The Windermere (Brathay) Marathon



Our Club Southern Representative told me this was a ďflat, fast road race IainĒ I guess Shaun Dodd was actually fibbing or that I misheard him about 4 years ago!

I finally got around to it this year. I look to do a fair few local marathons each year, as I could drive (well Mrs Hunter actually did that) to this race on the day all the better.An early 6 am start was needed from home, to get to Brathay Hall in time to collect numbers and store a change of clothes etc.

The race itself is set up by Brathay Trust which helps youngsters with difficulties in life.There is also a fun run on the day.Perhaps the most impressive mention is the famous 10 in 10.Thatís 10 marathons over 10 days over the course.For this I believe the ten or so finishers are on course to raise £ 100,000 this year for the Brathay Trust.The male course record for this 10 in 10 is just over 3 hours per race!.Thatís rather scary as itís a road race like no otherÖÖÖÖÖÖ..

The day itself was very hot.The factor 50 sun lotion was on as was the mossie spray and body glide.The first half of the marathon is on the west side of Lake Windermere; you donít really see the lake until the second half.There are plenty of road closures, not all but certainly enough, so traffic isnít an issue.Itís a fairly congested start of about 900 runners, but soon spreads out as you are straight into the hills.To get this course into context, those who know Kielder Marathon will testify that thatís rather hilly, it took me 10 mins longer than I can do Kielder and this is my favoured surface of gods own Tarmac.The first half to the end of the lake is probably the hilliest part with little downhill grace, second half is lumpier with a few longer climbs thrown in.So you see the lake on the second half, the heat is now at its mid day point.Plenty of water stations with water and Hi 5 drink; I have always used that one, so thatís ok.Food wise itís a carry your own job.Susanne and I use cola shots or shot bloks, donít need many as Iím pretty good at carbo loading and the like in the days before.

This run was 3 weeks after the Highland Fling Ultra which took over 12 hours, so it was a pleasant surprise that all felt ok at half way and beyond. Actually at half way I had a chat with the Sunderland Strollers Chairman as he was the same pace as us for a few miles.Got to admit I hate the heat (Las Vegas nearly killed me), actually Iím not great with hills either.

It started to be harder work for me later on, and with about 3 miles to go I had to leave Susanne and climb over a stone wall for a wee, my stomach wasnít great but all in all it could (and has been in the past) have been worse.Even though I had water or Hi 5 at each water station I was fairly dehydrated by now it turned out.After what seemed an age, I climbed back out and rejoined the race.I could just see Susanne ahead at the next (and last) water station, so was fairly confident that I could catch up.Alas it was not to be, I came in at 3:44, Susanne was second (F45) in 3:42.

Goody bag at the end was water, flapjack, mint cake, medal and a pen.There were plenty of cake stalls and things to see and do for spectators.The changing room was great and the marshalling was very good. Free parking and enough road closures ensured it was safe enough for all.

Joss Naylor (Ultra marathon legend) was on hand to give out the main prizes and a lot (and quite rightly) is made of the 10 in 10 marathon runners.

Itís a long day but it was a good one, no doubt I will do it again.