Posted on: 07 Nov 2015
Exactly two weeks ago today I was lying on the bed in my B&B having just completed the Snowdon marathon. I was looking forward to an evening with a great bunch of people who had done the same thing or who had supported us doing it.
It was a position that I didn't think I would find myself in. Just three days previously it had looked unlikely , I was still getting significant pain from the back injury which was running down the back of my left leg. I'd run a mile on the Sunday before Snowdon and I'd sort of made a pact that if I was able to run a mile without stopping then I would be able to have a go at Snowdon. In retrospect, quite a bizarre assumption to make :I can run a mile so therefore I can run 26.2 miles over a pretty tough course. But I got the mile done in around ten minutes so the deal was made.
Driving over there on Friday provided its own set of challenges, sitting in the car locks my back and I get a sore left buttock! I stopped every half hour and stretched out for 5 minutes or so. Sat Nav then took me on a wild diversion on the smallest road which was barely more than an unadopted farm track, it twisted over a hill through a forest with not a house or farm in sight for miles. The pothole that I failed to see caused a blowout and without a spare wheel I had to get the AA out. A convoluted diversion saw me finally united with the Buzzers in Llanberis a couple of hours late. A beer was thrust into my hand and a bowl of pasta had been kept warm for me, kind and thoughtful and most welcome. So great to see everyone again and made the journey very worthwhile. In the company of these people anything feels possible, there is a feeling of strength in numbers and it was something that I drew upon often the following day.
Because I'm the last to blog much of the detail of race day has been filled in so I'm not going to go over the same ground. This marathon for me was one of firsts and for the first time I stood on the start line genuinely not knowing if I was capable of finishing. I looked around at the others as we linked hands in the pouring rain and there was that feeling of strength again. If they were doing it then I would feed off that energy and support and offer it back if I could.
I've said many times that you learn something from each marathon, this one was no exception . I've never run at the back before so it was a first for me to actually chat during a race, I enjoyed that and I talked to many people, some buzzers but others who I've never met before including a lady who was running marathon number 161 ! It became evident after a few miles that I would need to stretch out to avoid tightening up too much so that's what I did every couple of miles. The only time I spotted myself on the TV coverage I was lying on my back!
It was a great pleasure for me to spend so many miles running with Jim, Libby, Jane, Hollywood and Katie. Without them I don't know if I would have had the incentive to carry on but being with them there was a sense of invincibility and it made sense for me to be there and doing it.
I was getting the chills so needed to keep moving and sadly parted from Jim, Libby and Dave at about 15 or 16 miles. I got myself into a steady forward rhythm and warmed up a bit. At 18 I met Katie again which was perfect, I had company and I had a tough cookie to stick with. We devised a simple run walk strategy and set some loose targets to keep us focussed. The last 8 miles got done and it really was a privilege to finish the race with Katie after the year she's had and the incredible fight she's put into her running challenges. We crossed the line in 5.09, we beat our 5.10 target and won what we had dubbed our "race of one ". We were the only people in our race of one so finishing meant we had won!
I have so much more respect now for those runners who are out there longer in a marathon. My 3.17 marathon was tough but my 5.09 marathon felt as tough and I was so glad to finish . I was also glad to see Libby, HD and Jim come home a little later, for HD to run that final stretch of Llanberis High St was kind of the reason the weekend was so special.
It is special to have crossed paths with this group of people and to share a marathon experience cements a bond that will be long lasting. The evening we had just deepens that and I know that I've met a group of people that I can depend upon and trust, who are brave and committed , talented and a little crazy. It's weekends like a Snowdon weekend that provide those pinnacles in a year that we gaze back upon with a glow of pride and satisfaction from the relative comfort of the sofa or the boredom of a routine daily task.
Thanks to all of you that ran, that supported and ate and drank afterwards.
See you for more of the same somewhere sometime.
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