Preparation for the Meon Valley Marathon : My 5 “W’s”

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  • 1. Where you are running !! 

This map could fill you with dread or excitement depending on your state of mind !! The good news is that anyone looking at it has taken their first step in preparing for what lies ahead, i.e. they know what’s in store. After running the first half a few weeks ago in pleasant conditions and with fairly good terrain underfoot everything has changed with the onset of Autumn.

Running the second half of the route last week in the wind and rain with muddy trails and water logged sections has put a whole new spin on the route. This run also meant I could try out the combination of my long sleeve Helly under my 100% waterproof Ron Hill jacket if it’s required.

  • 2. Website Race advice

With over 800 metres of elevation gain run on country lanes, trails and grass, this is a challenging marathon, but rewards you with fabulous views over the beautiful Meon Valley, and across Hampshire to the Isle of Wight. Run mainly on footpaths, bridleways and byways, there will be route-marking with signs and repeater tape and multiple water/feed stations along the way.  Simplified maps of the course will also be available on the day.

The route has technical challenges with slippery descents on chalky tracks, and is likely to be muddy in places too, but the entire route should be runnable. In the interests of reducing waste and avoiding litter, the drinks stations are primarily there to refill your container, not to hand out bottles or cups.  If you do use one of our cups, you will not be permitted to take it past the bin at the checkpoint.

Checkpoints will be positioned approximately every 4.5 miles, and will have water and soft drinks to refill your containers, plus some sweets and savouries that you are welcome to take with you. Your number will be recorded at each of these checkpoints.

  • 3. Who is running

The entrants list is always something I look at to see if there’s anyone I know or twitter runners that have commented on the race. Fellow Crusaders Rod Nairn, Lucy Peazold, Brian Wright, Paul Stephens, Dave Fuller and Howard Stinton will be part of the 130 or so runners, so a great showing from our club in this “local” race.

  • 4. What to expect

After the 10.30am start Old Winchester Hill will be a great introduction with its muddy lower track and the steep climb as you progress up. There’s no doubt you will go through some water that’s above your everyday sock level and the roller coaster of hills will just keep on coming. The changing terrain will give you spongy grass one minute and then country lanes the next. Harvesting Lane will be a particularly memorable elevation treat but the good news is that the last 3 miles are largely downhill. The sense of achievement at the finish line will be huge. The Meon Hall is a great venue and I’m sure it will be a hive of activity after the race.

  • 5. The last Week

Naturally we all have our own pre race rituals, I keep my hydration up through the last week and I’ve found two or even three nights before the race carbo loading helps me. I do like to stretch as much as possible so that come the day you feel loose and ready. Easy runs on Sunday and Tuesday will be followed by some walking at the end of the week. Weather wise I will leave my kit choice until I’ve got more of an idea if it’s going to rain !! Otherwise it’s my two 500ml bottles that I can re fill at half way and SIS gels.

Finally, I have no time expectations for what could be the hardest of my ten marathons so far. Pushing yourself through the challenge is all that anyone can do, as well as enjoying the experience. Our club slogan is #Unstoppable and preparation can only help. Good Luck to everyone running the half and the full marathon, it’s going to be “epic” 🙂

“Your body achieves what your mind believes”

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