Bedford Autodrome Marathon yesterday. Good job I booked it in as a last-gasp attempt at a VMLM GFA-to-Champs place upgrade, since I ditched the previous week's half marathon at Dorney due to the massive bloody heatwave.
So the target was always sub-2:40 and I had a chat with a couple of guys on the start line with similar ideas, and despite the rather small field I did end up running a fair portion of the race with others. Conditions were a lot easier than last week; way cooler, overcast, bit windy as the aerodrome is prone to be, but not awful. Set off around 6m/m and actually went through 5 miles in around 30:00 give or take a few seconds. 10 miles 60:30-ish, all good. One or two splits went out to ~6:10 with a stiffening wind or fiddling with my half-way gel, but it was all pretty textbook and I didn't really start stiffening up till the last couple of miles...
2:38:19 official, 2nd overall, in yet another race this year won by an oldie, so I was only 2nd V45, but I was only ever running against the clock yesterday. Really happy with the execution, not a jog in the park but very controlled, and a massive contrast to my last actual race attempt at the distance, 2:42 at Frankfurt in 2018 finishing in a niggly hobble.
Sub-2:30 still feels like a huge challenge but at least I'll be starting that bit nearer the front, potentially with club mates going for the same target. (And after a less stressful toilet queue experience prior to the start.) Game on!