44) Gate City Marathon, Nashua, NH, 21st May 2017

Finished in 3:29:42.

I wanted a last weekend of long back to back runs in preparation for the West Highland Way Race and picked this marathon as it was close (relatively) to Kettletown SP (good trail running), and there was race day packet pick up. And it would tick off NH on my marathon list!

I stayed in a Motel 6 on the edge of Nashua which was cheap, convenient and comfortable. I ate at the nearby Pressed café on Saturday night which had plenty of healthy and vegetarian options. I had an early night but was woken in the early hours by people smoking outside which didn’t help my recovery.

I felt tired the next morning (which was part of the point of doing this race) and had my usual PB&J bagel and coconut water for breakfast.

It was about a 10 minute drive to the start and I was able to park in a car park right by registration. Registration was straight forward and I was able to drop off my race packet in the car. I then hung around the start area doing some stretching. There was food and water and plenty of porta-johns.

IMG_2498.JPGSunrise over the Porta-johns!

The start was well organized with relay and half marathon runners mixed in with those doing the full marathon. As with previous races I was running on heart rate, and was aiming to run around 3:30 but it would depend on how I felt as the race progressed. I felt tired and sluggish in the first couple of miles as a result of Kettletown the previous day – I shouldn’t have got carried away and pushed hard on the final lap!


Race start

I got into my stride and the first three loops were ok taking me up to around 16 miles, but I started to get tired on the fourth as it was getting warmer and there was a long flattish stretch along the canal, which was lovely running but I prefer undulating courses. The final short loop took a lot of grit and determination as it’s probably the hilliest part of the course (or maybe it just felt like it). I ran them but slowly. The last mile or so is a nice long downhill towards the finish (and I had already run it at the end of lap 2) so was able to enjoy it, and crossed the line in 3:29:42.

I received my medal and then wandered back to the car for a recovery shake. There were plenty of post race snacks and a beer tent but I had decided to go back to Pressed for a solid meal before hitting the road.

This is a fun well organized event and the multiple loops, each passing through the finish line, make it a great one for spectators. There were plenty of aid stations, enthusiastically staffed by volunteers. This would be a good first marathon.

Learning points

When running back to back races, don’t push on the first day!

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