I am sure like most of the running population, I have been pining after a good race. My phone also helpfully reminds me of all the wonderful memories of past races with photos popping up weekly. This, along with reading Vassos Alexander’s new book ‘how to run a marathon’, has made me reminisce about all the amazing races I have done.
The funny thing is, most of them weren’t fast or something I had seriously trained for but they were FUN, always fitted into a weekend and I would thoroughly recommend the following, in no particular order.
The Marathon du Medoc and the Bacchus
A marathon, fancy dress, loads of wine, straight into a post-run party.
Note: getting a late flight out of Gatwick to Bordeaux on a Friday night(Saturday race day) and drinking until the early hours, turning up already over the drinking limit of most Saturday evenings to start the race is also thoroughly encouraged if you’re fairly relaxed about marathon running.
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as in these races. The amount of wine consumed in my Medoc(France) experience and the twice I’ve done the Bacchus(Denbies Vineyard in Dorking, our wedding venue 9 years ago) whilst running was ridiculous.
The last time we did the Bacchus with friends, we went dressed as tennis players and with the assistance of a tennis ball on a piece of elastic, set up more progressively drunken impromptu human swing ball games where one participant was the ‘pole’ holding the end of the elastic on top of their head whilst the other players swung at the ball on the other end of the elastic. We came dead last and we’re drinking from the bottles towards the end!
In another, we re-enacted the cluedo murder scene on the finish line, again not pulling off looking remotely sober. Such fun.
These races come with health warnings- if you’ve completed the race ‘successfully’ be prepared for your marathon hangover to last for at least a week after the race.
Man vs Horse
A 20ish mile run in Llanwrtyd Wells where runners race riders on horseback. Simple as that really. Such fun and a great drink up in the post race pub after.
Jersey (Round the Rock) and Guernsey Ultras
I do like running round an island and it doesn’t get much prettier than these 2 races. Challenging yet not too far(48 miles and 36 miles) so getting a flight back home after the race is manageable.
I do also like running round the Isle of Wight but it’s a little further, especially if you do it all in one go!
The Great Glen Way
We haven’t done the race but had a mini adventure one wedding anniversary. Sleeper train to fort William on Friday night after work. Start running and, with an evening hotel stopover, finish at Inverness airport on Sunday afternoon for a flight home.
Midnight Sun Marathon
Still my pb at 3hrs 27, the midnight sun marathon starts at 8.30pm on Saturday night and the aim is to run during the midnight sun(ok I finished a few minutes short but I’ll take the pb).
Awesome race in the Arctic Circle involving a long time on 2 flights. It was Mark’s surprise 40th birthday present so we splashed out and stayed for 2 nights instead of the usual marathon pit stop trip. Tromso is a funny place and a trip to the local museum was a horrifying experience of animal trap enactments with poor former-arctic animals- not one for the animal lovers out there.
Thankfully when buying the kids a present, the gift shop was full of very cute and fluffy cuddly toys with all their limbs, no fake blood and minus the savage metal traps.
Mark and I spent the race criss crossing each other in bouts of feeling fine and feeling not fine. Neither of us had trained much but fit enough to get round just fine and we ended up crossing the finish line together- perfect!
Obviously we went for a recovery swim the day after too. Brrr
There are so many races and runs I’m thinking about now I’ve started- the XNRG The Pony through New Forest, running round the Isle of Wight, running round Holy Island in Wales(on a whim), London to Brighton(a love/hate relationship that has brought me back 3 times) and many many others with great memories of camaraderie and friendship I’ll never forget about.
Other races I’ve loved have been Otillo Swimruns in the vast beauty of the Scilly Isles and then swimming from an island offshore and running through the hustle and bustle of Cannes- just stunning.
Aah 2021 what will you bring? Mostly a load of deferment races that I’ve forgotten I had entered and am wholly unprepared for- no change there then 😉
What are your favourite race(s)?