Rob in the Gymnasium at Wyvern School, Laverstock, Salisbury
This story is from one of our committee members, Rob Carter, who does not actually run in the marathon. Instead, as manager of the bike team, he covers the complete 26 miles on two wheels.
Rob’s story about this very special cycle ride reads as follows:
The Start line at Wyvern School, Laverstock, Salisbury
Each year I complete the Clarendon Marathon but my feet don’t touch the ground and I never cross the finish line!
When I joined Winchester Rotary Club, I had to choose a project to support, and the Clarendon marathon was the obvious choice for me.
A knee injury whilst playing football in my 30s means that running a full Clarendon is not for me. Instead I have the privilege of leading the runners back to Winchester on my mountain bike.
It is a tremendous vantage point from which to watch the race unfold.
In recent years the battle in the relay race has taken the speeds to a new level.
With more and more teams from the local running clubs battling it out at the front of the race.
One of my favourite memories is of an individual runner who nearly lead the race from start to finish.
It was in 2014 when the Spanish runner, Pere Capdevila, smashed the course record, completing the marathon in 02:43:41.
He lead the race all the way and was only just caught, meters from the line, by the 4th runner from a very fast relay team.
I am also a member of Winchester and District Athletics Club (WADAC) so I always enjoy seeing all the runners taking part, both from our club and also from the other Hampshire clubs.
As organisers, we are keen to have as many club runners as possible and in recent years we have seen some exceptional performances by some of the younger club runners.
Especially the young team of boys from Andover Athletics Club who won the relay race in 2017 (Jordan, Dylan, Paddy and Jack).
The role of the lead bike is a simple one!
Make sure the lead runner goes in the right direction and that the course is clear.
This means redirecting horse riders, warning walkers of the approaching race and removing the odd fallen branch.
We have approx 500 signs along the route and I am always on the lookout for any arrows that may have mysteriously changed direction overnight and need to be quickly corrected.
Over the years I’ve been assisted by Paul and Ed at the front of the race and Helen and Jim sweeping at the back of the race.
Helen and Jim have a very long day on the course, assisting any runners who have got into trouble and also telling the course marshals that all the runners are now through.
Another important job is keeping an eye out for any litter that the runners may have accidentally discarded.
From a cycling perspective it’s a great day out! We ride out from Winchester just after dawn, enjoying a road ride across to Salisbury before the fun of the mountain bike ride back to Winchester along paths that we wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to follow.
Excitement mounts as we arrive at Farley Mount and enter the woods (21 miles covered and 5 to go). It’s here the runners at the front know the winning move needs to be made.
I monitor the front runners and once I think the lead runner has a winning position it’s time for me to note name, number and club and dash to the finish to tell the commentators.
From there I can take it easy and enjoy watching all the runners one by one as they cross the finish line.
Good luck to you all for 2019!
Leaving Salisbury, 2 miles done, 24 miles to go