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Frankfurt Marathon
Sunday 25th October 2015
Christof Schwiening

The Frankfurt Marathon route has a reputation of being fast at the front end with a decent bunch of club runners behind and Germany's second largest marathon. Whilst the course is relatively flat it wiggles around a lot at the start and the end and has a couple of cobbled sections. The fast start pen spans a very wide speed range and was not policed in any way meaning that getting going was difficult - very difficult. Indeed, for me that is where things went wrong.

The battle to find space at the start destroyed my ability to follow the pacing plan and I failed to reign things in appropriately - Kevin did somewhat better, letting me go and sticking closer to what we had agreed. I suspect that the only reason it is a fast club-runners course is that most of the runners don't actually stick to the course! The amount of cheating was ridiculous and I found myself shouting at the top of my voice on 3 or 4 occasions, whilst heading off along the road on my own, as all of the runners sliced large chunks off the course. Apparently I was fully audible to Kevin who was 200 m behind at one point. At least the supporters seemed to agree with me and cheered as I headed off along the blue line on my own.....It was similar to what happened in Hanover and much worse than I have ever seen in the UK.

Kevin and I ran positive splits. Kevin a commendable 7 s difference, me 26 s. Not great, although an indication of how close we were running to our limits - if we could have gone any faster we would have. Neither of us did a major bonk but I knew at about 28 km that I had got it wrong. Whilst I was holding the pace, and we had a bit of a buffer, it was not feeling 'easy'. I was happy to get in to the Festival Hall with 2:45 visible on the clock, but I was gutted to see Kevin's time - so close. Whilst there is much that we should have done differently the reality is that we were at the limit and we didn't have any overhead available.

Richard Staley ran the plan with perfection - we eye-balled his data on the Garmin and he ran a controlled race with an 11 s positive split coming almost as close as Kevin to missing the A goal. But, it was a clear PB and Richard had the fun of passing possibly hundreds of fading runners over the last 15 km - now it is just a matter of rinsing and repeating for all of us. Perhaps it was not exactly what we all wanted but if someone had offered me a 2:45 before the race I would have taken it and gone for a beer instead.

Chris Hurcomb set-off on a quest for something close to 3:30 but slowed gracefully from 15 km in. Rachel, Tim, Mike and Jen had fun with the relay - although I can't seem to find any time splits for the individual legs - and came comfortably under 3:30. In fact I think they may have been the only ones who fell the right side of the round numbers.....

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