We’ve become regulars at Phoenix Running events. The next back to back race for 2019 was on February 23-24, 2019 at the now very familiar Walton-on-Thames tow path.
Jaw Dropper Marathon 2019 was on Saturday, February 23, 2019. Bib pick-up followed by a briefing at the XCel Leisure Complex preceded the race at 9:30 AM.
One pleasant surprise that day was the Lidl pop up booth outside the building. The mega discount chain was opening another store in the next few days. The booth was giving away as much fruits and bars as one could have. Of course we took advantage of the freebie stuff and grabbed some bananas and oranges as well as some energy bars and juice drinks! We now have better refreshments in between laps!
We set off in front of The Weir Pub going westward to the blue bridge. Runners can make as many laps as they want within the six hour time limit. One lap is 3.26 miles.
Richard did four laps to complete a half marathon distance.
The tow path on Saturdays are always crowded with families of walkers or walkers with dogs of all sizes. There are a couple of rowing clubs on the race path too. The areas in front of their club houses are always busy with rowers getting their boats out on the water or just milling about.
The weather was beautiful, starting at around 5 degrees Celsius at the beginning of the race to around 14 degrees by the time I finished in 6:27:21. There is a section in the towpath part the Walton bridge that serves as a feeding area for swans, ducks, and other two-winged beautiful creatures. They were just beautiful to look at!
We took the cab back to our hotel. Travelodge was our accommodation for this weekend. It was cheaper than our last hotel, right in front of the Walton-on-Thames train station, and very close to the high street shops. I cleaned up quickly and hopped back into the cab to have an early dinner at Nando’s at The Heart Shopping Complex. We popped into Sainsbury’s for some snacks then walked to Supha Thai Massage for our couple’s massage appointment at 6:30 PM. The massage was painfully good; it kneaded our sore muscles and made us sleep well that night. The price was reasonable too: 45 pounds for one hour.
The following morning, Richard walked with me to the train station to take a cab to the XCel Leisure Complex. Fare was 8 pounds with a one pound tip.
The Dirty Running Marathon also started at 9:00 AM. Thankfully, we were going eastward this time, towards Hampton Court. Yay! no blue bridge to contend with. I like this route better because there are less people, have a wider towpath, and do not have slopes to deal with. Not that it made any difference to my time. I completed the same eight laps of 3.26 miles to make a marathon distance. I was still slower on the second day, coming in at 6:33:49.
It was sunnier on Sunday. I got hot at times but also got cold on the tow path areas where it was shaded.
Richard picked me up after the race in a cab. We returned to Travelodge to retrieve our luggage, changed at the Ashley Park Pub next door, and crossed the street to the train station.
We took the Southwestern Railway train to Waterloo, changed to the Northern Line to Euston, then to the Victoria Line to St. Pancras International Train Station. We arrived in plenty of time for our 19:34 train back to Brussels.