My last marathon was the Anglesey Coastal trail, 27 miles of wind rain and rock climbing, Jack (the dog) was not impressed, I swore I would never do another marathon but I couldn't resist The Hoppit, exploring local trails, even though there was a half option I wanted to experience the whole thing .....
The start was in Kingclere, the day was pretty warm, running with a dog I would have preferred an earlier start than 10am but I selected my best warm weather dog (Jack) and had 2.5 litres of water in my hydration pack. We started at the front, not that we had any chance of finishing in that position but Jack didn't know the distance we were doing so he started screaming off the start line like he was at parkrun .... The first hill soon took the wind out of our sails, only the hardcore ran up that!
The course took us over the gallops at Kingclere (watership down) then under the A34, some of the trails were pretty narrow and uneven and took a fair bit of concentration to stay upright (I did at one point nearly stack it into a load of stinging nettles, went to grab the guy alongside me then thought better of it as I'm sure he wouldn't have appreciated landing in the stingers with me )
For the first 14 miles we were doing so well, sitting 5th lady and on target for sub 4 then my glute (which had been twanging from mile 5) started really hurting, so much so that I was stopping every 1-2 miles to stretch it out. Then about mile 20 we came to a field of Bullocks who were only held back by an electric fence and were very interested in the dog .... I could have thrown the towel in there and then rather than go past them, I had an on the spot mini meltdown, but we manned up and told them to "go away" (but less politely!) It was at this point we clocked the second place dog, no way were we giving up our leading dog position and with competitive head firmly in place I did my best to ignore the pain and with a few more tears and some agonising down hills we completed the very first Hampshire Hoppit.
We got a lovely finishers medal and an inscribed pint glass (which you got filled with ale!)
Jack was amazing, he wasn't fussed about drinking a lot but I had hydrated him well that morning and he laid down in a few puddles to cool himself off ... He was in better shape than me at the finish!
My official time was 4.38, and I came 94th overall. I'm really trying not to be disappointed with this, it wasn't an easy run and my aim was 5 hours, all the way round I swore I wouldn't run another marathon but I will be there next year, me and the Hoppit have unfinished business!
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