Like last year, my neighbour Pini was running it as well so I gave him a lift down to the start with me on this fine September morning.
The Pilgrim is the closest trail marathon to where I live at around 15 miles as the crow flies, starting from a field next to Farnham Golf Course and heading West on to the North Down’s Way (the ‘Pilgrim’s Way’, hence the name) for an out and back route that turns at the course’s high-point of St. Martha’s Church.
Parking-up close to the start we went down and registered before going about our separate preparations for the run.
|Milling around before the off.|
|Hitting the Trail.|
|A four legged runner.|
|Some of the spectators.|
|Topping the hill.|
|The view from the plateau.|
Pini had run 2 minutes slower this year than last but had finished in a higher position of 10th overall and 3rd in his category - although they only gave a prize for the first 2 positions, so he missed-out there, but that does not take away anything from a terrific achievement, something I know he had been training hard for.
|Crossing the canal.|
As I recovered from the exerts, feeling completely rinsed I saw Marathon Man standing just along from me looking as fresh as a daisy so I sauntered over for a chat. It turned-out that he and Pini spent some time on the course chatting and running as they were both towards the front of the pack at the start before Pini pushed on harder leaving him to finish in his very own respectable time.
After a few Spud ‘cuddles’ and a time to recover I wandered back to the van with Pini. As we piled our gear in to the back, a familiar face pulled-up alongside us he drove off for home: Rich McDonald again, who I hardly recognised without a buff on his head, stopping for a farewell chat after another good run before driving back to our respective homesteads and recovery after the day's exertions.
Its safe to say I was a little disappointed in my time - and I know why it was thus: Going too hard too early and not putting any practice in since my tumble off that hill in Scotland, although I managed a finish and in 277/347 so still a little way of DFL, which I recorded in my first official marathon, and an experience I hope never to repeat - although from that point the only way was up as I have shown :)