Flitch Way Marathon New Years Eve 2014
1. The side of a hog (or some other animal) Salted and cured “a flitch of bacon”
The Flitch way is a 15 mile route following an old railway track, Starting at Great Notley Discovery centre and ending some 15 miles away in Takeley. It is also where I found myself the day after my 31st birthday toeing the line to complete my 2nd Marathon.
After teaming up with fellow Saltmarshers Neil and Collette for the obligatory starting line photo we awaited the race briefing. “Keep running in a straight line, cross a few roads then turn round and come back the same way” was the gist of it, “oh by the way see that bloody massive hill, that’s the finish line”. Evil, pure evil!
We set off and I settled into a toe numbing plod on rock hard compacted mud, minimalist shoes and minus temperatures are not a match made in heaven. The first 5 or 6 miles soon flew by and I came upon a checkpoint containing jelly sweets, cola, fig bars, crisps, cocktail sausages and bananas amongst other delights, it was like running into a kiddies party! With the previous nights pizza and beer sloshing around inside me I carried on and kept on running.
Mud glorious mud, the hard ground was defrosting and it started to get squelchy, my kinda terrain. After a few wrong turns and a minor detour I finally stomped some feeling back into my toes and within the 2 hours I’d predicted I found myself at the halfway turnaround point.
A few jelly babies and some words of encouragement from Debbie, Neils wife and number one supporter and I was on my way back again, grin on my face and a spring in my step, 13 miles down 13 to go. I started picking people off and picked my pace up to 7.30 min mile, being an out and back I knew I had 40 people ahead of me.
I settled into a comfortable tempo and took in some of the scenery around me, very leafy and green bridleways gave way to industrial estates and the biggest wolf/hound I have had the pleasure of meeting, being a dog lover confronting this beast gave me no cause for concern and I definitely didn’t run a detour to get away from this monster.
The final stretch was a 3ish miles up a very gentle gradient that stretched into eternity,a long and slow ascent that took forever. Nearly there all that was left was the bloody hill that had managed to double in size since I last saw it, so I had a stroll and recover and attacked it like a Shorefield sprint session.
A quad busting sprint and it was all over, A fantastic medal and tech t-shirt as a memento and that was it, a perfect end to a great years running.
3 hours 45 minutes and a 29th place finish. Happy New Year.