It was Sunday 12th August 2012 and the day of The Cross Bay Challenge had finally arrived. I had been looking forward to this run ever since I’d found out about it and realised that it was a feasible run to include around my work commitments. It was a moderately early start of getting up at 7 so that we could be out of the house and on the road about 9.
As the run didn’t start until 1.45pm I thought the best plan was to have a decent breakfast of scrambled eggs and Cumberland sausage followed by Weetabix so that I wasn’t eating a lot just before the run.
Once the whole family was packed in the car it was off to Hest Bank. The journey took around an hour and a half in total and we arrived at 10.30 where, upon parking, I was guided to a coach which would take me to the start line at Flookburgh. Having said my goodbyes to my wife and son and leaving them to their own devices for the next six hours I got on the first available coach which only had one seat at the back left. Unfortunately the seat at the back happened to be next to a very ignorant man who decided that not only did he want to stretch one leg out in front of his chair but he wanted to stretch the other leg out right in front of me which left me a little cramped for the next fifty minutes.
On arrival at Flookburgh it was a case of registering, getting some suntan lotion on and waiting around for an hour and 45 minutes until the run started. As usual there were a woeful lack of toilets which meant much queuing around (especially when you have to go as many times as I do before a run). Twenty minutes before the run we were ushered to the start line and given a little safety brief where we were informed that we would all definitely get wet.
At 1.45pm on the dot the horn was sounded and we were off. Immediately I was taken by how windy it was and I couldn’t help but look around at one point as it appeared that the sand went on forever and there was nothing either side. There isn’t a lot to report for the first 6 miles other than running over the sand but once I hit the 6 mile marker I saw that everyone had entered the water ahead and a lot of them were up to their waist. It was hard to gauge how to take it really as some appeared to be running as long as they could before they started wading whereas others immediately stopped running on entry and walked/waded along. I eventually opted for the running as long as I could then trying to power my way through, however, looking back this may have been a mistake. There were a few more of these heavy water areas to get through for the next 2 miles and by the 8 mile marker I was starting to tire a little. Not long after 8 miles something in my leg popped and it suddenly became a lot more awkward to run. I eventually diagnosed the problem as being with my quad and for the next few miles I had to work out a different running style to enable me to get to the end. I decided on using a little bit of a waddle run with my knees pointing outwards as that appeared to be the best way to relieve the pain I was experiencing.
Upon hitting 12 miles I could see people coming to the end at Hest Bank but I knew that I was a bit away yet which was a little demoralising. Although I was in pain I just wanted to finish so I found a little extra to power through to the 13 mile marker and once I was there and the finish line was in sight I could see my wife and son which gave me a little bit more of a buzz to power on to the end (even more so when I heard my son shouting Daddy when he recognised me on the way past).
The video of me coming to the finishing line and confusing my son can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UdVTSVq5UE&feature=youtu.be
My finishing time wasn’t bad considering and was a personal best for a half marathon
Bib 131 Steven Claringbold Gun Time 02:34:12.70 Chip Time 02:33:46.60 Position 441
Once at the end and I’d returned my safety wristband I was given a rather lovely medal and it was back to the car so I could get to work and do a nightshift.
On reflection I would say that this run, for me, will be a once and once only endeavour. I was pretty happy with the time I posted and the run over the sand was a nice run but the wading through water was pretty gruelling on the legs. I’m glad I did it as it’s one I can tick off the want to do pile but for now it’s back to the roads where I belong.
Next up is the Warrington Half Marathon on September 9th.