As you can see from the photo (kindly provided by PS: actually he provided 3 and I chose the least gormless one!) it was “running up that hill” time of year again for your editor. I did this last year and the wheels came off at about 7 miles – I’d done too many 10ks and from the nose down was expecting a nice sit-down by then, not another six miles! I recall thinking, “this is horrid, I’m not doing this again…”. Of course once I’d finished & got my hands on the enormous clanking medal they hand out, I was all “Bet I could do it faster next year!”.
So. Last year: 2:03. This year: 2:04.
But did I do it faster? WELL, given that I was DFL in the queue for the Ladies (if any of you bump into Sharon D or her mum, they next to me – but gave up waiting!). When I emerged, light of body & spirit, no-one was there. In fact, they’d changed the START gantry to say FINISH!
Luckily (having done it before) I knew roughly where people went, and there was a couple of ladies in the distance, so I just jogged along until I saw some marshalls.
“Where’s the start?” I said. They pointed me at the 1k sign. I had started, it seemed. I started my watch – 3/4 mile before the 1 mile mark!
The hill (the hill) still had some steep bits but didn’t seem as bad as last year: though this could be because I passed Mick’n’Phil going up the hill and frankly nothing seems bad after that! There is (later on) a nice steep downhill section where I recorded possibly the only sub-6 min pace quarter mile I’ll ever see in a race!
Caught up with the better half at Mile 5, with Shazza’s mum doing her first HM a bit after that, and also with young Jamil from the Oakley 20. Lest this sound like a mobile cocktail party I should point out that I finished 663/963 and therefore overtook 300 people (or 299 and one devil!) en route to the finish! The watch said 1h52 at the end, so I reckon my “real” time was a pleasing sub-2hours. And to top it all young Steve who runs my local running shop won it, even though he’s not actually young (same age as me or thereabouts), just looks it…
PS driving back, I heard a cry of distress and then a loud BLAT! from the passenger seat. Bad news – perhaps the other half shouldn’t have done the race… – good news – the goody bag was watertight! LOL.