Before The Start Of The Eden Project Marathon
I’m always super nervous before any race, and The Eden Project Marathon was no exception.
Despite loads of training (possibly overload?), I was unsure if I would make it round this one.
Following on from the Roseland August Trail, when it came to picking up the training again and adding more miles, my body was telling me not to. I’ve been physically fatigued. As such, my sciatica returned 2 weeks from race day.
After doing loads of stretches and resting, I felt more confident about taking on the Eden Project Marathon.
On the day, I arrived at the Eden Project, dressed in pink with ridiculously loud compression socks (it’s my new thing), ready to run. There was a technical tee, medal, pasty, and a can of Tribute to run for, the Eden Project certainly know how to do running swag.
I had mixed feelings about the Eden Project Marathon. This meant I wasn’t my usual fired up self (which is my preferred pre-race mood).
My training had gone well and I knew I had the miles in my legs. The thought of the pain and mental energy required was worrying me a bit. I think fatigue had caught with me mentally, as well as physically, as my marathon training came to an end. My last few long runs had felt like a chore but I wanted to give The Eden Project Marathon my absolute best.
When I arrived, the Eden Project was buzzing, with runners for the half and full marathon waiting instruction. The atmosphere was good. When the starting gun went off, there was whoop of surprise from us runners.
The first 3 miles of the Eden Project marathon are downhill. It’s one of those things where I’m never quite sure if I should run quite freely, or put the brakes on – what do others do?
From here, the course hits a gradual uphill trail for a few miles (lots of mud and leaves) before meeting the road and heading towards the village of Luxulyan. After this headed out into the countryside, towards Helman’s Tor.
I have to say, despite being 100% Cornish, my geography of the course is quite atrocious. I’m unfamiliar with the back lanes that make up the route. At times, I had no idea where I was! Even looking at the route online, and having someone go over it with me, has left me none the wiser.
You can find the Eden Marathon route here.
The Middle Marathon Miles
From here, some parts of the race are a bit of a blur, although I remember making my way towards Helman’s Tor – it’s hard to forget!
It’s a steep climb and no one was running up the incline. A photographer was waiting at the top to catch our lovely facial expressions which made me laugh.
From here, I started to enjoy myself a bit more. I love running on trails; off road muddy paths, the Cornish south west coast path and dry chalky clay trails.
I started to relax running down from Helman’s Tor, and enjoyed wading through the ankle deep mud that awaited us. From miles 10 to about 16, I felt ok. My mind had wandered to other things, such as how much I wanted an ice cream, rather than focusing on my leg and sciatica.
However, the last 10 miles were a bit more of a test for me. Here, I had to implement some useful mindfulness strategies to help my running.
This part of the route involves a running a stretch of road for the second time. We first covered it around miles 6-8.
There’s lots of hills, so I knew what was coming.
At some point I started talking to a lovely man, called Pete. He’d completed every Eden Project Marathon to date (crazy man!). I told him I quite liked mud and trails. As he pressed past me, he turned with his thumbs up, telling me there was a lovely off road descent very soon. And he wasn’t wrong!
The Final 10 Miles
As expected with any marathon, from mile 16 (or thereabouts) the pain starts to kick in.
Sometimes it’s bearable and my mind can work wonders at ignoring it. At others, it’s all I can think about. I found I had to walk small stretches and it took me a few miles to find a new stride or rhythm.
At mile 20, I told myself there was only 10k to go.
Again, at mile 23 I told myself there was only 5k left.
But the pain! My old ITB injury was starting to niggle so I tried to focus on my form and posture which always helps.
It’s a hilly course throughout but there’s a phenomenal climb at mile 23 (thanks for that!). From here, we were guided back onto the final bit of trail which eventually linked up with the entrance to The Eden Project.
At mile 24 I started getting emotional but knew it wasn’t the time for tears. I struggled to catch my breath as I held my tears in, and knew if I didn’t take control, a panic attack was likely. I promptly told myself to get a grip and finish the job.
The Eden Project Marathon Finish Line
As I approached The Eden Project, I passed those who’d already finished the half and full marathon walking to their cars. They offered lots of encouragement and smiles.
From The Eden Project entrance, it’s over a mile to the biomes. On race day, running on tired legs, it felt infinite! The only concession being, it was all downhill, whoo-hoo!
I tried to bomb it, I really did, While my speed increased, my poor little legs just couldn’t go much faster. I could only go as fast as they could carry me.
The Eden Project Marathon Race Reflections.
Finally, I crossed the finish line 4 hours and 23 minutes after I left The Eden Project. What a crazy ride.
I swore blind I wouldn’t do it again but marathons are a bit like childbirth, aren’t they? Despite the pain, it’s not long before you’re contemplating another one! Who knows?
The Eden Project Marathon is a tough, challenging course. It’s quiet in places too although there were lots of spectators at Luxulyan.
The course is scenic, but this is Cornwall and we generally host running events with cracking views. I can’t fault The Eden Project’s organisation, as well as the support and guidance of all the marshals. Thank you.
For our efforts we got a medal, a technical tee, a pasty, a can of Tribute, a handful of tester Weleda products, and some Pukka teabags. Back at the Core Building, the lovely peeps from Weleda had bowls of warm water with healing Arnica for our feet.
What a treat, it felt like heaven! Thank you!
Marathon pictures by Patto’s Pics – here
Number of comments about my socks – 8.