Windermere Marathon success!

Windermere Marathon 22nd May 2016 by Tracey Dutton

I only decided to enter Windermere Marathon about a month ago. I thought as I had done 4 marathons with Ben Smith and had been helping Susan train for Manchester Marathon, that with the mileage in my legs I should give it a go. So I entered myself into the Marathon and Hubby into half marathon. Windermere Marathon has a special place in my heart, it was mine and Jayne Taylor’s first marathon back in 2007. I ran Windermere again in 2009.

The weeks leading up to the marathon I listened to Jayne’s training advice and used Andy Eccles taper plan, which works everytime for me and carbo loaded. On the Saturday morning I had 2 breakfasts before we set off to Ambleside stopping at Leighton Moss for coffee and cake on the way before checking into our accommodation for the night. We walked 1 mile to Brathay Lodge to get our goody bags and our race numbers. I got all my kit ready for the next day. I had an evening meal with a small glass of red wine to relax me as I was bag of nerves before having a early night. I woke up at 4am, couldn’t sleep just kept thinking of the course. Got dressed and put loads of deep heat on my legs. Had small bowl of porridge and a toasted gluten free bun for breakfast, still felt sick with nerves. We parked the car up on field at Brathay Lodge. As I was waiting for the portaloo I heard someone shouting Tracey, I looked round and it was Karen from Eden Runners, we have been friends since 2007 at our first marathon. I ran and gave her a big hug and all my nerves disappeared.

At 9:45am we were drummed all the way down the hill from the Lodge to the main road to the start line. A guy dressed in tweed fired a rifle and off we went. I had forgotten how undulating the course was. After Hawkshead there was a very steep climb at 7.5 miles, my legs were burning, I told my legs come on we can get up this hill. I was thinking I have gone off too quick and reminded myself it’s a marathon you’re doing not a 10k, but my legs said you’re not slowing down. Half way up the hill I over took 2 guys and I could hear bag pipes, I thought that’s strange we are in middle of nowhere with just woods either side of the road, but as I got to top of the hill there was 2 bag pipers, which made me smile. I took energy gels on board every 5 miles just like Andy Eccles once told me. I was really pleased with my time at half way, which was 1:31. I carried on to Newby Bridge then on to Bowness were I over took a few more guys and the 10 in 10 runners. Before this it was a very lonely race, it was nice to see people cheering you on through Bowness and then on to Windermere, but it was a bit of hard work trying to dodge members of the public who were blocking the pavement. The hill at mile 20, which I had been dreading (this is the point I hit the wall on the first Windermere Marathon), was a doddle to the hills before this. We were then on our way to Ambleside along a busy road this was quite undulating as well. I over took a guy when we had 3 miles to go and remember saying to him “come on there’s only 3 miles to go” (I bet he wanted to tell me where to go). I got to Ambleside and thought I have got to give all my energy now to get up the big hill to the hall. It’s about 1/2 mile long, its such a cruel finish when you have no energy, but I found it just about. I was dying but as I saw the finish line I quicken my step and finished 3:08:53 (chip time), came first lady and 15th overall out of 526 runners. I was in total shock at my time, I just couldn’t believe it, I was hoping to get around 3:20. All round the course I had to work extra hard as I knew I was first lady from about 3 mile mark. I burst into tears when I saw hubby I was so emotional. I went to get changed, had a protein shake as I couldn’t face eating anything, went to get a coffee and had a good stretch. I had a chat to Jos (the famous fell runner) who gave me lots of advice, told me to lengthen my stride.

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I have to do the race again next year now as I’ve got to give the trophy back, unless I do the half marathon.

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We will see, at the moment my legs are saying never again.

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