Arriving at the stadium there is a calm Scottish voice reaching out across the sunlit track. "Welcome. Your next race is the Bournemouth Marathon starting at 10am." A pre recorded jingle is a winner. Updates every 2 minutes on the time and how long until the race begins. How long it takes to walk to the start from the baggage drop and a simple message about safety.
Everyone is calm.
I'm not sure if it's a famous actor doing the voiceover. Something I ponder when sat in the clean cubicle toilet and apply my final layer of vaseline on all the potential friction points. Sweaty t-shirts squabble with peaks of chest. Short linings demonstrate animosity to 40,00 running steps.
All is calm.
The half marathon set off at 08:00am. Amongst the 3000 runners, there were 6 Madmule clients - Hannah, Emma, Josie, Neil, Dee and Ian. From the pictures that were sent beforehand, they weren't just calm. They were all bouncing and fired up. Dee managed to snatch a medal and throw it round her neck before the gun went off. ;-) How chilled and happy does she look at the finish! There was also a 10km event the day before where Teresa had a heart healthy spin with a friend.
With the calmest start to any road marathon I have experienced, we all stepped off at 10am in bright warming sunshine, a northerly breeze and dry conditions on the road. Perfect. I have an impending appointment with a 50 mile cross-country ultra race in November, so as ridiculous as it may sound, this session was part of a broader training plan. The road surface is not my favourite, however it tied in nicely with putting recent speed endurance gains to the test and seeing how accurate my predictions were from the training completed to this point. The goal was 3:00-3:05 and to hold 7 minute miles as an average.
Road running and trail running races are asymmetric experiences.
The road offers a constant rthymn and pattern of step.
The trails offer silence in the gantries and viewing platforms.
The road race is bustling with competitors, creating havoc to anyone not in tune with their honest pace.
The trail race is demanding a versatile body that can cope with twisting steps, jumping steps, climbing steps and breaking steps all within the lapse of 10 seconds.
Albeit a couple of hotspot blisters at the end, this marathon experience and effort was as planned and Bournemouth Marathon festival presented us all with a cracking event. Everyone I have spoken to has had a positive experience. The Marshalls and cadet volunteers, the start and finish system, the route and the access for spectators.
On a personal note, rewarding to see the Madmule clients taking on the event with smiles and vigour. The guys really do train well in session. Madmule aims to coach people to be successful in whatever they are aiming towards. Whether that is a faster race result or fitness that supports busy lifestyles.
With a multitude of race experiences of my own and thousands of coaching hours with clients then I can say with confidence the following.
Enjoy, for a brief spell, the positive rewards and emotions that come with a successful race day.
Enjoy, after a brief spell, correcting and improving the errors that come from any negative experiences.
Regardless of which side of the fence is experienced today, take this one action.
Keep calm and run.