By far the best bit of the Bath Two Tunnels marathon was the route, so maybe it’s better to let the pictures do the talking.
The start was at Brickfields Park as always, from where you follow the normal Two Tunnels route along the old Somerset and Dorset to Devonshire Tunnel.
It’s though that and then Combe Down Tunnel, after which you cross the viaduct (left to right in this picture) before dropping down via a path and running alongside Tucking Mill reservoir.
From there it was through the pretty village of Monkton Combe, with good views of the rather fetching thatched pavilion.
Before coming up the path on the left at the end of the Dundas Aqueduct. We then ran round the top of the basin and out the right hand side. To be honest, I didn’t really notice the aqueduct, so may need to go back another day.
This led to a few miles along the towpath, past the narrow boats
before coming down into Bath through Sydney Gardens
and then alongside the river up to Pulteney Bridge and Weir, overlooked by Bath Abbey. Again, I didn’t really notice this as it was off to the left somewhere.
From there it was back along the river before popping up briefly in the town centre. One bus driver stopped to let me cross the road ahead of him and people on the top deck were waving and clapping – how cool is that?
After another stretch along the river, it was up onto and across Windsor Bridge before heading back to Brickfields Park and the end of lap one. And then it was just a case of doing it all again.
So how was it for me?
Very much a race of 2 halves.
The first lap was great. It was sunny but not too warm and the scenery was right up my street/river/railway/canal. Although I was running well within myself the pace was fine and I wasn’t at all tired. It was probably the best running experience I’ve had to date.
Starting the second lap I noticed I was lacking bounce, and over the next 2-3 miles it was clear the pace was down. Approaching 17 miles I knew I was in trouble and the realisation that I still had 10 to do was not a great feeling. I sort of got the feeling it was not going well when every other marshal was asking if I was ok. From then on, it was a question of keeping going, despite getting progressively slower with the final mile taking over 12 minutes.
Immediately after the race I’d forgotten the first half and spent a lot of time thinking about what went wrong. I think it was at that point that I really began to ‘get’ marathon running. It certainly is different from doing half marathons in so many ways. This could (and maybe will) be the subject of another missive at some point in the future. Fortunately, after a few days I began to remember the first half too, so at least I’m left with some decent memories.
And now the next question to answer is….which one do I do next?