Nine down, eleven to go !
A special weekend …. loved it.
When I arranged this month I wasn’t too sure I could complete it if I’m honest. Three marathons in three weeks is something I knew could be done, friends have done three in as many days, sometimes more. But this was new territory for me, and with niggles and my struggles in Richmond I didn’t know what to expect from this one, maybe the lack of expectations helped ….. I had a blast.
Drove up the day before in horrendous bank holiday traffic and stayed within walking distance of the brilliant venue, Cyclopark. Walked down on Friday evening to take a look at the venue and collect my bib and elastic bands. This would be another looped course and for ease of keeping count bands are provided to wear on your wrist, dropping one off, or in my case pinging them at people after each lap, so you know how many you have left to run.
Up early the following morning to find that surprise, surprise the weather forecast was all over the place as usual. We were expecting sunshine and hot conditions, so I wasn’t too disappointed with the overcast skies and eventual rain that cooled us on our way.
I was excited as always to be meeting up with friends from BCRC on this one, the lovely Katy adorned in her equine fancy dress and of course my fellow three in three Natalie who along with Phil were so kindly putting up with me for the weekend.
The course was made up of one short loop, followed by nineteen larger loops of the Cyclopark in Gravesend, Kent. I’d struggled on a previous looped course with the repetitive nature and ensuing boredom ….. fortunately Roadrunner was different, much different.
There was a lot of support around the course here, with many families camped out on the side of the track cheering everyone on. The organisers and marshals were so encouraging and great fun with it. Seeing people so many times on each loop was great fun ….. I saw Natalie and Katy a few times, sometimes running along with them, sometimes pinging elastic bands at them ! And I appreciated the spectators cheering me on even though they had no idea who I was.
Occasionally people ask me why I run marathons ….. the following photo’s may help to explain …..
They can be fun …. a lot of fun, and …..
I run for my girl, I run because of my girl and I run because I don’t want to let go of my girl. This challenge means so much to me it’s difficult to explain, so I’ll leave it for another day.
Run we did, and fairly consistently too helped by the amazing support and knowing what was around the corner each time. Although the course turned out to be quite undulating, I coped with it fairly well and a few bleeps on the Garmin aside I finished fairly strongly in under four hours, and was quite pleased to receive quite possibly the biggest medal I’ve ever seen ….. oh and a lovely beer …. this is my pleased face !!
I managed to drag myself and my medal off for a quick massage, showered up and popped back down to the course to watch the ladies finish …. Natalie was too quick so I missed her, but it was good to see Katy finish in high spirits. Job done, we’ve all now signed up for the ‘sister’ event in September …. if you too would like a shield for any reason do join us, hopefully I’ve managed to adequately articulate what a brilliant event it is.
Learning points :
- Looped courses aren’t all bad
- The knee is holding out
- Don’t tie laces too tight, the feet don’t like it
- Free professional photos = good, Goody bag beer = spot on, post race massage = invaluable
- I’m tempted as much by the medal as by the course
- I said this was getting to be quite tough. I don’t know what happened this weekend, but I felt ok …. that makes me happy
- I like having elastic bands on runs …. sorry ladies !
- Kent is a great place to visit, I’m going back
I got chatting to a few people at this event who had read about what I’m hoping to achieve and noticed my t-shirt. Some very kind words have been said regarding what I’m doing and the kindness of everyone I’ve had the pleasure of being associated with and met during my runs is often overwhelming. The generosity of random strangers and words written on my fundraising site often leave me in bits ….. thanks a bunch ! But whilst I appreciate your comments and generosity, this year for me is always about Sharon, and very much reflective of the generosity, kindness, compassion and sheer strength and determination that she exhibited throughout her life. I hope to be able to carry that on …. she’ll always be here.
I’m easily led right now, and BCRC talked me in to running the Vitality London 10k race two days after this marathon. Natalie and Phil very kindly looked after me for the weekend, and they certainly made me feel very welcome, thank you both. Multiple Pecan Pies, Mojito’s, Nando’s, Crème de Menthe and driving at speed through lay-by’s will always remind me of you guys !!
I thought I’d treat it as a bit of a sightseeing run, but ended up getting a bit carried away and managed to give it a good old crack, finishing in under 45 minutes. Another great day with great friends to round off a lovely weekend. I do have things to be thankful for ….. so thank you BCRC and thank you whoever you are out there supporting me.