Cotswolds based Steve Edwards finally completed Marathon number 461,The Hastings 100th Anniversary Marathon 1908 – 2008, on Sunday 14th December 2008, after the disappointment of the cancellation of the Luton Marathon the previous weekend.
Steve again ran for Bourton Roadrunners carrying Number 788. Here is his race report :- “Starting and finishing outside the town hall in Hastings city centre, over 1200 runners lined up in the freezing cold ready to run the one lap course on this the last UK marathon of the year.
This was a one off centenary marathon to celebrate the first and only ever Hastings Marathon back in 1908. No-body seemed to know what the course was like, however a local Hastings runner did warn of a steep climb out of the town for just over a mile and then pretty much undulating the whole way round until the final 5 miles along the seafront. How right he was, after 2 miles, I was already having to work pretty hard to climb the first steep hill which seemed to go on forever. Then some respite as a downhill approached, however this was short lived as another uphill soon followed. After another couple of miles, I soon realised that this was to be a familiar pattern for the course, either going down or uphill!. That said, I was keen to stick to my race plan of running at 3:15 pace as I finally started to settle into my normal rhythm.
I reached halfway in just under 1:37 having just negotiated yet another climb at 13 miles. This was bang on where I wanted to be and I continued to maintain this pace all the way to 20 miles which I reached in just over 2:27. It now seemed to be getting colder and I wasn’t looking forward to the final stretch along the seafront as I guessed it would be against the biting cold sea breeze. At Bexhill On Sea, the turn around point, we were directed onto the sea front and the final 5 miles to home. Despite the freezing cold I was still maintaining the same pace and began to relax a little in anticipation of putting in a hard last couple of miles to perhaps get nearer to 3:10. Then to my surprise, yet another little climb at 22 miles, not what I expected on a sea front, however, surely now a nice flat final 4 miles where I could try and open up a bit. But no, another little twist was to follow, we were directed onto the beach area and had to run nearly 2 miles on a surface comprising of stones and sand. The legs all of sudden started to feel a little heavy and I began to slow down for the first time.
Finally, we were back on the normal road surface with just 2 miles to go, but now I was getting really cold, especially since slowing down over the beach area. Consequently, trying to get my legs moving quickly again took a real effort, however I dragged myself up to the runner in front and then finally started to shift. Chasing down the next runner and passing him before chasing the next and so on. At 25 miles, I had 10 minutes to get under the 3:15, I continued to press hard and finally saw the 26 mile point. Down into a subway and another final little climb out to the town centre and the town hall to reach the finish in 3:13:15. I was frozen, my fingers numb and I couldn’t wait to get a hot cup of tea in my hands! However, I was very happy with my effort, it was not only another even split time from halfway, but also another sub 3:15 on the total. After thawing out and checking the results, my position was 67th and 8th vet 45, not bad out of 1175 finishers and very pleased to finish in the top 6% of the field. “
The Hastings Marathon was organised by the Hastings Lions Club. Conditions were pretty good for running, with cloudy skies and only a modest breeze, although it was chilly for the many spectators around the 26 mile, 385 yard route.
The race began outside Hastings Town Hall at 09.30 and took in Telham, Battle, Catsfield, Ninfield, Sidley, Bexhill and St. Leonards before returning to Hastings for the finish.
Steve’s world record challenge to run 500 marathons at an average time of 3 hours 20 minutes by 2012, when he will be 50 and to coincide with the Olympic Games in London, is going well and on schedule but Steve is now having second thoughts about the challenge and it looks like he is considering making it even more difficult!
“My ‘500 marathon challenge’ has progressed really well this year despite the injury scare in September, I now have 39 marathons to go and still over 3 years until 2012 to complete them. I’m obviously aware that something could still yet go wrong, ie long term injury or illness etc, however I’m going to have a little re-think over the Xmas period and may change the parameters slightly. That said, I’m still keen to complete the actual challenge in 2012, the year of my 50th birthday and of course the year of the Olympics.
The one thing I have thought about is the fact that I didn’t actually start to run marathons with a vengeance until 1988. So it could be that I consider excluding the ones I ran between 1981 and 1987 from the 500 challenge which will ultimately mean I have more marathons to run by 2012 to reach the 500. However, the revised challenge will then read something along the lines of ‘500 marathons in an average finish time of sub 200 minutes over 24 years from April 1988 – April 2012’. That will equate to running on average, a sub 200 minute marathon every 17 days for the 24 years. As I say, I will have a good think about it and check the numbers, but I think its do-able and it would add another interesting statistic to the goal should it be achieved. Watch this space!”
Source: Steve Edwards and Hastings Marathon