A LONG TIME AGO IN A CITY FAR FAR AWAY (From Coventry)
duh duh duh DUN DA DUN, DUN DA DUN (John William Theme music, text scrolling up the screen.)
A NEW HOPE
It is a holiday period. The Connolly’s car had been driven to a hotel in Durham, from where they have already run a previous event in February with Saturn Running.
During the winter months, Daniel had spied that on Star Wars day / weekend Saturn Running planned to release the ultimate races, a double of 7 hour timed events, armed with more amazing medals with a Star Wars theme. Pursued by Mary’s lust for marathons and bling, Princess Daniel raced to book up the races on his mobile phone so he could save the lack of a great Christmas present….
Whilst any normal wife would be delighted with two marathon opportunities – THE DARK SIDE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE LIGHT SIDE – Mary commented what about the first film in the trilogy. So it was that my Christmas present to Mary mushroomed into three races and a long journey and hotel stay! Thank goodness Saturn Running events are such good value.
Thankfully the hotel stay was uneventful: no fire alarm this time. Mind you due to late packing because of work I did have to buy some kit semi-essentials on the drive up.
The pre race meal was a spectacular fail! In 2019 it shouldn’t be beyond the scope of a restaurant to know what food is vegetarian on their menu. And maybe, as it is not such an outlandish dietary request, maybe even a choice of things on the menu. Luckily or probably unluckily I could eat a rather spicy pasta and tomato sauce. I have sweated less in races!
With a Junior parkrun on part of the course the race started at 9:30 so we had plenty of time for our porridge pots and to get ready and down to the registration area in the Durham Amateur Boat Club (each college has its own club house!).
This was Saturn Running’s biggest ever field of runners so getting down at 8:45 there was a crowd in the bar chatting excitedly – With these timed events some people will run one 3.28 mile lap and finish some will keep going for the whole time.
Having done a few timed events in the last year, we know that they are popular with Wannabes on the 100 marathon circuit as they have very friendly cut off times and superbly well stocked aid stations – my personal favourite being watermelon. Mary on the other hand loves blueberries and cheese! As we planned to run a marathon we would have 8 visits so could try a range of other delectable treats or stick with our trusted favourites.
Being here in University holiday time ment there was a lack of college boat crews to critique as they splashed up and down the river. However it did mean less coaches hurtling about on bikes.
Having run the route before and making an animated gif we knew the route well… it hadn’t changed. ‘The Hill’ was still beastly but it did give me a chance to walk as many other runners did. This time the wind was really strong but never a tail wind!
Starting off far too fast and into the wind soon meant I had left Mary behind. After the last race her when she had a strop at me due to the wind, maybe my extra speed was planned? It did mean that as we ran we were on opposite sides of the river 30m apart but 2km gap of running.
As the laps passed runners slowly rung out (rung the bell to finish). Unfortunately some speedy ultra runners kept on lapping me. I would like to hate them but as well as making running look easy they were very friendly each time they passed me – which was quite often.
After collecting my 8th hairband – (no my hair hasn’t stopped receding and I haven’t grown a comb over… it is the Saturn way of counting laps) – I rung the bell and waited for Mary to finish, complaining about my chafing inner thighs to the medics but said it wasn’t bothering me now I wasn’t running.
After collecting the lovely Star Wars themed medal and goodie bag we headed off into Durham to buy a Sandwich for dinner – we weren’t having another vegetarian disaster.
Back at the hotel, resupplied with pasta pots and a fruit cider for Mary I went to shower.
Even before I removed my running boxers Mary was wincing as it was like a scene from Carrie! Blood was dripping down my legs – my boxers had worn through from so many races that my inner thigh had shredded. The shrieks of pain could be heard for miles around as I showered crusted salt sweat into the wound! I really earn my Mr Bump moniker!
Even with 300 runners Saturn Running continues to impress me with great organization of races and support at a good price. I highly recommend them for training runs of variable distances all the way up to ultras. So good in fact I plan to book a marathon next Wednesday – I will have room in the car if anyone wants a lift… but bare in mind that my Jabba the Hutt stature means I will use most of the seven hours.