I’m inbound to the Lake District this weekend for the inaugural Lakeland Trails Marathon, a 26.2-mile circuit around Coniston Water, starting and finishing in Coniston village. Seeing as it’s the Lakes, Kendal Mint Cake will be handed out at water stations.
The marathon route looks ever so pretty on the map: around Tarn Hows, across high moorland, through forest, past Beacon Tarn, along the edge of Coniston Water. Less pretty is the route profile. It appears to climb continuously (albeit gently) from the start to the 14km mark. Staying on the level for about 10km, we then plunge downhill into the valley to the south of Coniston Water. What goes down must come up: that’s what we’ll be doing from 30-34km – the point where marathoners begin to lose the will to live.
But then what a joy – a sweeping downhill to the shore of Coniston Water and ultimately back to Coniston, The Old Man of Coniston rising peerlessly to the west. And what a joy to run to run a marathon without the obsession of time, thoughts that followed me for every step of London in April. It’s a highly dangerous thing to say, but I might actually enjoy running a marathon on Sunday.