Saltash Half Marathon 2009

Graham and I should listen to the wise words of the legendary HFS – “Rest is a weapon” We can do it Graham, we only ran London last week, we’ve recovered, I said. Having also had a go at Penzance Wheelers 19 mile TT on Thursday, I was more knackered than I thought – and we went out on the p!££ Friday to say goodbye to Dave P!
Andrew was well up for the trip to Saltash when we spoke at the club on Monday, myself still a bit down not achieving a GFA place, bravado took over and I said I’d join him – trying to persuade anybody else proved fruitless, so it was just Andrew and me.
Saturday afternoon, a call from Graham, he was also going to run – so that was three, one more and we would have a team – gentle persuasion did no good, not even Mark or Jeremy, even a post on the forum didn’t generate any interest, so no takers!!!
Sunday morning, weather looked good and just tucking into a nice bowl of porridge, my phone goes. It’s Steph!! She had seen the post and wanted a lift – she is getting back into the race scene – excellent.
An un eventful trip to Saltash and we arrived at 9.10, registered and paid our £10 – quite a big field 194 runners – Steph is bouncing around with excitement about how her harribo sours will give her the power, Andrew is quietly confident and warms up, Graham drinks his usual bottle of coke and I’m quietly remembering about the last time I did this race – the immac incident (if you haven’t heard this story ask me, it’ll give you a chuckle) Sharon Daw turns up and we congratulate her on her 3.12 last week at London, fantastic time.
10am the gun (or hooter) goes and we start uphill through the middle of Saltash town, lots of twisting and turning through housing estates and we eventually end up on familiar territory, parts of the Mag 7 course!! It’s bloody hilly up there!
I could see Andrew in front, but he was steadily pulling away, Sharon gives me some good advice, telling me to just ease into the race and take it steady. With that I thought, I don’t feel that bad so off I went – 7 miles in and my legs are shattered, I lose the touch with the group I was running with as I couldn’t keep the pace, about 7.10. At mile 10 I could hear the majority of spectators shouting for Sharon, everybody seems to know her around those parts, Sharon passes me and gives me some encouragement to ‘hang in there’ (easier said than done)
Mile 11 and there’s that bloody great hill you’ve run down (you know the one on the Mag 7 with that nice couple in the bungalow who give out water, oranges and jelly babies) – now you’ve got to go up it!! I managed to pass a couple of runners who were obviously feeling like me and just caught site of Sharon bombing down to the finish – which is a brill finish as it comes down Saltash main street, traffic free and the crowd support is fantastic, I manage to finish in 1.34.54, 30 seconds slower than in 2007 but 2 places better than 2007 in 28th, Andrew is waiting looking fresh – he’d been finished a while – a fantastic time of 1.30.53 and 14th overall – brilliant time for that course, and definitely looking like going sub 1.30 at Plymouth in 3 weeks.
Andrew and I, thinking that Graham was going to be nearer 2 hours, slope off back to the car to get a jacket on and missed, what Graham says, was one of his greatest sprint finishes ever! Sorry Graham. He surprises us all finishing in 1.45.50.(78th)
1.50.37 (113th) and Steph comes bouncing down the finish in a new PB (beating her Bath half time by 30 seconds), fantastic! It’s so great to see her back racing.
All finishers received a medal and a can of Tribute Ale.
Wanting to zoom back, we (or probably me) decide not to stay for the presentation – here’s my big apology – ANDREW HICKSON 2nd MALE VET 40-44 – I’m so sorry!! Hopefully the nice people at Tamar Trotters will get the award to you somehow.

So all in all a good challenging course, It’s not a GP but I think as a club we should have entered more in this race as it would be a good chance to perhaps pick up a few team and individual prizes, it also gives you the chance to race against runners from the other side (of the Tamar) as a few venture over for this enjoyable half.

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