Jack’s Kielder Dark Skies Marathon Race Report

Another year another marathon…

As a few of you know I got someone’s place for York marathon in 2017 and I didn’t train for it, thinking how hard can it be? Well it turns out its hard, very hard! I then went on to run Windermere marathon in 2018. After 16 weeks of hard marathon training I ran even slower than York!

Third marathon, third time lucky?!

My training didn’t go too well and the furthest I had ran since the lakes weekend was around 12 miles and on road. The lack of training isn’t due to injury but my own stupidity! My logic was that if I trained hard, I would run hard and I would blow up like I did at Windermere. If I don’t train, I will take it easy and enjoy the run and hopefully make it to the finish line in one piece. I set out with the aim to enjoy this marathon. It’s not going to be a PB course so why beat myself up and remembering that if I blow up it will be a very long walk in the dark!

Running under the stars

I picked this marathon as it was different running in the dark and I had hoped to be running under the stars at a registered dark skies site. There was a 75% change of seeing the Northern Lights but sadly race day was overcast but it was an experience looking around the lake and seeing other runners light up the trails and it didn’t dampen the spirits. Another great thing about this race was post-race meals accommodation and a cooked breakfast!

The race

At the race HQ music was being blasted through the speakers giving off a great vibe. Around 575 runners with a few madder runners also racing on the Friday and Sunday nights gathered at the start line, ready for count down. We had around 1.5hours of daylight before we were into the darkness. My new chest torch meant I could see clearly so I preferred the dark as you could see peoples torches around the lake, and in the distance, and slowly aim to catch people up and gain another place. Somehow I managed to run till 24miles before my legs started crying and I ran Kielder 18minutes quicker than Windermere!

Post-race I claimed my chilli con carne and I noticed a friendly atmosphere in the lounge especially when the cans started to come out. I decided not to join in after Fridays running club antics, I made my way to my dorm and crashed out! I woke up to a cooked breakfast and then a nice walk to the reservoir before the drive home.

Dark skies 2020 anyone?