On the weekend of Friday 13th - Sunday 15th July Grantham Running Club’s Gav Meadows made the long trip to Tenby in Pembrokeshire to take part in the Long Course Weekend. The triathlon based event takes the 3 components of an ‘Ironman’ & makes the task slightly easier by spreading them over 3 days (Friday swim, Saturday bike, Sunday run). Each discipline is also a race in it’s own right giving participants the flexibility to do one, two or all three races. There were also shorter distances available for all 3 disciplines.
Being a runner who swims once a week for cross training (definitely not a cyclist!), Gav opted for the 2.4 mile (3.8km) sea swim off North Beach on Friday evening, a day of rest on Saturday & the very hilly Wales Marathon on Sunday. He said ‘I was never really intending to take this marathon too seriously - my main reason for entering was the scenic location. I was more concerned with enjoying the surroundings than trying to run a fast time. The 1700 feet of climbing meant that would be impossible anyway. After some niggling muscular issues in the weeks leading up to the event, I knew it would be slow going.’
After thoroughly enjoying the swim (apart from the salty water & some very scary jellyfish) & being ‘over the moon’ with his performance (1 hour, 21 minutes, 26 seconds), Gav lined up in Tudor Square, Tenby on a very hot Sunday morning ready for the marathon start at 10am.
The plan was to start slowly, take in the scenery & try not to get any slower. However, even that proved to be too ambitious on the day. The heat & hills soon started to take their toll & after an ‘okay’ first 13 miles, Gav’s pace began to slow significantly. By mile 19 he was left with no option but to walk the uphill sections - it got to the stage where trying to run up them was futile.
Gav eventually got back to Tenby to complete the 26.2 miles where he was greeted by one last brutal hill before entering the red carpet finish area in Tudor Square surrounded by enthusiastic crowd support. His time of 4:54:43 was of little importance but says a lot about how tough this race was.
Gav said ‘If nothing else this race was certainly a challenge. The brutal combination of the hills & the heat made the going even tougher than I had anticipated. If I’m totally honest I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as the swim on Friday. I was hoping for scenery but couldn’t really see much due to most of the course being lined by bushes & trees that blocked the view.’