After an 18 week training plan that had taken me from Glasgow heatwaves to autumn runs in Central Park, I arrived at the 2019 Yorkshire Marathon in what I hoped would be the fittest condition I had been in. A glance through my schedule in the months leading up to my previous marathon 3 attempts indicated that I had covered almost double the distance this time, and at a pace that was slowly getting back to where it needed to be. With that in mind, I was hopeful of a decent performance and having a go at beating my 3:27 from Chicago in 2017.
The Yorkshire Marathon takes place in York and outs surrounding villages, one of the many UK city marathons vying for a place as an alternative to London. Despite winding through the Yorkshire countryside, the route is advertised as flat and PB friendly and takes in some picturesque sights such as York Minster. After arriving a little later than planned and getting caught up in the mass toilet queues, I managed to miss the mass participation warm up and had to make do with a couple of stretches before some bloke from Emmerdale got us underway.
I positioned myself between the 3:30 and 3:15 pacers as we headed back towards York town centre for the first few miles, carefully keeping an eye on my watch to make sure I was sticking to my planned 4:40km pace. Round the Minster where the crowds were at their loudest and out the long stretch into the countryside. Once outside the city, the landmarks are replace by fields, farms and the occasional tractor. Despite the lack of visual stimulation, I was going well and ticking off the KM’s comfortably under target pace, but not too quick that I was worried about the latter miles. Clocked 1:37 at the half marathon marker and feeling fine. Into Stamford Bridge where the crowds picked up, which was needed as the legs began to tire slightly over the 30k mark. Picked up the pace slightly to scamper away after angrily scolding someone who decided to stop right in front of me at a water station, letting me almost smash into the back of him. Pace beginning to creep slightly as we hit 20 miles and I began to count down the way. The sun had come out by this point and I was growing fed up of my gels, so decided to abandon the last one and hope for the best.
At this point I knew that, barring disaster, I should be good for a PB and it was now a case of hanging onto the pace as long as much as possible. Head down and teeth gritted, I confused myself with the route and was waiting to head back through York town centre when suddenly a sign indicated just a mile to go. With sub 3:20 looking a possibility as I approached the uphill finish, I made a disastrously timed sprint only to mistaken the start line for the finish line, which was actually another 400m up hill. Thankfully I managed to hobble on and nipped over the line in 3:17:41. A 10 minute PB meaning a happy days work. A great event that couldn’t even be sullied by the ridiculous pints of non-alcoholic beer given out at the finish.
478th – Scott Coulter – 3:17:41