Not too early a start to the day and a fairly relaxed breakfast followed by a slightly less relaxed dash down to a nearby petrol station to buy a few drinks. Then some packing and it was off to the track for the race.
We were meant to be there by 10:30 but us being us we left about 9:45 for the twenty minute drive, which went fine until we were about 6 miles from the circuit which is where we joined the queue to park. Eventually we parked just before 11 and started the long walk to the start, but not before stopping off at the circuit hotel to meet our cheerleaders for the race!
This was a very long walk – at least it felt it, especially when later we realised that we’d have to walk back that way too. The anticipation for the race itself growing all the time, helped along by a bit of photography on the way. The whole thing was really well organised. Fast runners sent one way (for psychological assessment presumably) and us normal people sent towards the start. Fortunately we didn’t have to suffer the indignity of a public mass warmup, led by the likes of the now elderly Mr Motivator. Or something. We did however have a predictable selection of inspirational tunes – Don’t Stop Me Now and errmmm…Barbie Girl. Right………
Actually to be fair the atmosphere and the build up to the race was great. Apparently there was a klaxon to start the race but frankly I knew nothing of that and just slowly made my way up to the start as everyone else moved forward. We crossed the start line just under 5 minutes after the actual start of the race.
Looking back now it’s difficult to pick out clear memories of the race. I’m going to look some time at a copy of the course map and see if more comes to mind. One of my early reactions was awe at the sheer number of people all around. Also surprise at the number of runners who were clearly in huge difficulty at a very early stage in the race. As planned, Jean and I ran together for the first twenty minutes and then I forward to set my own pace.
One of my challenges therefore was to clear the massed numbers of (and I have to be frank here) slower runners. There was a huge cluster of them following a pacemaker who was getting a bunch in for just under two and a half hours, and because of the volume they weren’t all that easy to clear. Later on, I reached the 2h 15m pace group and they were even harder to clear but in the end I got past. Actually through the whole race I spent most of my time overtaking people, which was very encouraging, even if it meant I ended up running a good few hundred metres longer than the regulation distance.
I’ll post more about the race another time when I’ve seen some of the pics and reminded myself of the course but for now I’ll just say I was delighted with my time of 2:09:23 and enjoyed the day hugely.
We enjoyed a hot cuppa with our family after the race, although I felt sitting down was bad for my legs. Actually as I’m sitting here now writing this my knees are still throbbing but that’s just about the only negative effect so far, so I’m happy with that.
Think we might just be back next year!