This was my first event with Phoenix Running. Adam ran his second ever marathon with them back in November 2015 and enjoyed it (I think) – I supported as per usual, walking along the Thames Path keeping warm in the cold.
My second visit to this venue was very different!
I needed a half marathon for June, and as we were off on holiday for a week at the end on the month I was running out of time. The Black Phoenix event looked perfect: a date that worked, was in the afternoon so was hopefully cooler than one over lunch, was a lapped event and had an awesome medal.
The laps were south out along the path for ~1.6 miles from The Weir pub, then back. 4 for a half marathon, 8 for a full.
Since I’d managed the 18+ miles of Bury to Clare a few weeks ago I half had it in mind to try and beat that distance and maybe get my second marathon distance. That immediately flew out of the window as I started the first lap. It was hot, it was stuffy and just clearly wasn’t going to happen from the off. I was slightly concerned for the half distance…
But, I gave it what I had: I ran the entire first lap, lap two was a 4:1 min run/walk, lap three was supposed to be the same but I misread the watch and stopped early on my first interval, so then just did what I wanted. The fourth and final lap was walking, lots of walking. I wasn’t the only one – most of those around me had settled for walking, slowly. I at least tried to keep up a strong pace, passing many, but I eventually realised/found out that most of these had run a marathon that morning along the same route and were going for a double in one day, or even a triple ending the next morning. No victory there then.
I ran some of the ‘back’ section, making sure I got the half distance completed in under 3 hours, and promptly went about trying not to be sick/collapse.
Recovered(ish) I kept my eyes peeled for Adam who was hoping for his first 50k distance, but when I saw him sprint finish lap 8 it was clear he was done and would settle for another marathon under his belt. I’d seen him on the course of course (it’s laps after all) and he looked strong but the weather was bringing down alot of high expectations.
His earlier finish meant we had time to eat at the base-camp pub, which was just what the doctor ordered, before a trip to the supermarket to purchase a cheesecake then back to the hotel to consume said dessert with a bit of Iron Man for company.
I would definitely run another Phoenix event: the medals, support and route are fantastic as you always find with this type of race.
Next up is the SVN Ranscombe Summer Challenge for my July half, then I’ll have three of the four pieces of the medal in that series, before the Autumn Challenge in September. 6 down, 6 to go!