It didn’t seem 5 minutes since I closed my eyes when the alarm clock went off at 5am – Sue was not impressed! but up I jumped, out the bed (I wish I could be so flighty on work days) and carried on into the bathrom to shower-wrong!! too early, the immersion had not heated up the water yet – never mind, I’d had a shower last night before I had de fluffed my legs with the ‘imac for men’ (no comments please) so I’m not too stale this morning.
3 Mounts Bay Harriers had blagged places to this years big Plymouth race, the Half Marathon – Yvonne, who had got a place from someone not known only 2 days before – only able to race as the Tehidy Dirty Duathlon was cancelled due to not enough interest, myself, who bought Liz Easterbrooks place after she unfortunately broke her ankle (whilst on a coaching course! Viv says it was nothing to do with him) and Ronnie J (running in a CAC vest) who was given an elite place at The Great West Run a couple of weeks ago.
5.45 and Yvonne bounces up to my front door – full of life as always, and off we headed to pick up Ronnie – 10 minutes early, Yvonne walks in on Ronnie having his breakfast and hurries him along – 80 minutes later and we’re in Plymouth – nothing like being early – it’s a 10am start, still Ron has to pick up his chip etc and Yvonne change the race number details. Ron, who was rushed out of his house forgot his flask and sandwiches!! Us over 40s tend to do that sort of thing!
With Elton John playing at Argyles ground and Travis at the Pavillions last night parking may be difficult??!! I THINK NOT!!!!!!
Where shall we park? The Theatre Royal was recommended in the race details – WHAT A RIP OFF! only £12.50 for over 4 hours (£3 for under) – it was now 9am so we’d have to run, recover, reclame baggage and everything pretty quick to avoid being clamped – I refuse to pay that much for parking!
Nothing like being first there! 4000 people entered and we are the only idiots on Plymouth Hoe apart from the army cadets!! weather is nice tho’ – sunny, a bit breezy, but no rain as forecast – up to the registration tent – only just opened, so no probs there, and miles of randomly placed turdis’s, Yvonne and Ronnie make good use – now, some might find this funny, but imagine it from the victims point of view – the reason why the portaloos were randomly placed was because they had just been dropped and were not set up yet……………….you know what’s coming………..from the back of this hire lorry jumps 5 or 6 burly tattoed workman, gloved up to the elbows, who proceed to man handle the said loos into place – OH MY GOD!! Ronnie and Yvonne are in there! never mind I just stood by and watched, it was like a game of find the jack, would they start bouncing the turdis into position before Yvonne and Ronnie emerged????? I’m not saying anything.
The race is well organised, with the start line sectioned off into predicted finishing times, and accompanied by pacers – 1.15, 1.30, 1.45 etc I’d heard conflicting views of this course, some have said ‘hard and hilly’ depending on the weather and some had said a nice course, ‘good for a PB’ – I reckoned today was the day to go sub 1.30 – so in I went, lined up with the pacer with a 1.30 flag sticking out the top of his head, Yvonne said she was looking for somewhere around 1.45 and Ronnie was looking to beat his time at Exeter (1.14!!) so up the front he went with team mates Danny Simons, Dave Buzza and Matt Lewis
10am, cameras rolling, big screen showing all the runners, thousands of cheering spectators and off we went, all 4000 of us – it took me around 30 secs to cross the start line, and as my chip reacted to the mat I started my watch and bugger me the bloody pacer had dissappeared already – that’s faster than 1.30 pace!
Down the hill onto the seafront, we go past the back of the Pavillions and into the first mile and out onto the course, now tell me how the hell can a orange haired, 20 stone woman (I use that word loosely) with more tattoos that the whole of Devonports dockyards workers be in front!!! (they never eat very much you know, it’s apparently a thyroid problem) GET OUT OF MY WAY!! I’m going for a PB here! by the time she fiddled with her MP3 player, held up the whole race because of her massive ass blocking everyone, I must have lost 2 minutes trying to get past her, I thought twice about elbowing my way through, as she looked like she could have decked me very easily (and half of the Plymouth marines)
Into the race and I must say I quite enjoyed it, scenic in places, even where you ran up through the park, loads of cheering spectators, helped by the fact that there were hundreds of Plymouth HARRIERS, who were cheered on all the time by ‘come on you Harrier’ and me thinking, my, these Plymouth folk are friendly, Mounts Bay HARRIERS are getting well known – stupid me – water stations were well placed, sponges, and excellent marshalling – closed roads – and the weather was holding out.
At mile 8, I managed to tuck right in behind Lisa Picton (local top female triathlete) if anyone could pull me…………under 1.30 then it would be her – I had forgotten she had raced the MMD last weekend – mile 11 and I had 14 minutes to achieve my goal – Lisa was fading, obviousy feeling the effects of last weeks triathon, I had to push on – coming into the starting area, I thought, hey I’m gonna do it – I know where I am, it’s just around the corner and I’m done – WRONG – the nasty buggers get you to run behind the finish, down to the end of the Hoe, up a climb, past the Pavillions again and come back onto the finish. As I rounded the last bend and onto the finishing straight I could see the clock ticking over 1.31 – shit! crossing the finish line, by my watch, it was1.30.33 – chip time to confirm the actual.
All finishers were given a nice customised medal, goody bag, containing T shirt, choccy bars, sweets, mints, nivea creams, body wash and then ushered through to an area serving all sorts of free cakes, pasties, sweet things, teas, coffees, and SIS recovery drinks!! TOP STUFF
I was met by Ronnie, who seemed quite pleased with his performance, it was a ‘training run’ for his Gold Coast marathon in a months time – he only got 10th place!! in a time of around 1.13 (I think Dave Buzza was 9th, a few seconds in front and Danny Simons, 6th?)
From the race ‘breakout’ finish area I saw Yvonne, battling up that last hill and shouted loudly, as always she was smiling, little did she know the bloody finish was still half a mile away!
Yvonne came through in about 1.48!!
A good day out – if the weather had been anything like it had been in Penzance I may have had a different view – I reckon this race could be a killer if conditions were not favourable – I recommend this race to everyone – it may at first seem a little expensive at £18, but you are looked after, closed roads, and excellent atmosphere – it fills 4000 places quite quickly, so watch out for it if you’re thinking of entering next year.
It was good to bump into a load of the Plymouth Tri Club guys – Matt, Julian, Ian and Penny, Pete Mac, Tony and others who I’ve forgotten their names already (sorry) Also bumped into Darren James, Mr & Mrs Squires, Mike Semmens from Hayle and prosective hopeful new member Wendy (who did a 1.28)
Ronnie went off to recieve a trophy and £75 gift voucher from race sponsors Brooks and we even managed to get back to the car before being clamped! Top result! except something was wrong with me ‘down below’
For those who read my exploits at my last half marathon (Saltash) with my dandruff problems – I can safely say I will not have the same problem for some considerable time…………..following my previous nights exploits with the imac on the top of the legs, and then not showering this morning – excessive sweating during the race had somehow found the ‘debris’ of ‘left on cream’ and some how worked it’s way up my running shorts – my god does it burn! I was on fire!! changing back into my pants and jeans back at the car was a worrying sight – Oh my god I’m moulting – do they call it a brazillian? my knackers look more like a boiled egg!! Things we do for our beloved sport.
Don’t forget Helston tri course cycle tomorrow at 10.30 and then club run at 7 – meet in the carpark