Cambridge Boundary Run

The Boundary Run is a not for profit run around the whole (marathon distance) or halfway round the Boundary of Cambridge City – or at least a route close to this.

It is organised each year by the Cambridge University Hare & Hounds Club, which is their name for the cross-country team. The route means that it is not a formally certified UKA course because there is significant (declared as 30%) off-road.

Three members of Grantham Running Club set out on the run this year. Ros Sadler did the half marathon, supported by her husband and son, who were able to meet her at the sports field where the half marathon finished with a surprising amount of jaffa cakes. She described the course as enjoyably muddy and was happy with her time of 2:21:41.

Peter Bonner and Robert McArdle set out to complete the full marathon distance as part of their training programmes for London and Boston Lincs marathons respectively. Starting at a slightly faster than training pace, all was going well until they encountered the second muddy section, where after a brief run through some woodland they reached a track with a film of clayey mud. It was at this point that they both realised that their choice of running shoe was inadequate for the terrain. Indeed, Robert looked at the tread of his shoes afterwards and realised that there was absolutely no lateral grip. At this point, Robert’s pre-existing injury started to become more of an issue and he had to walk for the first time.

By the time we reached the ten mile point, Robert was unable to continue running and so walked the final three miles to the half marathon finish, where he was able to get a compensatory medal but had to wait on a cold bus for half an hour before returning to the start point and his warm clothing.

Peter carried on and finished the entire event, walking where necessary to stay upright and with the primary goal having changed from a good, supported training run to getting back without injury. He did this successfully in 51 seconds outside 4 hours, and was sufficiently strong to recover some of the missed training with a further 20 minute run on the roads around the finish area. Commenting afterwards, Peter described the conditions as “unsuitable for road running training” and has decided that those people who were using the event for trail ultras had the right idea.

The marathon was won by Richard Ollington in 2:48:37 and he was also the first person through the half marathon finish. The first female marathon finisher was Katie Godof in 3:18:50 though she wasn’t recorded at the half marathon finish, with Holly Sprosen being first through in 1:30:17. There were 252 marathon finishers and 293 people were recorded finishing the half marathon.

The camaraderie and support offered by the marshals, the feed stations, and other runners would be very familiar to anyone who has taken part in an ultra event, and this event should be treated as training for this rather than for road racing.

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