I knew of "Threshold" as a company as I did RTTS (Race To The Stones) a few years ago and again, the company didn`t disappoint.
The race starts outside Painswick and finishes at Broadway Tower; you have several options ... mine was the "All in one" Double Marathon
At the start, the carpark/drop off area was very well organised and with no wait. There you can expect everything you find at a big race: merchandise, drinks, food, loos and vans picking up your luggage.
I started in wave 3 which I believe was the last one. This was a vast improvement from RTTS as back then, we all started (walkers and runners) at the same time and we had massive bottlenecks!
From the start to just before Crickley Hill, we followed the Cotswold Way and then we deviated a bit as the route has been changed for safety ... no more crossing at the "Air Balloon" roundabout ... and to accommodate pit stops.
There were 2 pit stops before Crickley. I took it steady as it was hard at the beginning when you are feeling fresh not to run all these hills but no ... Walk the hills!
Pass Crickley, you have a stop at Ullenwood. All the pit stops will have cold drinks (water, squash, coke, energy) and hot drinks as well as snacks/fruits, medics and loos.The one before Crickley had sandwiches (and I think maybe soup) as it was that time of the day.
We ended up on top of Leckhampton Hill (Hello house!) and deviated from the CW and ended down the "Tramway" to get back up again.
The next pit stop was at Colgate Farm. This is situated on the CW, pass the Koloshi restaurant on the way to Cleeve. This was also the halfway point, where it got a bit harder mentally. One can see people finishing their marathon and being handed their medals and runners finishing their first day but you know you have to START ALL OVER AGAIN.
This stop had all the pitched tents, showers (top showers!), and a catering tent with hot food.These facilities can be used for people staying over and runners doing the race all in one. Word of advice, don`t stay too long! I stayed maybe 20-30 minutes max.
It was by then getting fairly hot and I was trying to motivate myself for my second half by speaking to golfers and dog walkers on Cleeve which took my mind off the race a bit; it was just like a normal run on Cleeve at the weekend ... wasn't it?
From Cleeve to Stanway House, we followed the CW.
By the time I passed the pit just after Postlip, my stomach was not best pleased... I was drinking more than I was eating and I could feel the after effect. After "evacuating" 2 or 3 times by the bottom of Belas I felt a bit better but was clearly very much looking forward to sitting down at the next stop. Again, avoid sitting down early on if you can, but by the last 2 pits, it is kind of necessary to recharge the battery!
The pit between Postlip and the one past Winchcombe seemed to be based far apart but the distances between all of them are fairly similar (5 to 6 miles). I guess I was just feeling a bit deflated and needed a break!
I started to use my headlight maybe 2-3 miles after Stanway.
The ultimate pit stop was 6 miles before the finish and situated at the bottom of a 2 mile downhill that I ran like a lunatic. I knew I was so close, I could see the town`s lights and gazed at the stars but I couldn`t see the Tower`s light! Surely I was close by now? "I want to see those lights" was my motto for the last 6 miles.
We then diverted a bit from the CW as we seemed to "circle" Broadway forever in the countryside.It was my first time racing in the dark and I was not scared. There were shiny pointers hanging from trees and high viz markers everywhere. I knew if something had happened someone would have eventually passed me and helped. I just adjusted my pace and looked out for tree roots. But by then I was walking a fair bit anyway.
Finally we reached Broadway, which funnily enough was not that empty at night! I was now back on the CW...but still no Tower`s light. BUT this big last MASSIVE hill ...I can hear bells ... is it my mind playing tricks???
No, those are bells ringing at the top.This was the best sound ever ... Follow the bell Mariel, follow the bells..
Poor sheep...foolish people waking them up ... follow the bell ...
And then finally you reach the top and expect a cruel game and 1 more mile to run to run to the finish but YES it is there ; the finish is there and finally...... those Tower`s lights!
ALSO, BIG THANKS TO MY SUPPORT CREW ...JACKIE AND DES