Blackpool – 25th Great North West Half Marathon (Did anyone order Wind?)

Ah Blackpool,
How I had missed you.
Like a hole in the head.

It was a week after the sunny half marathon in Barcelona and I was en route to Blackpool. The Blackpool half marathon was becoming an annual trip out. This one was a bit of a road trip though as runners from both DH Runners and Carlisle Sheepmount Runners were in a mini bus en route to the Vegas of the North.
The weather on the way down was a little ominous. The rain was battering down and the wind was blowing heavy. The weather eased up a little and I became the bus jinx when I proclaimed that “the weather looks like it is getting better.” This rang out to a chorus of boos on the bus and we were only another ten minutes down the road when the heavens opened up again. I wished I’d kept my mouth shut.

The wind sucks...this film explains all.
The wind sucks…this film explains all.

The race HQ was once again held in the Hilton and, being seasoned pros, we knew exactly which floor to head to so that we could find a relatively empty toilet that wasn’t full of runners. Once changed we had about fifteen minutes to get to the start line and get warmed up. It was absolutely freezing as the wind blew in on the promenade but I knew that once I got moving I would warm up a bit. Unfortunately the guy who was speaking at the start of the race decided to have a ten minute monologue before getting us underway.

Me at the start line. You can see that I'm just by the 1:28 pacer. I appear to have gotten myself in the wrong area.
Me at the start line. All smiles here, that would soon change…

The first three miles were ok as the wind was blowing behind me which propelled me forward. But as soon as I turned the corner the 30 mph winds hit me. This next bit was a four mile slog before we turned again and did another lap of the course. It was hard work in the wind but upon turning the corner it was easy again and once again I was propelled forward. But knowing what was coming up was demoralising. The winds bashing against my legs again, upon turning the corner and being out in the open for the second time, was slowing me down. I was starting to feel a little sluggish and it was getting hard to catch my breath. I was determined to keep plugging away though and it was only at mile twelve that I felt I really needed to stop and take a minute to breathe. I walked for the next three minutes and then, once I could breathe again, I set off running for the final push to the end.

Yet again I managed to find enough energy to sprint finish the last half a mile and crossed the finish line just over 2 hours. I was kicking myself a little as if I hadn’t have stopped for so long I would’ve easily finished sub 2 hours but, in these conditions, finishing was the main thing and I still felt a little leggy after a hard run in Barcelona the week before.

My gun time was 02:00:39 and my chip time was 02:00:09.Which placed me at 802 out of 1378 finisher.

The medal looked a little cheap though which was disappointing.

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I sat on a rock and tried to get my breath back. I’d been coming to Blackpool to run for 3 years now and I’d only ever enjoyed one of them, my first run there. There has to come a point where you think well this just isn’t worth it…
I caught most of the lads getting changed in the Hilton.

“How’d you get on?” Kev asked.
“That run can get to f##k.” Was my reply.

Everyone had said that they hadn’t enjoyed it. I’d made my decision there and then that I was never coming back to Blackpool in February to run again. We caught up with some of the ladies that had been running and most of us looked a bit shell-shocked.
It was mostly all forgotten about though as, half an hour later, we were tucking into a Harry Ramsden meal and looking on in awe as Andrew and Wes attempted the Harry’s Man Vs Fish Challenge. This consisted of:

350g Giant Fish (Cod or Haddock)
200g Portion of Chips
Choice of Two large sides
Bread and Butter

It all had to be eaten under 30 minutes and the lads did well to polish it off well under the allotted time. They both received t-shirts as a memento of their successful attempts.

So it’s safe to say that Blackpool is off the cards for next February. Maybe I’ll be able to tempt them all to come with me to Barcelona next year. Fingers Crossed.

I had a head torch race to contend with a week later. It was starting to seem like I was mugging my body off a little…

Dream, Believe, Train, Achieve.

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