Bideford – A Swift Half!!!

Piece of cake!!! Not the race that?s for sure, but that was what Ian was asking everyone as soon as they finished! Ian?s Mum had been busy on Saturday and made a few cakes! We had actually enough to supply every single finisher with a piece! Apple, banana and walnut, fruit and a lemon sponge!

Anyway, a very early start for 17 Harriers who had opted for the MBH club minibus, 6.30am and we were off!

Minibuses restricted to 60mph made going very painful and I think the drivers, Ian and Yvonne, were probably grateful to everyone for being on time (apart from Mark) who decided to have a quick snooze before arrival.

A cold, dry and icy morning (but not half as cold as last year) meant loads of tea and coffee at the start a blessing as it gave the MBH minibus crew a chance to meet up with Jacqui W, Kyle K, Rich S, Ian R and Eileen M who had made their own way up, them along with the other 1060 who had also entered, we were in for a good day. Race prep was a little disappointing for me, and probably a lesson to be learned here, typical school boy error! Needing a sit down, if you know what I mean, I thought I’d go inside to the ‘posh’ loos instead of the row of green turdi parked outside, but with only 5 minutes to go before the race start THERE WAS NO LOO ROLL!! Note to self, bring own loo roll to next race (that’s one for Tony’s Trials on Marathon Talk!) This was going to be a long 13.1 miles!

Some were here to do their very first half, some aiming for a PB, some to gauge how their marathon training was progressing and some to prove they could run that far (after only taking up running at the tender age of 62).

The start was a strange affair as the person on the microphone was still counting down, and was at 15 when we all started running!!??? What happened there?! Great to see Di and Sharon at the start, that perfume and make up?! But that?s another story.

For me, personally I decided to use the course function on my Garmin to try and beat last years PB time, so right from the start it was a fast pace, the first mile in 6.24, all the way my watch was telling me I was behind and try as I could I could not get the damn thing to show otherwise. There seemed to be a slight headwind but nothing to really worry about.

I could see Andrew and Richard for about the first 4 miles but after that I seemed to be on my own ? with the exception coming into the last 3 miles when I caught sight of Doug from STARC whom I tried to chase down.?The tunnel was strange this year as I really felt quite ill and disorientated running through, I was not the only one who said this, may have been the light??Coming into the last mile, and a chance to see who was in front, Doug was right there for the taking, but could I catch him? Could I hell! He?d found his sprint finish legs and crossed the finish line at least 30 seconds in front of me (he runs bloody well for over 55!) I had actually died rather badly (probably running with clenched buttocks didn’t help! see explanation above) and missed out on a new PB by 10 seconds! 10 bloody seconds! But still, it?s bang on course for a sub 3.15 at London.

The race was actually won by GB triathlete Pete Freedman from Coventry in a great time of 1.08.06, over 3 minutes ahead of Cornish athlete (STARC) Dan Alsop (who actually raced yesterday in the cross country in Birmingham) in 1.11.53.

The female race was won by Shona McIntosh in 1.18.14 (wow!!)
Mark, since his sub 3 at London last year, has been really training hard to go faster this year and try for sub 2.45, and alongside his weird and wonderful diet all seems to be coming together and paying real dividends with todays 1.22.06 ? well done buddy, as this now pushes him up to fourh in the club standings! His training mileage this week, according to his plan, will top a ton! Mine on the other hand will struggle to reach 40!

Next back for the Harriers was Richard Savage in 1.22.40, who will be trying to secure his Good For Age place for London 2012 at this coming weekends Duchy Marathon ? no probs there I think Richard. Kyle was next back with a 1.23.08, a little jumpy as Holly was getting twinges as the birth of their first child is imminent. Andrew next in with a new PB, and well on track for London, in 1.24.07, me next in 1.27.04 and then Jeremy, who after a fortnight of cold and flu did exceptionally well to come in at 1.28.37, so that was 6 vets all in under 1.30!! we lost out on the vets first team by only a few points! Well done to the oldies! (sorry Kyle, forgot you’re only a youngster!)

Success for the day must be Karen McClay who claimed first prize in the female vet 40-44 in 1.35.30 but was busy eating cake in the minibus and so Yvonne had to pick up her prize for her.

There was a lot of fighting talk on our bus who was going to be the daddy between Richard B and Swiss and coming into the last mile you couldn?t have slipped a fag paper between them! Swiss threw his hat off (actually threw it at me) and looked like he meant business ? and he did! Beating Richard at the finish by 25 seconds, although both achieving a PB today. Well Done Swiss, that half IM training will be kicking in soon!

Next back was Carol Julian, who in her first half managed an amazing time of 1.50.14, Carol also nearly got abducted, as just before coming home decided she needed to wee before getting onto the bus – the curse of the Turdis struck, as while she was sitting there they decided to pack up and lift the green box onto the lorry!! Only frantic banging and screaming saved her, phew that could have been messy! Carol was closely followed by Kirstin McKie, (not in the turdis may I add!) who knocked an amazing 9 minutes off her IQ PB and crossed the line in 1.51.50. Yvonne T, our other driver, preparing for the Grizzly next weekend and in 5 weeks Paris finished 1.52.28.

Next in Ian Raggett, who whilst trying to train for London, has also just had the arrival of twins (some of you may know Donna his wife, who has a 3.05 London Marathon time to her name) so his training, god knows how, is on track with a 1.52.34 although he did go off too fast, clocking a 6.30 minute mile at mile three.

Jacqui Walls in next did herself proud with a great time of 1.53.29 ? that deserves a special write up in The Cornishman ? LOL!!!

Tammy, who has been struggling with a hip injury only wanted to get under 2 hours today, nowhere near her PB, but she played a blinder in crossing the line in 1.55.05. Similar for Rob Burrows, who has a severe calf injury and struggled today with a 2.02.43, 7 minutes off his PB. Sandwiched between the two was relatively new member Claire O?Rourke, who, in her first half ran fantastically to finish in under 2 hours and cross the line in 1.59.26.

Mrs M!!! How do you do it? Very little running, a foot injury and a new PB of 2.04.22?!?!?!? How?d you manage that one?

Gill Johns, our MBH 10K handicap 2010 winner, also in her first half, ran well to finish in 2.04.43 and as a point of interest (and bragging rights) this now puts her ahead of her other half Mike in the club’s half marathon rankings!! Whoo love to be in their front room tonight!

Now, onto the success story of the day. Eileen Milsom deserves a special mention. Eileen only took up road running just 6 months ago, came to the club, teamed up with running and walking coachs, (mainly Yvonne Watkins, so huge thanks to her) and she has finished her very first half marathon at the tender age of 62. Returning from a months holiday in South Africa, and having to do her final training runs through the ghettos of Cape Town in temperatures of over 90F I think deserves a massive pat on the back from everyone. Marathon next?!?!?

So back to the buses and as I say enough cake to feed an army! Don’t worry club, there’s some left for club night on Monday.
As I?ve said, for me it?s a bit of a marmite race, I love it but hate it at the same time ? a definite PB course (but not for me today ? did I say 10 bloody seconds)

A great technical T to show for our efforts, and as usual, your time texted to you minutes after you have finished ? top race, top organisation and a definite return next year ? thank you Bideford.

Um next week – The Grizzly for some, Duchy Marathon and 20 for others, can’t wait with London only 6 weeks away!! Come on The Bay (we ARE the Marathon specialists!)

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