Having been to Guernsey and Sark on the Gold Post Box cycle in June and I'd already run the Guernsey Marathon in 2011, it was finally time to visit Jersey for the first time and my excuse for the trip could be the complete marathon number 36.  

I joined Clive, who was my support, as he was in Guernsey, when I flew into Jersey on the Saturday morning.  (Many thanks to Marc for dropping me at the airport very early that morning!).  We had time for breakfast and walked down to the registration area in St Helier (the island capital) which was also where the race would start and finish. I had not taken an umbrella and it was raining heavily.  We therefore had a tea whilst hoping the rain would clear once I'd collected my race number etc.  No joy on the rain stopping so we headed off to explore the island - and I got pretty wet!  

Jersey Marathon
Saturday was then a time to enjoy Jersey - visiting the War Tunnels (where I then hand dried my socks and trainers as the rain had stopped) and the castle in Gorey, with great views over to the French Coast and the east coast of Jersey. The castle also included an exhibition of 3D hologram portraits of HM The Queen - which will become more relevant below.  We ate in St Helier, where I overheard a lady on another table mentioning that everyone on the island should watch the marathon.  This was very encouraging as we then retired to our hotel and an attempt to get some sleep.

I didn't have the best night's sleep.  This is not overly unusual pre marathon, but the meal we had eaten had not agreed with me and I was having some very odd dreams about The Queen - I was employed by the Palace in some way and having a very frank conversation with the Queen about her life away from the media etc! Very bizarre and not the first time marathons and the Queen have linked in my life! (I have had two dreams involving Her Majesty running the London Marathon in full regalia (like when she does state opening of Parliament) with beefeaters as her security equidistant from her as they ran!).  At least it was dry and fresh out, so my head would be cleared - I have enough mad ideas when running without food poisoning and regal employment to add into the equation!)
We made the start in good time - a short walk from the hotel and I finished clearing my internals before Clive started suffering the same issue.  At least he didn't need to run the race.  At 9am we headed off on our 26.2 mile tour of the island (well about 2/3rds of the island).  The first mile take a loop around St Helier town centre, giving Clive a chance to spot me twice on two corners before we headed out and north through the centre of the island.  Much of the first half of the route seems to climb, but very noticeably between 3-6 miles, with mile five taking nearly 9 minutes - a very slow time for that stage of the route.  It did take us through sheltered roads through the forest and past a reservoir and finally out to the north west corner and St Ouen.  

The weather was warmer and brighter than expected as we progressed and turned south east to St Peter and through the half way point in 1:44:42 approx.  I say approx as the mileage signs at this point seemed to be about 0.15/0.2 miles before my GPS told me I'd run the same distance (I was sure I'd not cut any corners!).  It was also around this time that the first of the relay runners passed me.  They had started 30 minutes after us and I was impressed at the speed.  It was a while before the second one passed too.
Weighbridge Place and the finish the  day before
Around 15 miles heading round the Airport
Top Left: Lucas trying to keep dry
Right: Clive in the Jersey War Tunnels

Gorey Castle


Coming through St Helier in the first mile

From St Peter's we headed round the airport on a gravel track, where Clive had headed to and gave me a needed boast.  With less than 400 marathon runners, we were spreading out and could easily be 10-20 metres between runners. We remained on gravelly paths alongside the road and then through a park and onto the old railway line into the south west of the island and near Petit Port - with views across to Guernsey and Sark.  Aside from a toilet stop I had kept running but had to stop again at mile 19, where we turned back west and again at 21 miles due to stones in my shoes. This is the downside of running along gravel tracks. This shouldn't take away from the support and excellent organisation along the whole route, which was great.

Much to my

surprise I kept going down to the coast (it was a slight downhill section!) and onto the seafront in St Aubin, where we then ran the final 3.5 miles along the promenade of St Aubin's Bay. This is where the support kept me running rather than walking as every time I thought I may walk, someone else would cheer, the union flag shorts getting plenty of feedback (all good I would add).  The mile signs remained out of sync with my GPS watch so as I went through the half a mile to go sign it was then followed by the 26 mile point.  Given I was only due to do 0.2 miles after the 26 mile sign this didn't add up! At this stage of the run, my head doesn't need such confusion!  I just want to finish!

Going through the 1/4 mile to go sign then confirmed something was wrong with the mile markers, but I was into the final straight up to the finish in Weighbridge Place and had the finish line all to myself as I crossed 5 minutes quicker than a week earlier in Nottingham in 3:47:58.  I also mumbled a correction to how my surname is pronounced as I heard them announce me over the tannoy!

Clive was at the finish to try and get a picture of me crossing the line - which he did just with several other people partial obscuring the view.  More impressively, I didn't seem to ache or have blisters - an fete it's taken 36 marathons to achieve both together! (I did ache a bit later).  Having gathered my deal, t-shirt and had my recovery Mars Bar, Cup of Tea and pictures, we headed off to visit Elizabeth Island and Castle before Clive had to catch his flight back and I headed back later that evening.  

A great event and appreciated the messages on Facebook (as my mobile was out of range).  Thanks to Clive for coming along and supporting too -another enjoyable little island trip for us.

Somewhere in the middle is a red blob and Lucas crossing the line!

Left: Wioth Clive at the finish

Right: Clive getting the teas in!