• Barry Gerhold

Halstead Marathon

On Sunday 13th May I took on the Halstead Marathon. 2 years ago I intended to do this one but Natalie gave me a sickness bug and I had to pull out. So I was back to see how I would do on a relatively hilly course.

My plan from the outset was to take things relatively easy. I am still gradually building up my fitness after injury, so did not want to do anything too silly. So a 4 and half hour marathon would do nicely.

I bumped into some of the usually gang (Paul, Sam, Jimi, Kat and James) prior to setting off and found myself chatting away to James as we crossed the start line.

It is always fascinating how quickly the miles pass when you are talking to someone. I sometimes avoid these situations due to anxiety, worrying that I won’t have anything to talk, that I’ll bore them but with James I needn’t have worried. James seems to have an ability to run at a good pace, remain relaxed and push you beyond your limits.

Although my heart rate was a little higher than planned, my pace was good and we were well under 4 hr marathons pace. Both of us seemed to be struggling with a few niggles, which were concerning but fortunately there were regular aid stations and we both doused our injuries with cold water and that seemed to numb the pain sufficiently until the next water stop.

The scenery around this course was beautiful, very picturesque and most of which on quiet roads. I usually forget to lift my head up and take a look around at the views. Today I did lift my head up and took it all in and I am glad that I did.

Before I knew it we were at the 16.5 mile mark. It was here that James told me to go ahead as his knee pain was presenting itself. So now I had to see if I could maintain this pace without the distraction of conversation. Up until this point I was still power hiking some of the hills as this seemed to stretch out the painful hip abductor enough to enable me to keep me running on the flats and the downhill sections. I continued to motor on and maintained a good pace.

Yeah there were a few more walking sections than I would have liked, but I am still building up my strength and fitness, so I can’t beat myself up too much. James caught me back up around the 20 mile mark and went up ahead to chat to Paul and I managed to reel them back around mile 23. Here James and I stuck together, trying to keep each other motivated and also distracted from the pain. After a short while we headed onto a small off road section and towards the finish line where we seemed to up our pace and have a strong finish.

I finished in 3hrs 50mins which is far quicker than what I believed my fitness would allow. This would not have been possible if I did not run with James. So thank you James :-)


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