Race Report Gin Pit Trail Marathon 16th & 17th March by Dave Madders
This weekend, 2 members of Helsby running club, Gareth Boyd and Dave Madders embarked on their first double marathon attempt at the Gin Pit Trail marathon near Leigh Lancashire.
Having both ran marathons previously with pb’s of 3.28 and 3.46 respectively, the distance was not an unknown. What was unknown to both of us was how the body reacts to running the same marathon again the day after when you’re still aching and hobbling from the day before.
Described by the organisers as 11 miles of canal tow paths, 9 miles of trails ( derived from former railway lines but essentially extremely muddy bridleways ) and 6 miles of roads, the course sounded picturesque and perfect flat running conditions. Unfortunately the extremely wet weather the previous few days meant a lot of the bridleways and tow paths were flooded and extremely muddy meaning extra effort required in the energy sapping mud!
A very muddy course!
So day 1 saw 39 runners tackling the marathon, Gareth and I adopted a steady steady approach and ran all but the last mile or two together with Gareth finishing in 4 hours 46 mins and me shuffling in closely behind in 4.54.
The following day both of us registered and lined up at the start line alongside 33 other plucky runners of whom only 23 were attempting the double.
If anyone had seen my attempts to get down the stairs for breakfast on Sunday they would not have believed I was about to endure another marathon, yet a funny thing happened, when the gun went and we got running my body seemed to accept the fact that I’m crackers and was putting it through more punishment and instead of shuffling 9 min miles along the drier parts like yesterday, Gareth and I were actually ‘running’ along at 8 min mile pace!
After ten miles or so I put the ipod on to numb the pain and Gareth and I went at our own pace but both reached hallway point some 10-15 mins quicker than the previous day!
The second half saw us both improve dramatically over the previous day and Gareth ‘sauntered’ home in a very impressive time of 4 hours 13 mins.
I should have been close behind him, however, my sense of direction wasn’t as good as my running on Sunday and I took a wrong turn along the trails 200 yards from the finish! I did an extra 1.5 miles which the organisers kindly didn’t charge me for, but remarkably despite my mishap I finished in 4 hrs 52 mins still 2 mins faster than the previous day.
All 23 runners who attempted the double completed it with Gareth 14th and myself 18th. Looking at the results I’m amazed at the winning double time by Phil Ecclestone of Horwich RMI Harriers who completed both marathons on that wet and very muddy course in a cumulative time of 6 hours 28! Remarkable!
Astley and Tyldesly road runners also put on a half marathon on the Sunday along the first 13 miles of the course in which Helsby running club member Ivan Davies produced a very creditable time of 1 hr 34 minutes. Great time on that course Ivan!
As this event is only 30 minutes away from our club I’d recommend it to anyone wanting a friendly and low key event marathon or double marathon. The organisation was incredible with friendly marshalling and 4 excellent feed stations and despite my navigational mishap which was due to tiredness and stupidity, I must say the signposting along the trails meant the course map and directions provided at the start were never needed with arrows sprayed on the ground/mud at every major turn. The organisers had even mountain biked the course on Sunday morning re-establishing the arrows after Saturday nights heavy rain
One of the few non industrial picturesque views on the course. Worsely village after aprox 9 miles
Canal tow path at aprox 16 miles
Bridge at halfway checkpoint.
For Photographs please see attached report in pdf