Hereford Festival of Sport, 19/20.09.15 Cycling, running and walking etc.

Well all of you in Massey and Pembrokeshire Harriers who had “threatened” to turn up, you missed a fabulous w/e. Sports, festivities, bars, food stalls, cider wagons, cakes, music, charity stalls, dancing etc. You name it and it was there at King George V playing Fields on the bank of the river Wye opposite the Cathedral. On Saturday there were cycle races from 100 m down to 25 m with non-stop activity on the fields comprising Zumba, tennis, hockey, badminton dancing and too many more to mention. Huge turnout from visitors and participators.

Then Sunday was the marathon, half and 10k with the marathon starting at 0900 hrs. Trouble was there were only 50 of us in the marathon (and then a couple dropped out), so loneliness was the name of the game. The ½ started at 1030 but I saw none of these and the 10k at 1130 just as I was at the half way mark but they soon sped off on another course so lap 2 was lonelier than lap one as I again saw hardly any one.

The 2 lap course is a toughie with 6 miles of climbing at the start of each lap then it’s flattish and downhill for the last 7 as it follows the Wye back to Hereford and crossing it at the end of each lap.

Wonderful scenery but oh so lonely that any normal person would have quit after lap 1 (as those 2 did). But maybe I’m not normal. So it was mind over matter mile after mile with just marshals as friends on the course so thanks to all of you.

What got me round was running on memory and thinking that just maybe I’d catch up some full or half stragglers but no such thing happened.

Finally the 24 mile marker when again we crossed over a huge Wye bridge with stunning views with just swans and geese to greet me. Thanks you lot!

Then the 26 mile mark and the tented area beckoned and one of the marshals ran in with me for comfort. “You are the only runner I’ve been with (except a few 10k runners) or seen since 0900 hrs this morning” I joked.

So to rapturous applause from Robina, a few 100 Club colleagues and the waiting crowd I finished alone but not quite last!

Robina had a great time in Hereford as I told her I’d finish in 5hrs 30mins so she went to the Matins Service in the Cathedral which was nearby. We had both been there on Saturday and it’s probably the most stunning building I’ve ever been in-and with the organist playing it was just awe inspiring. I may just run round its grounds next year for 5 + hrs. Be more people around anyway! So in 2016 let’s do what we all threatened to do and make it a diary date w/e. We stayed at the Premiere Inn 4 mins drive from the start in the park and we will do the same next year.

The best news was that at the prize giving I won the trophy for 1st in my age category – to add to my 2nd place trophy last year. So see what you all missed out on? Many of you would have won awards/trophies as in all events (in addition to the 1st 3 places) there are 3 age category trophies (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in all age categories. More prizes than in any event anywhere I reckon.

Finally the Massey/Pembs Harriers Cup that I bought for the contest was won by Masseys as we had more entrants in the 2 days that PH did. One – and that was me. Score Masseys 1: Pembs H. 0.

I’ll see all Pembs H runners next w/e at the Pembrokeshire half marathon at Dale. Any Massey people coming down for a real toughie but with sensational views along the Pembrokeshire Coastal lanes?

Massey time in Hereford marathon:
Dave Phillips 5 hrs 26 mins.

Race report by Dave Phillips