Once upon a time a peer of the realm (Personally I believe that based on the nature of the event he specialised and the opportunities to win medals at Olympic Games, he is this country’s greatest Olympian, although I would put Daley Thompson a very close 2nd!) once said after finishing a race, ‘If you see me in a boat again shoot me!’ I feel very much the same about running after today’s roasting in the Worcestershire Countryside.
I signed myself and Mary up for the marathon after seeing everyone’s fabulous London pictures… I got Marathon Envy. Despite Rock ‘n’ Roll – Liverpool being 7 days later my finger slipped on the computer and we were in!
The red and white hazard warning vests, worn by Massey runners make us easy to spot in races and at the start. And so it was that we had the customary group photograph. Dave Goodwin celebrating that after spotting Joanne and calling her over, for once we had a full set. As per usual this was not so as just before the start Martin was spotted along the hedgerow!
After good lucks had been exchanged we moved to our starting pen. Despite having a 6hr cut off to complete, the race details stipulated you had to be past mile 11 in 2:15… This meant that rather than the pre Liverpool pootle Mary and I would have to run 1:30 per mile quicker than we planned to make sure we would be able to complete.
I was well prepared for whatever this running adventure would throw my way by carrying an XL running pack. I was equipped to deal with any emergency – Trousers and waterproof jacket, sunglasses and hat, comprehensive first aid kit, fully charged phone, compass, emergency signalling whistle, Heat blanket, OS Map, (Unfortunately for Shropshire – but I am sure this could be useful if I needed to start a fire) gels for two, 1litre of water, 20 Zero tablets, Foam Shrimps and Banana (Two packs), Jelly Babies (LOADS). I did say it was a large pack (and heavy!).
Knowing the task in hand Mary and I went for it from the off… Our stratergy changing from one of a nice even pace to a positive split – i.e. get to the cut off in time.
The weather was kind to Mary whose Asthma is miles better in warmer weather. I on the other hand suffered and so did those around me. It wasn’t my moaning about the heat as I didn’t do that once during the race. It was from my sweating! Anyone who has seen the steam rise from my head after a Wednesday Night training session can testify to how easily I warm. Wearing a hat to protect my head, my head got hot and sweaty! So profuse was the sweat from my head that the hat became saturated, even the peak, so from mile two to twelve droplets of sweat rained down on people that were too close!
The marathon course uses the half marathon, but adds an additional loop on to make up the miles. It is a very rural route, with smells to match, so it is very peaceful and relatively car free thankfully as it didn’t seemed to be on closed roads. At times you needed to keep switching sides of the road you were running on to dodge cars and tight corners. It is also a fairly hilly course.
The initial pace in the heat did for me… Having had a few poor episodes at Ashby in the warm weather I realised I was starting to suffer, when I stop sweating it is never great. Rather than keep going and risk a medical tent at the end – or even part of the way round I took the sensible option of slowing and then walking. After Mary was reassured that I could and indeed would be sensible. Well there is always a first time (although reading back I am not sure if that is me being sensible or her believing me!) I persuaded her to keep going and go for a PB that was still on the cards.
The last 8 miles were painful! Sun, friction and dehydration (despite drinking at water stops) made a long run a long slog of a walk with occasional attempts at walking before my heart rate spiked!
Mary came to great me with 500m to go and we walked in together – having walked so much it seemed daft to put on a show for the camera. After getting some ice packs from the medics to start cooling myself, I then was presented with my medal and put on a list for a T-shirt! They had ran out of all sizes.
Today, was a tough one for me. Luckily I run with Massey Ferguson RC so the Red and white body colouring perfectly complements my running outfit. Although after hearing that Mary had got a marathon PB, on her 10th event, and was still faster than me over 26.2miles, I did turn a shade of green!
Despite having a rough event, just like our Olympic Hero I will change my mind, but I doubt that I will win gold.
Massey Facts and figures.
Simon Brown 01:28:23
Alan McDougall 01:37:55 PB
Leon Coppola 01:43:07
Richard Taylor 01:43:07
Martin Judge 01:48:24
DAVID GOODWIN 02:26:28
David Phillips 02:52:48
Joanne Stacey 04:15:39 PB
Mary Connolly 05:07:30 PB
Daniel Connolly 05:44:15