Race Report by Samantha Pointon
I had booked a cottage which said it was within easy reach of York so when the sat nav said it was 1 hour 15 mins away an early start before 6am was required. Good job as it took us 2 hours to get to the park and run, for which I had booked tickets for both Dave and I. As we drove onto the site there was signs saying no dogs!! And by now it was raining properly. Good start! As Dave and the dog couldn’t get out of the car I said my goodbyes and ran to the queue for the portaloo before boarding the bus. Meanwhile Dave and the dog were crossing their legs in the car.
Arriving at the race village at 8.50ish I put my bag in the baggage tent but as I was cold I kept my Massey hoodie, this was to prove a wise move later on. I wanted a coffee but there was only instant so I bought water and again queued for the loo. The queue was so long that at 9.18 me and other marathon runners had to push in. Heading now for the start I walked along the edge of the bridge over the lake as it was so busy and it was less than 5 minutes to the start! Dave had phoned to say that people were still getting on buses – I doubt they made it as the race started on time at 9.30, and I only just did so.
The start funnel was very long. I took off my hoodie and tied it around my waist, still cold, we started running and I watched my pace and began slowly like Mary told me to! We quickly arrived at the Minster and I gestured to a young woman holding a Starbucks cup. I was so cold I wished I could have taken it! We were soon out of the city and heading into the countryside and I settled into my set pace, apart from the pouring rain and cold I felt good. Finally at the point that I had spent the last 8 months training for.
All was well at 13.1 miles where I was pleasantly surprised to find a timing machine (don’t know the technical name for it) and my time was my second fastest half so I felt good as I headed towards the 14 mile point this was where the course went up and down hill on either side to the 19 mile point. All was well until 16 miles when the cold and distance first started to take their toll and I put my hoddie back on. The weather was atrocious and I had never been so wet. I felt envious of a marshal who was relieved by another and was able to go inside a building.
I began to walk. Intermittently. People on the other side were wearing foil blankets, or at least some were and they indicated that they were available at the bottom of the hill. The roads were swimming in water and you couldn’t avoid the puddles as they were either deep or too wide so my feet got wetter and wetter. I picked up my foil blanket and put it over my head in an attempt to dry my hair. I carried on up the hill and suddenly felt a sharp pain in my left foot as it twisted to the left. I lent on a cone and tried to feel inside my trainer. Someone shouted cramp and I said no my foot. I hobbled on for half a mile, phoned Dave to apologise as my time had by now gone to pot. After that I asked a marshal about treatment and they said there was first aid ahead. I saw the first aider, I asked if I should stop and they said it depended how bad it was and they would take a look. I protested saying I couldn’t get my sock off.
I sat in the ambulance feeling warm for the first time since being in the car at 8am but not wanting to get too comfortable. The man treated my feet which were bloody and sore and my huge draycote blister was back. At just over 20 miles I continued limping along running when I could. I had expressed my disappointment to the ambulance men. They were kind and said the conditions were so bad that many were unable to complete the race and that I would be no where near last. Some how the miles disappeared and I got close to the finish.
The support on the entire course was brilliant and there were numerous toilet and drinks stops. At about 24 miles a representative from the Asda foundation gave me a much needed small chocolate bar and with some water I was able to run the last 1.5 miles. A child who had high fived me said I was too quick to cuddle. I ran up the hill to begin my descent to the finish. I was so pleased to see Dave and then my right foot gave way too I crumpled with the pain but a lady who I had been with in part over the last few miles kindly took my hand and we both finished the race. I struggled to the baggage point and car which Dave had managed to park nearby. Fortunately I had brought some clothes so I changed my top and Dave helped me with my shoes and socks. I didn’t warm up until late evening and my foot injuries were not fully apparent until the next morning – but I did it I ran a marathon!