The Chris Hills 10 in 10
Andrew Thompson …
This race last year was the ‘run at it screaming technique’s finest hour resulting in a sub 4 hour time. After a few poor marathon showings recently I did some hard training for this one and was feeling a bit more confident about the whole thing so though I would give it my all again. It’s funny though how much minutes matter in a race that will last roughly 4 hours but I knew that if I crossed half way in over 1hr 50 I probably wouldn’t go under 4 hours. I crossed in 1.53 and knew it wasn’t going to be this time. New plan was to aim for something respectable and just enjoy the day.
That was until 21 miles when a most sporting thing happened- I’d really slowed it down and was just ambling round by then when I got a tap on the shoulder from David Catterick who could easily have gone sailing past. He said he would sponsor me £20 if I beat him. Game on! Off I sped. He was 20 meters behind for the rest of the race but when the legs are tired that is a long way. I was feeling sick and light headed towards the end but to be overtaken wasn’t an option as I would not have been able to muster the energy for a revival. For the first time in a couple of months I actually felt pleased with myself come the end of the race. It was a most sporting thing to do. What a gent!
This was a tough race but there were four first timers out there today- Colin, David, Liz and Keri (honorary Strider) who all did very well and looked less knackered than me at the end. For them their next marathon (especially if it is the Town Moor in a couple of weeks) will seem like a walk in the park. Dave finished his 6th marathon in a couple of weeks with a 9 mile sprint finish and Phil O made it look very easy going on his Long Road Back to fitness. The heavens really opened soon after I’d finished so the biggest effort for the day was to my mum and Liz who battled the last hour in the worst of conditions so big well done to all the Striders especially to them.
I am really looking forward to the final race of the challenge now, the Town Moor marathon on the 30th October. I’m having a party at the Avenue pub to celebrate the end of it all from about 6pm onwards and everyone is invited!
…and Colin Blackburn
This was my first marathon but I was not alone, Liz and David C were marathon newbies too. The rest of the Striders were all seasoned marathon and ultra runners, not least Andrew running his 9th marathon of the year raising money in memory of his friend Chris Hills.
I had put the distance training in so felt I could get round, I just wasn’t expecting it to feel as hard as it did. I ran much of the first half with David C and we spent a fair bit of that time overtaking people who had started ahead of us—there were no sign of timed starting areas so we had ended up towards the back. It probably meant we both ran a faster first half than we were expecting to. Around 14 miles I finally lost sight of David and settled down to finish on my own. Up to around 18 or 19 miles I felt okay. Then it started to feel harder!
For the next 7 miles I really struggled and felt like everyone was passing me. I’m sure it wasn’t that bad as I think I was passing people too—although I didn’t realise you could get a bus across the dam wall! Although none of the hills are the sort of thing you find on fell races to describe the course as undulating is to play down just how hilly it is. It was also a fairly driech day all round which didn’t help much—though that may have been better than the heat of the previous weekend.
I finally crossed the line just over 4:20 and was relieved to get my medal, Salomon towel and very nice technical shirt—yes I have loads of More Mile event shirts but this one is definitely very special. There were some lovely women from Waitrose handing out Fairtrade bananas too!
It was great that there was loads of spectator support at various points on the course, especially at the finish, and having encouraging shouts from NFR spectators was great. The organisation this year seemed better than last year’s according to the reports. The buses were plentiful and there was very little waiting—though having to go upstairs on a double-decker having just finished a marathon is plain cruel.
Just after getting changed at the end David and I were approached by a guy from Galloway Harriers who having spotted our hoodies told us that his club members always read our website and he reckoned it was one of the best running club websites around! So, that’s a big thanks to all you lot for writing great reports.
So, will I do another marathon? Well, I’m entered for the Town Moor so at least one more… maybe even a PB!
Liz Lamb adds:
It was my first marathon and I knew that due to a lack of training and because of niggles from my legs and back I wasn’t going to complete it easily. After all, the most I had run in training was about 15 miles before my legs would decide to give in. On the marathon, I ended up walking the last 8 miles and limping the last 4 in wind and wet and feeling so cold, I felt quite despondent crossing the line being unable to run the last bit to the finish.
I made my way down to the marquee to collect my goodies and turned the corner to the best cheering welcome out. Thank you all you Striders, you really lifted my spirits. It’s what makes the Striders unique, you always remember to cheer everyone on even those near the end of the race.
1108 finishers, which is to say runners who didn’t use the bus.