So I have run the Marathon De Gwyr (MdG) three times, barely surviving two of them. Sharing my experiences with two MdG stalwarts, JPD and Pete O’kane over a pint last year, we identified four distinct MdG running groups. Which will you be?
Group One: The Unprepared. Shuffling at a speed a toddler would be embarrassed by and breathing like an asthmatic baboon during mating season – if you slip down the pecking order and drift off the back of the slower peloton on day one or two, you’ll be initiated into this group – a kind way to say you’ll be told to get in the safety car. Chris Coles – the first person to use a safety car on MdG I – lacked fitness, wore ill-fitting tennis shoes, and carried custard creams and sugar-free Robinsons as his only fuel supply. Needless to say, he was ashen white and delirious by the time he got in the car.
Lesson: Please remember the importance of all-terrain training, core conditioning in the gym, good footwear and a constant high-calorie fuel supply! If you are walking on day three, don’t worry you’ve done enough.
Group Two: The Goats. Determined, stubborn and angry, they get around without walking. By the time they wake Saturday morning, their eyes have sunken back in their sockets and their tongues are so swollen they can barely talk. On the final day of MdG III, led by senior Regulator Dr ‘Bidz’ Bidder, a group of injured Goats set off just after sunrise. Despite the heat, the 8 pints of Gower Gold lining their stomachs and Dr Bidz humming the Mugwumps’ most popular track, I want to be Touched by Darth, they got around before the MdG afternoon BBQ had started. I say BBQ, but they weren’t to know that Owen McNamara had forgotten to order the meat and bread rolls, meaning burger relish and warm lager was their only sustenance.
Lesson: Bring an emergency burger for the BBQ!
Group Three – The Plodders. A decent amount of training, sensible fuel consumption and a cautious approach to the evening entertainment characterises the Plodders. They don’t converse and have limited patience with the rowdy MdG Roadies, but they get around without much of a hitch. Most will populate the medium paced peloton and most will only smile when they cross the finish line at Pwll Du; although that will abruptly halt when they find out about Owen’s BBQ error. Chris Coles made his comeback in MdG III as a Plodder; unlike his first experience, he hit his training hard, losing so much body weight he looked like Kate Moss with a nasty virus. This year, thankfully, he is a Roadie.
Lesson: Stay away from Chris Coles
Group Four: The Cruisers. We detest them! They stay at the front of the fast peloton and chat; remorseless and incessant chat! They don’t seem to break a sweat, they get to the pub first, knock it back like Darth Mannion on a stag do, and then run the next day without a flicker of exhaustion. Even on the Saturday night they are still full of beans, and have been known to harmonise with Mugwumps lead singer, Ian Joslin, when performing the slow falsetto version of I want to be Touched by Darth. James Gough, who has cruised each MdG, even uses his special chat talent to take out rivals; boring them to death with opinions on Brexit, how the Illuminati are secretly promoting a New World Order and why Luke should still have tried his luck with Princess Leia even after finding out about their family connection. Despite their irritating nature, a decent cruiser will always offer their support to Goats – carrying any extra kit or helping construct their tent – as they lay drained and semi-paralysed in an unknown Gower field too weak to drink from their MdG novelty camping mug.
Lesson: Do not get sucked in by innocent conversation-starters.
Which group will you fall into in September?
See you there!