Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And the winner is...

Over the past few weeks (months?) my head has been a complete muddle about where to run my seventh marathon (6th if we don't count the nightmare that was Rotterdam 2007). When I first gave the shortlist of where was on my mind Copenhagen and Dusseldorf were the clear favourites. Thomas pointed me in the direction of Belfast and Newry which fell on the same dates as the two European marathons I had a preference for. I contacted Newry about their course, read plenty on it, and it soon became the new favourite. I was never convinced of it but it definitely knocked Copenhagen out of the running. If I was to run the last weekend in May, Newry would be as good as Copenhagen.

The idea of going to Newry, staying in Ireland, shag all travel or accomodation really appealled to me. The Newry course looks hilly mind, flat second half but lots of rolling hills in the first. Staying in Ireland seemed like a good idea, why not Belfast then? It's the same date as Dusseldorf and that's still on the list. Now we're down to Newry, Dusseldorf and Belfast. A race in Cavan in December scrapped the idea of Newry from my mind. The roads to Cavan had plenty of rolling hills... what if the hills in Newry are like this? I wasn't risking it. Newry's out.

Then I found another marathon in Germany. Wuersborg at the end of May. The course looks flat, it was at the end of May, it had a flashy video. New favourite? Damn straight. All guns were pointing towards Wuersborg for a few weeks. I started having doubts though as the more I looked at the course map the more concerned I got about running a fast time on it. There appears to be a lot of turns on the course - nearly one every kilometre. At some stages there are three 90 degree turns in one kilometre, at least one hairpin u-turn. Not really favourite anymore but it was still on the list along with Belfast and Dusseldorf though.

Eventually I got over the whole turn thing of Wuersborg. It had the "good" date in it's favour and turns or no turns, the course is flat. I talked with CR about which marathons I was thinking about. "I don't like the Belfast marathon" was his blunt reaction to that. Belfast's out so. He told me to have a look at the times of the other two so he could have an idea of what marathon to go for.

Wuersborg - generally won in or around 2:19. Second place could be anywhere from 2:30 to 2:40. Racing here and I'd be spending long periods of time, if not the whole race, running by myself.

Dusseldorf - generally won in 2:11. About 50 people should finish by 2:45. There'll be plenty of people for me to work off over the first half of the marathon before it starts to stretch out.

That sealed it then. Dusseldorf, I'll be seeing you on the first weekend of May. The early favourite managed to stick it out and fought off many, many other marathons. Marathon training started as of yesterday.... 14 weeks to go!
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