The BIG Day.
by, 19-09-11 at 15:52 (733 Views)
I got up at 05:45 and threw on my running kit that I'd laid on the spare bed the night before.
My new Easingwold Running Club running top, complete with my race number
my trusty Ron Hill shorts (they don't rub unlike my the other two makes I own!), Hilly twin skin socks (no blisters since I bought them) and PT-1000 running shoes.
Over the top I stuck on an old fleece and pair of tracksuit bottoms to leave behind at the start line....
Breakfast was some banana and peanut butter sandwiches swilled down by some water, with an energy drink and another banana to take to the start area with me. Then came the 86mile trip to drop me off near the start, which was suprisingly free of traffic.
Lisa dropped me at the far side of Town Moor and headed off to South Shields to park up and wait.
I wandered off over the moor with roughly 3 hours to go before the start. I think Lisa finally got the car parked up just before we started...
The MC at the start line was grabbing people for interviews and there were plenty of major sob stories (people running in memory of their wives, husbands, children - whole families in one case - lost to cancer, car crashes or other major downer) interspersed with rather loud music over the PA systems to pass the time. Somehow spirits remained high, if a tad emotional, especially when Red 4's widow Dr Emma Egging arrived to start and then run the race.
The start area slowly filled with runners and kit of all shapes, sizes and colours. Around 10:00 the "mass warm-up" started, with roughly 540000 participants all in unison. It truly is a spectacle to behold. The elite chair athletes were first off, followed by the elite women, and after the traditional Red Arrows fly by the elite men led the not so elite off at 10:40. This was followed swiftly by a "mass piss off" where lots of blokes lined the central reservation just before the start line, having drunk too much water before the off.
Running Activity 13.16 mi | RunKeeper
I crossed the start line with just over 5 mins on the clock already, and was surprised to see me hit my 7:40 min/mile target pretty much straight away. The course was was proper packed with runners pretty much the whole way round. There was a just enough space to get into stride on the wider bits of the course and do some decent times on the downhill sections, but there are a few pinch points where it firstly narrows down from using both sides of the DC to one side, then hits the slip road and loses the extra width of the hard shoulder, and then goes from DC to SC, and finally on the last mile there's lots of central crosshatching which has bollards to avoid. In all those area you were literally running surrounded with hardly any way to get past slower runners. Also for similar reason I just couldnt keep the pace up the hills. Everyone slowed so much for the hills and closed up so space to pass people cleanly just disappeared.
I was holding 7:30 on the downhill and level, struggling to make 08:30 on the hills...
Which unfortunately meant I didn't make my "I wonder if..." target of 1:40 or less, but I did get a PB over the distance, AND beat Bonners in the process.
606th in the 35-39 age category, 3363rd Male, and 3683 overall with a time of 01:42:59.
Bupa Great Run Series Results
I'm a little disappointed I didn't make the 1:40, but I'm more than happy with that result out of 54000 (potential) starters on my first ever half marathon.
- Leaving the Tyne Bridge before the Red Arrows flew over it, but being able to look back and see them carry out the "missing man" manoeuvre, with all trailing white but Red 4 who trailed red and then peeled out of formation. Very poignant. (see below).
- Taking in the spectacle of the sights and sounds of it all.
- The sound of 54000 people's feet slapping onto tarmac.
- The steep downhill to the seafront at South Shields(I overtook shit loads there).
- Of course the massive welcome home all the way along the sea front and over the line.
Anyone up for next year?
And for those who doubt I did it:
23:46 to 23:49 ish on the LHS of the lane.