It's taken us 12 years, and we only just managed before leaving, but we've finally discovered what Tsukuba city is good for - road racing! Flat with wide tree-lined roads in full autumn colour, it was as good a course as you could hope for. It is one of the early marathons in the winter season and I had failed to enter the more local Shonan marathon in time, so it was the only option.
The start..and the inevitable mascot.
Based on previous half-marathon results I did have rash hopes of beating 3 hours, and after the inevitable congestion at the start I was only a little behind schedule by half way and was still feeling pretty fresh, but quite suddenly around 26k or so it all started to go a bit pear-shaped so at that point I decided to call off the attempt and complete the rest at a more relaxed pace. Jules was very insistent (and I was happy to agree) that in return for tolerating my training over the summer, I had to make sure I enjoyed it and not knacker myself too much.
Just as well I restrained myself a bit, as it got a lot harder in the last 10k anyway! I even ended up stopping briefly at a couple of feed stations to get in a good drink, as it was hot and thirsty work in the sun (which is why my Garmin time is a bit off, as it's set to pause at stops). Ended up with a real time of 3:06:51 and a position of 735, out of about 11,500 entrants (though probably fewer starters). The official timings are here, (this may be more permanent) but it took me about a minute to even get to the start as I'd been put in the B starting block. There were a lot of slower people in A and the overall winner was a B so I'm not sure how they worked that out. The crowding was a bit annoying for the first 2-3 k but obviously didn't really make much difference in the end.
Jules decided to have one last blast at a proper race rather than just fun running, and easily smashed her previous best 10k with 51:06 (51:42 in net time), making her 109th woman out of 1100+. No pics of her though, because that all took place during my race.
Resting on a handy verge. I'm looking forward to replacing the 2900 calories that my watch tells me I burnt!