One of the things you do when Marathon training is do longer and longer LSR’s (Long Sunday Runs). We’re fortunate to live in an area of London that is rich with fantastic running routes, but it is always great to try something different.
The Datchet Dashers running club, based just outside of Windsor organise a group 20 mile training run a few weeks before the London Marathon and runners from local clubs are invited to take part. It is stressed that this is not a race - you shouldn’t be racing these long training runs anyway - and as such there are no prizes or anything like that. Its just a group of runners who want to do a training run as part of a larger group.
The course starts from the Datchet Dashers clubhouse and heads through Datchet and Old Windsor and then up a pretty long hill, then up and down until you get to the Wick Lane entrance to Windsor Great Park (just after 7 miles). You then run past Guards Polo Club and then round the huge lake that is Virginia Water. From there you head out of the park (just before 12 miles), then back along quiet country lanes to Datchet, and then back to the clubhouse.
A number of marshals (volunteers from the club) were on the course telling us where to go and continually offering us jelly babies and water, and there were two ‘official’ water stops - but you went past them twice thus making four opportunities for water. Excellent organisation indeed.
There were 46runners of all abilities - and I ended up running about17 miles entirely on my own - OK, there were people in sight (just) but that was about it. To be honest this wasn’t really an issue as when it comes to race day I have no intention of talking to anyone (yeah, yeah, I’m anti-social - but then again I want to concentrate on running well, not socialising - that can come after the race!). For those interested, the first runner made it back in 2 hours 11 and the last at 4 hours.
Once the run was over there was a rugby club next door serving tea, coffee and more importantly bacon rolls. A bite to eat was had, followed by a walk to relax the legs and then it was back in the car to head home.
An excellent morning out and another 20 miles ticked off the marathon training schedule.