EMF Half Marathon: Sunday, 25th May 2014
With Real Madrid trailing one-nil and never look like scoring against Athletico Madrid, I turn off the TV and head to bed. It’s just gone 9:30pm on a Saturday night and I really know how to live the high life!
But after a solid six hours sleep I jump out of bed eager to get on with the day. I’ve done the Edinburgh half and full Marathon several times before, but today’s half-marathon feels special. Knowing so many of my fellow club members would be taking to the streets of Edinburgh has inspired me and I can’t remember the last time I’d looked forward to running a race.
After a light breakfast of toast, cereal and a glass of beetroot juice to wash it down, it was onto the open road for the relatively quick dash to Edinburgh. 120 miles may sound a fair way but it’s surprising how quickly you can make progress when the roads are quiet and you know where all the speed cameras are . A few hours later I’m parked up in Edinburgh and making my way to the race start.
The first TBH’er I meet is Steve Douthwaite, making a welcome return to racing after an injury lay-off, then bump into James Robson, soon followed by Cees van der Land. Jeez, I’ve only walked a few hundred metres and already met several members. After dropping my stuff off at the baggage van I’m greeted by Adam Wood – who also made an early morning departure from Newcastle – along with Louise Kelly and Aoife Power. What a perfect opportunity for the 1st photo of the day.
With 15 minutes to go before the start of the race, it was time for the all-important trip to the toilet. But having walked past the port-a-loos on the way to the baggage area, and almost gagging on the stench emanating from them, I was pondering whether to follow Mother Nature and just do what bears do. But then salvation appears in the form of a city council toilet block, and without wanting to sound precious, it’s almost like visiting The Ritz compared to a chemical toilet. Ah! Relief.
5 minutes to go, and the light drizzle that had begun earlier is now a full-on downpour. I’m standing next to Louise in our starting zone, absolutely drenched, and yet absolutely buzzing with anticipation. The countdown begins and then we were off.
No sooner had I crossed the start-line when I hear the shout of “Go on Tyne Bridge” from Michael Joyeux of Quakers RC (Thanks Michael). Believe me, this would be the first of MANY shouts of encouragement for the Tyne Bridge vest.
A further 100 metres down the road I pull up alongside a lad and lass obviously running the race as a couple. As the guy steps into a puddle and splashes the lass I hear her cry out “my new trainers are getting dirty”. I’m sorry love but if you want to keep your trainers clean and dry put them in a display cabinet, not on your feet during a half marathon.
The first mile goes by in a jiffy and we’re soon running under the imposing sight of Arthur’s Seat. Well, it’s normally imposing, but on this particular day the heavy rain and low-lying cloud mean you can’t actually see the top of the hill. What I can see however, is Cees, Jon Moss, James and Adam ahead in the distance. Ping! Targets acquired and locked on haha!!
I can’t remember when exactly, but at some point the rain eases and is replaced by a brisk headwind as we run along Portobello promenade (miles 4 -6). I’d managed to pass Jon, James and Adam by this point but Cees was long gone. The route then takes us past Musselburgh race-course (Mile 9) and onto a long, straight road adjacent to the race track. Prior to the race, Adam told me that TBH’s very own cheer leading squad of Sinead Coffey, Lindsay Walsh and Sara Sedgley would be out on the course and boy oh boy did I hear them. Cries of “Come on DD” and “Come on Tyne Bridge” reverberated along the road and it was music to my ears as I enter the final stages of the race.
As already mentioned on FB and alike, massive thanks to the three lasses for their support and to everyone else who stood on the side lines cheering the troops. It really does make all the difference knowing you’ve got the support of others behind you.
Anyway, back to the race, and after a slight climb between mile 10 and 11, the route reaches the point where runners do a ‘u-turn’ and run back towards Musselburgh. This provides an opportunity to see runners on the other side of the road and I notice Jon is only a few hundred metres behind me, with James and Adam in his wake. Into the final mile and I hi-five Sophie Wardrobe as we pass each other. Trying to spot Tyne Bridge vests proved to be difficult, as the throng of runners going the other way was is huge, but I manage to catch glimpse of a few, along with several Wallsend, Heaton and Elswick runners.
One final cheer from the fabulous TBH cheer leaders set’s me up perfectly for the long sprint home across the finishing line. 1h 23m 24s. Not my quickest HM time but I’m happy nevertheless.
Sometimes races are all about the occasion and this one had been a belter
I could go on (and on and on) about watching the marathon event but I think I’ll finish my report here and let someone else take up that particular tale. But what I will say is, well done everyone who took part in the 10k/half/full marathon and what an honour to be part of the club that day, and to see so many members support each other during all the events.
And to round off a fabulous day I found out on my return home that Real had actually scored four times whilst I was asleep
(thanks to Louise, Sinead and Sara for the photographs)