99 Blue Balloons – 3.6.17

Race Report by James Padvis

How Hard Can It Be Events – 99 Blue Balloons 03.06.17, Lightmoor Shropshire.

 I’ve watched with interest as other people have done this company’s events; usually to rave reviews. I wanted a half marathon that would cure me if my greatest fear – laps. I struggle maintaining interest at Coventry parkrun and that is a mere 2 laps. How would a multi lap course in Shropshire go? Just how hard can it be?

The course was deceptively simple, 0.89 mile loop around a nature reserve with the odd cottages to run past on mostly trails but some Tarmac. Each lap get your card punched to keep track of the laps. Sounds simple until you do some maths. It works out 16 laps for a half marathon, 32 for a full. I’d had thankfully just gone for the half option!

10am arrives and we start. First lap underway and I notice a bit of a hill but not to bad. Following is a downhill another uphill and a gradual descent back to the start. I get back to the start quite quickly thinking this isn’t too bad. In fact this happens 8 times in a row with a little stop for squash, water, flat coke and jelly babies each time to keep me going. The entire loop is tree shaded so despite being warm felt pleasant.

After lap 8 strange things happen. The up hills seem twice as steep and grow about 100 meters each lap. Even the downhills seem sharper and harder. And my lap count doesn’t seem to be increasing! I get to lap 13 and finally admit I need to walk up the hills. The quaint cottages are now stupid – who calls it Rose Cottage when there are no roses in the garden? Stupid orange car parked in stupid place. Stupid purple recycling bins should be blue like Coventry.

Lap 15 is walked in its entirety and it is only the last 500 metres of 16 I manage to run. As is tradition I ring the bell to get my time. I’d come 7th out of… Well does it matter?

I stood there for a while eating crisps and cake from the large array on offer. I don’t mind laps I thought and purple wheelie bins aren’t that stupid. I look down at my lap card. Maybe I’ll get all 32 next year.

Massey Times

James Padvis 2:36:18.3