present is an entry to the Loch Ness Marathon in September. To sweeten the pain I’ve booked us both a long weekend in Inverness in a lovely hotel near the start, flights from Bristol included in your gift.’
Kate then announced that she had entered herself too. Training began and the discovery of all the green lanes, bridleways and paths of the Sid Valley and East Devon were made. The dog got double doses of long runs with each of them on consecutive days at the weekends.
East of Inverness, by 26 miles is exactly where the novice Nessie first-time marathon runner comes unstuck.
Martin’s Loch Ness story was written in these first few miles. Traversing downhill for a couple of miles down to the shore of the Loch, then cruising on comfortably along the route is not necessarily a good idea.
He knew he had not heeded the ‘take your foot off the pedal’ from the start. When Martin reached the halfway point, he realised he was on a PB time of just under one-and-three-quarter hours.
At this point, he was still feeling OK and beginning to think he could achieve a sub four-hour run.
However, two heavy rain showers and a two-mile hill climb at the 19-mile mark led to his pace dropping off and he was further hampered when hamstring cramp kicked in!
Martin kept going and, despite the pain, he sprinted to the finish line, crossing it in 14 seconds over the targeted four-hour mark and finishing in the top third of the field, his place being 893rd.
Kate, on the other hand, being the more sensible family member, ran a more measured pace in what for her was a maiden marathon, running home in 5:05 to great cheers and with much pride.
She was in far better shape than her husband at the finish line and raised £730 for Prostate Cancer research in the process.