Every so often yesterday, I had a quick glance at Twitter to see how the marathon comrades were playing. For those not familiar with it – despite the name, it’s actually an 89 km (approximately 55 miles) race that just happens to be the oldest and largest ultra marathon. The course runs between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, and alternates each year between the ‘up’ and ‘down’ routes. It’s also, by the by, the only ultramarathon that really tempts me.
I knew that Steve Way, 2014 Commonwealth games marathoner, all round top guy and amazing runner, had been training hard for it all year, after a fantastic top ten finish in 2017, his race debut. It’s traditionally dominated (at least in recent years) by South African runners – indeed last year Steve was the first non-SA finisher. So when I checked in and saw that with 30k to go, he was in 11th place, I thought “Ah, that’ll end up top ten for sure”. With 21k to go, he was up to 8th. “Excellent”, I thought. “Even better than last year!” I should have had more faith. During that last 21k he worked – no, stormed – his way through the field to finish in third – the highest place finish for a male British runner since 1972.
His average – and for that matter stunningly consistent – pace for those 55 miles? 3:44min/km. That’s pretty much spot on 6 minute miles. For FIFTY FIVE miles. That’s my 5k race pace, for heaven’s sake! Simply preposterous. So this morning, let’s all doff our caps, and send absurd amounts of virtual cake and beer, to Steve, and also to another British runner, Carla Molinaro who finished 9th woman, averaging 4:34/km.
And now to your stories. Come and share your own weekend tales below the line as always, from parkrun PBs to personal worsts.