Report – David Jones.
Starting and finishing at Coniston Hall Landing Point on the shores of Coniston Water, this marathon consists of a complete circuit of Coniston Water along well marked and marshalled footpaths and bridleways.
Taking in the idyllic beauty spot of Tarn Hows and the elevated Beacon Tarn the course gives panoramic views of Lake Coniston and the surrounding peaks of the Old Man, Swirl How, Wetherlam and Dow Crags.
Described by Runners’ World magazine as ‘the most scenic trail Marathon in Britain’
For Dave Parkin this was his 3rd running of the race as he attempted to break the 4 minute barrier for the first time in this extremely challenging race. He finished comfortably under his 4 hour target in a time of 3:56.44, placing him 23rd overall and 9th in his age category.
The race was won by Joel Jameson in a time of 3:03.20 and 210 runners finished the race.
In His Own Words.
Dave’s thoughts on his run are as follows.
This was my third attempt to break the 4hr mark on the Coniston Trail Marathon, having previously run 4:27 and 4:10.
I had been out with injury for a critical period of my training this year and so expectations weren’t high but having learnt much about hydration and pace on my previous two outings, things seemed to go well from the start.
As many marathon runners can attest, I had a great feeling of it being ‘in the bag’ at the 20 mile mark, only to completely blow up by 23 miles thinking I couldn’t even finish, let alone hit my target time.
This feeling is particularly exacerbated on this course as you celebrate reaching 20 miles with a cruel 600ft climb up a muddy, rocky hillside and then through a final bog which saps any energy you still have.
Thankfully, my excellent support crew of Parkin girls (x3) managed to find me at the final road crossing and give me a kick up the proverbial and I staggered home in 3:56, utterly delighted and swearing never to do anything so ridiculous again. I even managed to avoid the tree near the finish which still has a head shaped dent in it from my collision two years ago, so not only finishing, but staying upright as well made it a day to remember…!
For those looking for a marathon with a difference, this is definitely one to consider – reputed to be one of the most beautiful in the country, it is nearly all off-road, has around 3000ft of ascent and a lot of challenging, mixed terrain underfoot. But to compensate for the difficulties it has views to die for and is fabulously organised and supported.