This is the third time I’ve run this race and up until this time I’ve not really enjoyed it and have sworn, ‘Never again.’. This time was different, I was properly fit, properly prepared and lastly, and I think this makes all the difference, a Strider. Going on the coach was excellent and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone next year, we arrived nice and early to a nice cooling drizzling rain.
Virtually as soon as we stepped off the coach there was a problem – Jo Porter had realised that she had forgotten her chip. I dropped my bag on the baggage bus and volunteered to go with her, which definitely worked to my advantage, if not hers, as it took my mind off the start of the race and ensured we didn’t get soaked and stiff standing around for an hour before the race. Fortunately Jo’s partner was kind enough to bring the chip through and we met up just after the Redheugh bridge. Chip safely collected we now had to try and get Jo’s bag on the baggage bus – no problem we thought as it was only now just after 10am and the buses didn’t leave until 10.10.
Unfortunately all the buses for her zone were now full and it was a bit of a dash to make the last minute baggage buses – which for some reason are the furthest from the start line..
Anyway heart rate suitably raised and warmed up we wished each other luck and went off to our respective pens. I was in pen D this year, having originally planned to run round with my wife in about 2 hours, but she got injured and as a result I was on my own, a little further back than the last time I ran in 2008, but this didn’t prove a problem at all. I got off to a nice fast start and up until about 8 or 9 miles had no problems at all.
It was brilliant to see Jan cheering me on just after White Mare Pool at about half way and also great to see Dave Robson and the other fetchies at the Fetch point at about 9 miles. 9m to 12m was a bit of a struggle and I really was glad of the hard work I’d done in preparation, getting to the coast was fantastic except that it’s always much further than it seems it should be from there – one banner proclaiming 400m to go seemed a particularly cruel joke as I’m sure I couldn’t even see the finish from there..
Anyway I made it round in 1.44.59 according to my Garmin, although this was later rounded down to 1.45.40 officially, either way still a convincing half marathon and GNR PB. I quickly collected my medal, goodie bag and T-shirt (Slight disappointment – still no technical Tee, Brendan?), had my photo taken at the official point and then set off on my way to the Lookout pub. I was astonished to find I was first there! Anyway I made good advantage of that, and started to make up for lost time – I’d been dry for the previous 8 weeks, and gradually everyone came in. It was brilliant to see everyone, to meet people for the first time in some instances and hopefully I didn’t embarrass myself too much.
I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a great deal about the coach journey back except for one thing. Andy, Is it possible to get a coach with an onboard toilet next year?
See you all next year I hope!