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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Donostia San Sebastian Marathon 2015

Sunday 30th November 2015

The 5 weeks since the last marathon at Leicester have been a pretty quiet time on the running front.

Sun 1st Nov - Guy Fawkes 10 - 65:23 (19th)     [Hannah 67:27 (1st) ]

Sun 23rd Nov - Maravan HM - 1:29:31 (1st)      [Hannah 1:31:30 (1st) ]

Sun 23rd November - Maravan Half Marathon

This is the brainchild of Darren Rowe and utilises the roads of a deserted caravan park in Cleethorpes. An excellent well marked out course but that didn't prevent me getting lost twice despite big huge arrows pointing the correct way!

With Rachel Parker getting ready for the start:

We saw a good few caravans that day:

But the biggest challenge of all was the 'steep hill' on each lap. This is Hannah with her magnifying glass still searching for it post race:

An excellent low key race which we would highly recommend :)

Sunday 30th November - Donostia San Sebastian Marathon

So just 2 races plus 3 parkruns and the usual short (4 miles) slow runs in between filled those 5 weeks leading up to last Sunday's San Sebastian Marathon in the Basque country.

Expectations were therefore low and the idea of extending the run of 9 sub 3 marathons each in 2015 had pretty much gone out of the window.

Nevertheless it was a superb setting so we were going to enjoy the tour of the city no matter how long it took.

9am and off we went:

This is the home of Real Socieadad which would not only be the finishing venue but also the halfway point of the race:

This section along the scenic shoreline of San Sebastian was run in both directions on each of the two laps. Very pleasant:

The Race

The splits taken from the official site are at some odd distances but nevertheless tell the story of the race pretty well.

My own race felt pretty well paced with a positive split of just a few seconds and unexpectedly comfortably within the 3 hour mark.

However the story of the race was Hannah's move through the field with a negative split of -3:13. With both halves being pretty much the same course and the entire run being pancake flat this run was a great example of patience paying off, moving through from 12th at 5km to 2nd by the finish.

As there was also a half marathon combined with the marathon Hannah had no idea of her position as there were probably at least 30-40 women ahead in the first 10km.

5km 20:58   [Hannah 21:57 (12th) ]

10km 42:16   [Hannah 42:46 (10th) ]

14km 58:48   [Hannah 59:20 (9th) ]

21km 1:27:15   [Hannah 1:28:04 (8th) ]

Halfway 1:28:14    [Hannah 1:29:00 (8th) ]

30km 2:05:30    [Hannah 2:05:50 (5th) ]

31km 2:10:01    [Hannah 2:10:17 (5th) ]

35km 2:26:37     [Hannah 2:26:27 (3rd) ]

42km 2:56:28     [Hannah 2:53:59 (2nd) ]

Finish 2:57:03    [Hannah 2:54:47 (2nd) ]

It was at 34km that the Union jack Kent Roadrunner vest pulled up alongside and then started easing into the distance. This photo below was at about halfway but I think Ian Berry would be happy with how the vest he designed was easy to spot in the next morning's paper:

The Finish

Reaching the finish a couple of minutes after Hannah I expected her to be already adorning a new medal with a broad grin from ear to ear.

However, instead I was greeted by a scene of puzzlement and confusion as she had acquired a chaperone and was being told not to leave the finish area as she had to report to doping control. This was a first!

But first she was beckoned towards the podium. What? She was nowhere near the top end of the field or at least we didnt think so! As it turns out the battle that she had had from 38k to the end with the Spaniard, Nere Sagasta, had resulted in her taking 2nd place by 5 seconds in a high quality field, something they like to highlight:

So after the podium presentations it was then a case of being escorted under the stands to a doping control room. 

We were a bit flummoxed as the language barrier meant that we couldn't get a grip on what they were wanting. So we sat and waited...........and waited some more. We didn't know what we were waiting for but we waited anyway. Perhaps the testing person was coming soon?

As it happens the testers were standing around also waiting for some action. A good half an hour later it dawned that they were just waiting to supervise the production of a sample, which could have been produced at the outset.

Then the next issue arose when it became apparent that Hannah couldn't leave until she had produced some official ID! Uh? Who carries ID with them while running a marathon? For the actual elite entries this wasn't a problem as they knew the routine and their bags had been moved to the finish area. Ours, however, were in a different stadium over at the velodrome. I could leave and go and get the ID but would I be able to get back into a stadium past all the marshalls and into the most secure area bearing in mind the aforementioned language mismatch?

After much exaggerated pointing and gesturing and flashing of passports I got an 'ah, ok' from the burly security guard and allowed back in. I have no idea what he thought I had said but it was nothing coherent.

All in all it took a good hour to get through the doping processing. This whole carry on does raise an interesting question though. It is fair to say that elite athletes should know what substances they need to avoid in everyday products and should keep a close eye on such things. However, how can an ordinary run of the mill runner who happens to blunder into the scope of the doping regime by getting an unexpected result be expected to have the same knowledge? You could end up banned because you took a paracetomol earlier in the week for instance?

A very interesting experience.

A few scenes from the very attractive area around San Sebastian:

2015 Marathons

So after both completing the 10th sub 3 of 2015 how are the overall average times comparing in the 'experiment of two'?

Well, remarkably, over the 10 marathons our average times are now 2:54:19 and 2:54:55, it couldn't be much closer.

Too many marathons?

As another interesting set of stats knocked together by Hannah the spreadsheets below show the annual average times for each of us (mine first) along with the number of marathons run in that particular year. It would seem that the combination of getting older and running more marathons isn't avalid  excuse for getting slower after all ;)

Recent Marathon Record

2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)
2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)
2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)
2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)
2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)
2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48) 
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)
2015 July - Potteries Marathon 2:52:40 (Age 49) (6th)
2015 September - Mary Anderson Colour Marathon 2:59:17 (Age 49) (7th)
2015 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:59:30 (Age 49)
2015 October - Leicester Marathon 2:55:11 (Age 49) (11th)
2015 November - Donostia San Sebastian Marathon 2:57:03 (Age 49)

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