Published: 00:00, 13 June 2002
BANANA and honey sandwiches followed by watered down Coke. It’s hardly the conventional recipe for running success.
But for Ramsgate athlete Rob Goodwin the unusual combination proved crucial to his victory in Britain’s longest non-stop foot race.
The Grand Union Canal Race is run over 145 miles from Birmingham to London and Goodwin, 42, won in a time of 30 hours 11 minutes - 1 hour 13 minutes outside the course record. It was his fifth attempt at the distance, and only the second time he has finished, having come third in 33 hours 18 minutes on his debut, in 1998.
The Thanet Roadrunner had led the event once before but had to drop out with a pulled muscle in his groin. His winning margin over the runner-up was almost two-and-a-half hours, and he was nearly seven-and-a-half hours in front of the main in third. He started at 6am on the Saturday and crossed the line at 11 minutes past midday on the Sunday.
Goodwin, who lives in St David’s Road, Ramsgate, admitted his victory had come as a bit of a surprise. He said: “I thought I had a chance but in a race this long anything can happen and even wearing a stopwatch you lose all track of time."
Goodwin began his preparations for the event in January, using the London Marathon as a warm-up and at the peak of his training he was running 90 to 100 miles a weekend.
He was kept going en route by his wife Sue, and friends Andy and Ramona Smith, plus, of course that unusual diet. His race menu also included rice puddings, pasta pots, bananas and custard and cereal bars.
He said: “Coke is a bit too fizzy and sugary on its own so I like to add a bit of water. It’s supposed to be good for upset stomachs and the caffeine is also good for keeping you awake.”