After calming down, Simon Pryde has sent in this race report from the Liverpool Half Marathon.
On Sunday, I did the Liverpool Half Marathon. With the Marathon des Sables just 3 weeks away I’d begun my taper, but fancied a race to keep things ticking over.
So off I trundled in the ageing Alfa now with dodgy brakes, and arrived at my mate The Snout’s place in Formby on Saturday evening…. his missus had concocted meatballs of the highest order, which were wolfed down as we all reminisced about living together in Sydney in 2001. I’d forgotten the incident involving Irish Brenda, and am still ashamed she fell asleep. Anyway, I digress, this is a race report. Fast forward, start line, next to Liver Building, 9AM the next morning. Chilly, but no rain and very little wind, good conditions. A man who looked like Gollum told me he was aiming to run 75 minutes and sidled off, cackling. And bang went the gun.
I didn’t really have a race plan, beyond, “run as fast as I can”. To be fair, that’s quite a complex race plan for me. I’d had a couple of weeks of heavy mileage, including nearly 50 miles with my MdS pack the previous weekend, so I presumed that would take its toll. But I also quite fancied a PB. There was a stiffish climb early on, followed by a slightly less stiff climb, both of which were negotiated cautiously by a moderately stiff me. I kept seeing Tyne Bridge vests except they weren’t, they belonged to the athletes of Penny Lane Striders, who share our design, and need to be told. Got into a rhythm as we went through Sefton Park, but wasn’t feeling too fresh, my legs were a little sluggish and heavy. A short, plump man in grey cruised by, and I realised I’d slowed a bit, so tucked in behind him and tried to up my game. Out of the Park we went, I snatched a bottle of water from a water station. A cry of dissent went up… it seems it was just a young scally hanging round a water station holding a bottle of water which was his, his alone, and not being offered to the passing wave of panting half-marathoners. His own fault. I kept grey-shirt it my sights, and again tried to accelerate a bit. A glance at the Garmin told me that whatever I was doing, it was not accelerating. Through half way, then through a subway that housed a uric whiff and obscene graffiti. Through a smaller park, and back we were beside the Mersey, with just 4 miles to go. I was pleased to find I was finally able to speed up a little, without malfunctioning too much. I even managed to time passing wind with the sounding of the hooter of a vessel on the nearby waterway.
Reeled in grey-shirt and a man running like Graham Norton walks (effective though), and, as the PA man cried, “”here comes another Penny Lane hero”, I burst down the finishing straight, heroically not quite catching the runner in front. I then ducked to have my medal put on me by an army cadet who’d rather have been indoors on an XBox, missed the gap and head-butted his midriff. My bag was where I’d left it on the baggage bus, its presence defying those prejudiced (not me) by traditionally held views of the good people of Merseyside.
Felt a little disappointed I hadn’t gone faster, but turned out it WAS a PB (1.28.50). Hurray! Also turned out I DID get robbed if you count a car park costing 7 quid as being robbed, which I do.