Aldi Ashby 20 – 22.03.15

As lots of marathon training plans call for a long 20mile run a few weeks before the big day, Ashby falls perfectly for Spring Marathons, so for some it is a race but for others it is a supported Training run, with time to try out race day nutrition and pacing. So a good haul of Massey Runners pulled on their trainers for this race, for many it was the furthest they have ever run!

After gathering for the obligatory prerace photographer in the hotel carpark we trudged slowly to the start, having a chat on the way – I think this was the only time I saw James, Phyllis and Jason as I am not sure what was in their prerace breakfast but with the gun they were off and out of sight!

After discussions with Dave Goodwin on our training run around Draycote, I had a Gold, Silver and Bronze Race target. Bronze – get round in one piece – running the lot! Silver – 3:59:59 – 12 minute mile pace. Gold – Under 3:40 11 minute mile pace. But whatever I do don’t get catch race fever and start like a wild horse in a stampeed!

I have no idea what happened to me but the gun went and so did my brain – I was off, leaving behind all reason I ran! Okay not like a wind, more like a gentle summer breeze but I went off. Soon I had caught up with Anna but ignored the fact she was aiming for the same pace I was and ran on. Soon I fell into pace with Claire and we chatted and ran and the miles ticked away… 10 min miles! I was feeling good, but soon my daftness came back to haunt me.

The weather forecast clearly said overcast and 8 degrees, thinking I would be running a slower pace I dressed accordingly in Under Armour – great for keeping you warm. Factors conspired against me… The sun came out and I was going far too fast… My body couldn’t handle the pace so Claire slipped from sight but I maintained my running. Just before 10 miles the leader speed past me… 1:37 Alarm bells sounded in my head… not to slow down but to use the facilities… After a 6minute wait in Packington, I resumed my run, eager to catch back up those I had passed once.

After the slog up 11 miles my body gracefully informed me that I couldn’t maintain this pace any longer. Even though I had been drinking water like a student trying to ward off a hangover I couldn’t sweat enough! So using the bottles of water I kept pouring water over myself.

I started to run though treacle. In fact I had to resort to a brisk walk just to keep going… Soon Anna caught me up and with a few words was off. At 14 miles Dave Goodwin, the Pacing King and his troupe of followers Rachel and Nathan had reeled me in – We are 11min milers I was told but try as I might I couldn’t keep up. After 15 and a bit miles by the Crown pub they were off – At this point I cursed the fact that I didn’t drink… then remembered my emergency money was in my tracksuit in the baggage store!

At this point I was informed by another runner that the colour of the hoody had leaked out and it was Orange! I was doing all this for an Orange Hoody!!! With my bright red face, rotund physique and an orange Hoody I would look like an oompalumpa! But I had earnt the Sleeves and Front so I wanted the rest!

The next 5 miles were a painful blur of walking and running, even the musical behind of a runner could barely get me running. I adopted a strategy of run 100 steps walk, 100 steps anything to get the race done!

At 18 and a bit miles I looked at my watched and realised I could break 4 hours if I walked the hills briskly and ran ½ a mile… just half but which – That was easy, that last bit onto the field downhill and in view of the rest of the finished Massey crowd!

As I lumbered up the last hill in Ashby I spotted the first hoody… Actually I spotted 4 but it took me that many to realise it was grey! This kind runner then let out a call to the runner behind me, ‘Push on and you can catch your team mate!’

‘He can bloody have it!’ I think came the reply from Anne Marie. True to my decision at 18 miles as the downhill started my legs started to run. Down the rocky path, down the field. My field of vision narrowed, all I cared about was finishing this dratted race!

Unfortunately I don’t remember much after crossing the line and currently it seems nor do the timers as my result is missing – Gutted! But this was due in small part to really not feeling good. However St John’s ambulance were on hand to give my Hi5 isotonic drink and an energy gel as I wobbled unstably on the chair. I missed seeing Anne Marie and Mary cross the line as I was supported by two first aiders.

After a few eye rolls I felt better to go and get my cheese roll and see Tiffannie storm across the line and collect her t-shirt. As Marie and Emma crossed the line the announcers commented on the fantastic support and turn out that Massey had given to the race.

From my first time at this event it seems that this is a runner’s race… Organised by runners for runners – the lack of Ivanhoe runners in the race being a clue as they formed the much of the fantastic body of marshals, who had run the route the day before. At every low point I hit in a race – normally the bottom of the hill a marshal was on hand with a positive comment or just a clap – I wish I could have thanked them all but my puff had left me up the numerous hills.

This is one of the best marshal supported races I have taken part in. Although the Ivanhoe Runners Race team are a rather sadistic bunch seemingly picking out hill after hill for the route, as around every corner there seemed to be yet another hill; that you have to tackle twice, they certainly can organise a race. Each water station was well stocked with, cups or bottles of water, jelly babies, Hi5 Gels, bananas or chocolate offered to sustained the weary runner; plenty of volunteers were on hand to dish these goodies out making these stations a breeze to gather and get supplies. The only minor gripe to be had would be the lack of toilets not at No Pee Packington (Clearly indicated in the race hand book) where two portaloos were stationed but the rest of the course; runners male and female took full advantage of hedgerows – maybe the organisers could add a few facilities at other water stations?

Looking back I personally had a dreadful race in many many ways but I have lived to run another day. But it was fantastic to see so many Massey runners surprising themselves with how well and how far they managed to run, with Emma storming her way around 20miles surely she must be tempted with the call of a marathon shortly…

Massey Results (minus me as it is missing ;-( )

495 James Towey 2:52:46

856 Phyll Douglas 3:22:49

857 Jason Douglas 3:22:50

947 Clare Weston 3:35:45

958 Anna Towey 3:37:51

962 David Goodwin 3:38:17

963 Rachael Bignall 3:38:20

964 Nathan Bignall 3:38:21

1010 Anne-Marie Paszkiewicz 3:57:12

1014 Mary Connolly 3:59:26

1021 Tiffannie Slatford 4:03:57

1027 Marie O’Connor 4:10:06

1030 Emma Cutting 4:11:06

1035 Kelli Boyde 4:17:44