Budapest Marathon

The Budapest Marathon is very popular as it has a beautiful route along both banks of the Danube and across several of the beautiful bridges. This year there were supposedly 16,000 people taking part, more than 4,000 running the entire distance. The start lasted more than 9 minutes!

You can run the whole marathon, run it in a relay of 3 or 5, choose the 30K or the 7.5K distance. As I’m not fit enough to run the whole distance alone – and I would never have the time to prepare either – I had the idea to run the relay. To have a family team. So we decided with Jenna and Gabor to enter as a team of 3.

The first distance was 11.4K and Jenna did it in 1:06. Here you can see Jenna and Gabor before the start.

And here’s Jenna coming in to the first relay place. She is just emerging from under the Chain Bridge.

After she had given the chip to Gabor he shot off to his 21.4K distance. I ran it 2 years ago and this is the nicest part as you run on both sides of the river and you cross 2 of the beautiful bridges.

Gábor starting off

While waiting for Gabor to return we took pictures of each other with the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge as background.

Jenna after the run – she doesn’t look too tired
Dalma before the run so no wonder she doesn’t look tired – yet

Gabor came in after 2 hours and 18 minutes and gave me the chip so I could start the last part which was the shortest, 9.4K. For a while we ran along the river then took it into the city towards the start/finish. It took me 58 minutes so we did a 4:24 Marathon.

The kids loved the race, the atmosphere was just superb. There were street musicians setting the pace, here you can see a percussion band:

And there were a lot of people supporting, some of them were distributing refreshments like orange slices. I took this picture of English supporters for the blog.

Maybe one day I will run the whole distance alone, it’s never too late to start. I think this year the oldest runner (who ran the entire distance) was 77!

The Halley Marathon

At -10 °C and with a slight breeze taking the temperature down to -16 and with an icy, slippery surface, running anywhere would seem a little foolhardy. But last Sunday 24 of us at Halley base set off in the Halley Marathon: 8 ½ laps of the base perimeter to make up the required distance. The course had been groomed, and although this made
it firm underfoot, it was quite icy, in fact most of the runners wore the rubber foot spikes seen last winter around the Lakes.

Start of the marathon

I had done some training with Dean although this had been interrupted by bad weather in the weeks preceding the race, and we had aimed to run a constant pace of 35 minute laps to bring us home in just under 5 hours. In the end, 3 of us: me, Dean and Ian Prickett ran together, and we went off too fast, the first 3 5km laps were done in 27 mins each, resulting in bad cramp for Dean on lap 6 and 7, but we stuck together and came in joint 2nd in 4 ½ hours. Everybody finished the race, with 2 even skiing it; and as the main point was to raise money for 2 charities (see we were all pretty chuffed to have raised £4000.

25kms in to the Halley Marathon
On the way to an equal 2nd placing!

No rest though, and with aching legs I was off for a supposed two night stop at the Halley 6 site. I only took a toothbrush, and as the stay turned into a week I was ready for a shower when I got back. Halley 6 only has 3 bedroom containers and a hole in the ground for a toilet, but nobody seemed to mind, as the place is quiet and away from the hubbub of the main base (15km away).

Halley 6 dining room
Halley 6 living quarters
Nearly complete, the Halley 6 build
A low evening sun

With most of the modules now at Halley 6 all the rest of the workforce are travelling to the site in a container on a sled being pulled by a tractor. It takes an hour and is pretty cold, as we are resident at Halley 6 (only 12 beds) we call them “the illegals”, looking for work.

Transport to Halley 6

We have 4 natural inhabitants sheltering at the site; some Adelie penguins have come inland to moult. When they are ready, and before the sea ice traps them on the continent, they will head north to the warmer latitudes.

A bit like us……

A young Adelie Penguin moulting

A Mudathon

When the name of a race contains the word “Challenge”, I always question whether this is a realistic race description for seasoned competitors like us. Take this example… an undulating race in the Vale of Belvoir, where the elevation range is only about 100 m and refreshments are provided every hour or so. How hard can it be? Well first, factor in that the race was a marathon (actually 26.4 miles) and second, that the Vale of Belvoir has a bedrock of mudstone. After the first few miles it becomes blatently obvious that this race is a ‘challenge’; the route is >90% off-road in fields and on tracks that comprise sticky, heavy, slippery, waterlogged clay! Sometimes the fields were grassy, which were a joy, but many of the fields contained crops and hence the footpaths were paved with bare mud. Some farmers had managed to pulverise their soil to a strange dry mud consistency, which at first looked pretty harmless, but after 5 more steps, it became apparent that this fine pulverised mud was even more sticky than the waterlogged stuff and resulted in a cm-scale wedge of mud being attached to your shoes with two effects; a) a huge weight increase and b) a complete loss of traction.

The race meandered through many small, quaint villages beginning at Harby and passing through Goadby, Chadwell, Waltham on the Wolds, Croxton Kerrial, Woolsthorpe, Belvoir and Stashern. The whole 26.4 miles was waymarked with small bits of ready salted tape (red and white) … I don’t envy those that staked out the route! It worked pretty well, in fact I only saw route-finding problems once when they manifested in a group just in front of me completing an entire lap of a field before finding the way on … just before I got there 🙂 . The notable parts of the race were the check points which were stashed full of cake (sorry no pictures), Belvoir Castle, which was pretty and errr… the mud, which I saw a lot of when trying to make forward progress rather than fall over!

Eventually the end came and I finished in 4 hrs 25, which wasn’t bad considering the mud! Richard had to walk half-way around because his hips/knees/ankles were not enjoying it very much. My legs were pretty tired, but actually my back aches the most and I think that is due to the constant effort required to stay upright when sliding on the mud.

Ready at the start of the Belvoir Challenge
Belvoir Castle

Photos courtesy of Mark of the Peel Road Runners – well done to all the other Peelers who were challenged!

We probably would have stayed in bed on Sunday, but my back muscles just weren’t happy in a horizontal position, and it was the premier event on a new orienteering area near Ross on Wye. Our good friend Brian has spent the last 3 years mapping the woodland on the side of the M50, so we were keen to see how good the area was. I sensibly chose to walk around the light green course (3 km), which was devoid of too many slopes, tricky controls or stream crossings, whilst Richard chose to run around the black course (10k), which was rather more physical. I had a nice stroll and loosened up a little, whilst Richard struggled through half of his course with niggles in all the places where legs bend. Needless to say, we’ve been grazing all day and I’m still hungry!

Richard at the start in Dymock Woods
Can you spot the controls?