A hardy bunch of DH Runners headed towards Fleetwood for the Fleetwood Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd August. We’ve not been very lucky with weather in Blackpool and the surrounding regions over the past few years so why we signed up to another race in the area is beyond me. Gluttons for punishment is all I can come up with as an answer.
The race started at 10 am so it was an early start for me and the boy as we were both up at 5am and trying not to wake up the ladies of the Claringbold household in the process. Mission failed.
Once we’d caught up with everyone at the meeting spots for the bus we were on the motorway fairly sharpish and in Fleetwood by 9am. The boy was in for a day by the seaside riding donkeys and then a trip to Primark. I think he was more interested in donkeys than Primark though. It turned out later that he’d also been on a double-decker bus so his day was more than a success.
The osteopath had told me the week previously not to race but just to have a run out due to the issue with my back and hips. So my overall goal was to take it steady. I’d had a couple of long runs leading up to this so I was fairly confident that I’d finish with no issues.
With the start due there was a slight issue where the organisers couldn’t find the start line. This seemed something akin to a classic sitcom where the runners were ushered one way then another before the start line was located.
Once we were off I’d caught on to the tails of the elite DH Runners and hung around there or thereabouts for the first mile before dropping off to run my own race.
My intention was to hit 8 miles just over an hour. That would leave me with some leeway to have a bash at getting a PB. The course was relatively flat and, although being told not to race, I felt fairly comfortable and trouble free.
The first three miles was essentially just running next to rows of houses before turning off on to the seafront for about a mile then a stretch down past the main road into, and of, Fleetwood before turning back and doing another loop of the seafront and main road and then a right turn to take the runners back to where we started…and, coincidentally, the finish.
It hit me at around three miles that it was boiling. The sun was belting down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky at this point. It was a warm one that’s for sure. The first loop wasn’t too bad time-wise as I hit seven miles at 54 minutes. Hitting the seafront again though was a bit of a drain as was the stretch from miles eight to ten.
I ended up at mile eleven dead on 1 hour 30 minutes and did the calculations in my head of having to hit at least two 7 minute 30 seconds miles if I wanted to get a PB and have a possibility of getting under 1 hr 45 mins.
No sooner had I hit mile eleven that the wheels came off spectacularly. Battling into the wind and potentially slightly dehydrated all bets were off.
The mile between 11 and 12 seemed to go on forever. Getting to 12 miles and the end was in sight. At this point you could hear the commentator on his microphone which gave fresh impetus to push on to the end. It wasn’t long before you could see the finish line but the bad news was that you had to run away from it before turning on to the seafront and running back towards the finish line.
On the final turn to the seafront I started my sprint. There was still a fair way to go but I was aiming for at least a sub 1:50:00 at this point and to pick off some of the people who’d passed me in the last minute or so.
1:49:44 in position 164 of 527 finishers.
I was happy with that overall.
We stayed to watch everyone else back and the presentations. Anni was 1st female finisher and Lindsay was 1st in his age category so both received prizes to much sedate applause from their fellow DH Runners (for sedate read raucous).
Getting back on the bus though my head started pounded and I started sweating a lot. There was every possibility that I may have thrown up. Luckily it was just a twenty minute ride to Harry Ramsden where we were grabbing a bite to eat. I thought I’d had enough to drink post-race but there was every possibility that I was a bit dehydrated. Fish and chips and coffee soon sorted that out mind.
It was good to see the boy again. He’d had a really good day with the ladies and was spoilt rotten although he wasn’t too sure he enjoyed Primark mind.
Once we’d got our Harry Ramsden fix there was only a small matter of getting the bus to come back and pick us up. Sadly, Andy had forgotten his phone on the bus with the driver’s phone number on so the next hour was spent trying to get through to one of our phones on the bus in the hope the driver would pick up or the bus companies out of hours number.
The wind picked up and the Heaven’s opened to give us another true four seasons in one day experience of Blackpool. Sun, Wind, Rain…typical Blackpool.
The bus driver was finally contacted and we were soon on the bus on the way back home. The next issue we had to face was total gridlock due to sheep being on the carriageway. 45 minutes trawling through traffic and we were finally on the motorway on the way home. The day caught up with the boy who fell fast asleep.
It was a bit of a half and half day for the team. Some had gotten PB’s and won prizes and some were just glad to have finished.
Once home we finally got both kids to bed by 10pm (the girl is teething at the moment) and I fell asleep on the couch. That was where I stayed until I woke at 3am and made my way to the bed where I stayed until 9:30am. It was safe to say that the exertions of the day had taken it out of me somewhat.
Never mind, another one notched off and a nice medal to boot. With only two competitive half marathons (English Half Marathon in Warrington in September and Great Cumbrian Run in October) being the distance of choice leading up to Dublin Marathon my schedule is suddenly looking a lot clearer. August had been a busy month all in all starting with two Triathlon’s and finishing with a half marathon. Coincidentally it’s the first time I’ve ran a first competitive half marathon since Blackpool Half in February.
Thanks go again to Fylde Coast Runners organisers of the Fleetwood Half Marathon for making the DH Runners more than welcome. Also thanks must go to the support team who were very vocal in their support for our team of runners as well as supporting others on the final stretch to the finish.
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DREAM, BELIEVE, TRAIN, ACHIEVE