WOW, WOW, WOW. I’m still walking on ‘cloud 9’ and I think this is a bank holiday weekend that I’ll remember for years to come.
As those of you who have read my previous blogs already know, I only entered my very first race in April 2016 and yesterday marked my 11th race and 3rd half marathon. Happiness is running and yep, I was the happiest I’ve felt in a while and I’m also pretty amazed at what the human body can achieve when the mind believes! Last weekend, stupidly, I completely overtrained. On the odd occasion when I get relief from the severe spinal pain caused by the degenerated discs, I get all giddy and forget the damage that I end up doing. After 2 double runs and over 30 miles last weekend, I decided to run again on Monday and 5 miles in, my knee went! The old left leg (where I had the hamstring tear 2 months ago) struck again and I was in severe pain. I’m lucky that a year ago, I found a fantastic physio: Glyn at G4 Physio in South Manchester http://www.g4phsio.co.uk I’ve said it before, but Glyn and his team work miracles and knowing how much I wanted this, they worked so hard to help me this week. I’m going to write a whole blog on this later in the week, as I’ve learnt so much about biomechanics in the last few days! I was determined that the ‘golden gorilla’ medal was going to be mine, even if I had to crawl!
I’ve got to share some of the wonderful moments of the race day with you…
Personally, I think you can always tell how well an event is organised from the moment you park up! Parking was a dream, we were welcomed in by a jolly fellow in a bow-tie and from that moment on the day got better and better. We parked with great ease (I was paranoid to leave plenty of time today, as the last 2 half marathons I’ve done, I only just got to the starting line in time)! Luckily, we arrived in plenty of time, which certainly helped my stress levels and I went to collect my race number. The athletes’ village was buzzing and the atmosphere was incredible. I’ve never visited the British Ironworks and I was mesmerised by the sculptures! From the beginning, it was clear that the http://www.ukrunchat.co.uk team aimed to make everyone feel special. From the collection of race numbers (no queue), to the brass band playing at the start, right to the end when every runner was personally presented their medal by the Mayor of Oswestry. It was incredible and I would do it all again tomorrow!
This was the first time I had ever visited Oswestry and also the first time that UK Run Chat had organised a half marathon there. I hope that you are all super proud of the amazing job you did-it really was executed flawlessly. The hugely inspirational Amy Hughes did the big warm up and totally got everyone in the spirit before the start and then off we went!
I think I beamed all the way around the course (the first half mile was tough as it was over cross country and the same on the way back), but the rest of the course was so picturesque and mostly flat. What made it extra special was the animal sculptures that marked each mile point- so unique and beautiful! I was stunned at the support from such a small town. So many people lined the route and offered water and much-needed sugar. It really did keep me going. I slowed down at mile 10 to chat to a runner who was in a lot of pain with his hamstring and we ran for a half mile until he felt a little better. By mile 12, I was in a lot of agony and my legs had gone completely numb, but I literally shouted at myself for the last mile (I’m glad no-one was in ear-shot, as they might have thought I was actually mental)!
Anyway, long and short, I finished the race in 1.42 and was amazed to come 14th woman finisher and 5th in my age category. Quite shocked given that training this week was minimum and painful, but delighted to have been able to pick up the awesome ‘Golden Gorilla’ medal to add to my collection. I actually can’t stop looking at it.
Special thanks to Joe (Head of UK Run Chat) and Becks Richardson (Head of Breathe Unity PR) for inviting me to share another marvellous event! Huge thank you to all of the volunteers and marshals who allow these events to take place. For those of you who don’t know what it takes to make an event run so seamlessly have a little read here: The making of a marathon: Behind the scenes of the 2017 Manchester Marathon!
For anyone who is interested in running a half marathon in the area, I can’t recommend this enough. Whether you are running for fun or to race, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable course. Now looking forward to UK Run Chat and http://breatheunity.com next big event- The Shrewsbury Half Marathon on 18th June https://www.ukrunchat.co.uk/shrewsbury-half-marathon. Still a few places left if you fancy joining me on another fun run!
Have a lovely Bank Holiday Monday and people of Oswestry, I can’t wait to see you all again next year!