First Marathon for Liz

Last year I decided to sign up for my first marathon and chose the Ian Milne White Peak event, put on by Matlock Athletics Club. I was joined in the event with Kathy doing the full, Chris and Raf signing up for the Swift Half, and Ania and Janice taking on the 10k Down in a Shot.

The day started with collecting the race numbers from Cromford Wharf, before we boarded our separate buses to different staring points: Friden for the half, Longcliffe for the 10k and Thorpe for the full.

The sun was shining and the wind had dropped, with no sign of the forecasted rain. I was beginning to regret not putting on suncream, but pleased I’d returned home to collect my cap!.

At 11am the race started and so did the steady climb up to Parsley Hay. Each feed station was a very welcome sight in the heat of the day. As was my personal cheer squad of supporters who were leapfrogging me along the Tississington Trail by stopping at each carpark. Definitely an advantage of being a local!

After turning the corner at Parsley Hay, the glorious, picturesque route then continued along the High Peak Trail and soon I found I was at the 13 mile marker at Friden still feeling reasonably OK! But this feeling wasn’t to last. People always talk of hitting ‘The Wall’. My tough patch came at around 16 miles, running between Minninglow car park and the Minninglow cutting. which felt like it was never going to end.

The day was certainly heating up and my legs were beginning to ache, but I received another boost at Harborough Rocks, when my family was there to cheer me on and give me a few more gels. The first incline at Hopton was then certainly welcome, followed by being joined by the amazing Stef, who ran with me through the tunnel and down the Middleton incline.

The final descent down to High Peak Junction from Black Rocks was long, lonely and painful! At the bottom, the route turns right with approximately 2 miles left – the longest 2 miles ever. The canal has never felt so long!. The little bridge eventually came into view and then the finish line and a fantastic welcome from friends and family. My first marathon completed in 4:35! I was then closely followed by Kathy in 4:38, who was first in her age category.

Waiting for me were Chris and Raf, having completed their half marathons in 2:09 and 2:21

In the 10k Ania and Janice set amazing times in the heat of 52:05 and 53:33.

Would I do it again? Ask me in a couple of weeks!