The Tenby marathon is one of the hardest courses around. The incline and hills are insane. The marathon is also part of the long course weekend, something many athletes compete in. The event takes place over 3 days and involves, swimming, cycling and running.
Thankfully I was only running the Tenby marathon, but that in itself was going to be difficult. All week I was getting so nervous, had been a busy 2 weeks with the Welsh three peaks and Swansea half marathon, so didn’t really get much time to rest.
The morning came, I felt so sick. Mixture of nerves, excitement and panic. Got my kit together and managed to force down my breakfast. Left early to get down to Tenby, the car journey was a good laugh with my family. Managed to take my mind off it for a bit.
When we arrived the town was dressed to the nines. Tenby was full of runners, cyclists and spectators. The music and atmosphere was outstanding. The starting line was awsome, the spectacular red carpet. Camera crew and photographers everywhere.
Countdown to the race started, the noise and excitement started to build up, my heart was racing. Every second my heart beating faster and faster. Then off we went.
The first mile went through the town itself, past all the locals and spectators to outside the town.
Great support from other runners, everyone was cheering others on and offering advice on this tough course. Many locals run this course so they’re use to route.
As the mileage grew my energy was zapping, the hills were taking it out of my knees and ankles. The feed stations were filled with sweets, bananas, energy drinks and water. I also brought my SIS gels. I took all I could and carried on.
The first half of the course was very difficult, at this point it’s just getting tougher and tougher. Still positive and remaining upbeat I carry on.
When I arrived at the half marathon starting line at the Pembroke castle. The weather started to heat up, within the space of three miles it was blistering. 26/27 degrees.
The heat was making the race so much more difficult, the last 10 miles were solid. Thanks to the Marshalls and stations there were so many water stations, due to the heat most probably. I had my two water bottles so while they filled that up I had a chance to take in the scenes for few seconds.
There was a woman close to me who had done the long course weekend and was struggling. She had injured herself somewhat, she remained focused and determined. She helped motivate me and in turn I helped her. We knew how close we were to the end.
After all the long country road and farmers fields we passed, we managed to make it to civilisation and seen the town. The closer I got the more people I saw and everyone cheering me on. ‘Come on Mathew’ all the way. Closer I got the more of a buzz I got. ‘Come on Mathew, almost there’. I saw my family, great when you last loved ones cheering you on.
I can just about lift my legs now, I managed to get this surge of energy from nowhere. I sprinted down the red carpet to the end. I made it. Few minutes later I heard the race directors calling in the last runners. I just about made the cut off time. An amazing experience, seriously tough. Was much harder than I expected. One I’m glad I achieved.
There was a lovely moment where the woman in front ran the finish with her son. At the end there is a run with loved ones section where they can join you at the finish. Amazing race. One I will never forget, checked my garmin later elevation gain was 442 insane. Finish time 5:56:25.