Congratulations to all those who took part in this weekend’s festival of running in Edinburgh.
A multitude of events were held over the two days, but for most of the members it was either the Half Marathon or Marathon race that held interest.
Fresh from his exertions at the marathon, Sean Kelly has posted this race report.
Third Time Lucky!
All week I have been checking the weather forecast for Edinburgh. In 2010 it was incredibly hot (25°) and in 2011 there were 25 mile an hour winds in the final 8 miles. I started thinking that 25 is an unlucky number as far as the Edinburgh Marathon goes. Maybe this year we would have 25 inches of rain…
Anyway, the (normally) reliable BBC Weather site stated for the past five days that it would be overcast and around 10º when the race began and it would get a little warmer by 1pm, but not much.
I stayed in Edinburgh on Friday and Saturday. Along with my partner Trish and my lad, Luke, we stayed in the Apex Hotel in the Green Market area. We had a fabulous view of the castle from our room…but also a less than fabulous view of the drinking and shouting in the street that went on ‘til 3.30am (if I’d have known that Rob Wishart was on a night out I would have moved to the back of the hotel sooner…). So, on Saturday night we stayed in a quieter room and I woke up READY TO BATTLE! I have failed twice to break the magic (number) 3 hours for the marathon and this was going to be my last shot at it. If I failed this time I don’t think that I would have run another (“Hurray”, shouts Captain Hilton).
I met Lisa Walker and then Andy Harrison near the baggage buses. We bumped into Mike Norberry shortly after. We were all nervous but anxious to be under starters orders. TBH had experienced another triumph yesterday at the local Track and Field (Kenny had run himself into a state of exhaustion) and we wanted to add to the pride of the club by pushing our bodies through 26.2 miles.
Andy, Mike and I lined up near to the front, a smart move, we didn’t have to weave around people dressed up as penguins (I kid you not!). Mike didn’t have a stopwatch, just a clock-face watch. His plan? Stick to Sean like glue (but only on the left side!). He would become freaked out if he wandered over to my right side, I don’t know why. Tell us why Mike.
I was aiming for between 6/45 and 6/50 per mile. This would give me around 2 hours and fifty eight minutes. Mike was looking to break 3 hours. Andy wanted something around 3 hours 5 minutes.
Incredibly for a marathon, my plan worked! I ran almost all of my miles at the correct pace, after a 6/35 for the first mile. Mike stuck to my pace until just before the 24th mile. I had urged him to push on as I thought that I was holding him back.
In my mind I began to doubt myself at about 21 miles. I started to think of reasons to stop, walk and just finish. I thought about why I didn’t have the drive any more to run myself to a frazzle. I’m too content in my life, I have a lovely partner, a beautiful son and I’m a pretty happy guy. I love running and I am incredibly proud of Tyne Bridge Harriers and the achievements of the club over the past 18 months. Isn’t that enough? I’m 42 years old, shouldn’t I just run for the fun of it now? NO! NO! and NO! again. You cannot beat the feeling of pushing your body to its limit, defying the pain and banishing the mental gremlins that seek to destabilise you in the latter stages of a race like this. I battled and I pushed the negative thoughts out with positive ones – “ You’ve never been better prepared,” “You might never get another chance to do this, ” and most of all, “You cannot let your mates down.”
David Daniels has done so much to help and support me in my training and race preparation. My legs managed to find some new energy and I locked into a 6/40 pace for the final 2 ½ miles. I saw David at the 25 mile marker. Wow, what a lift it gave me. I shouted that I was on 2 hours 50 minutes exactly. I gave it my all, saw Trish and Luke in the finishing straight and I punched the air. Trish was going crazy and Luke was embarrassed (that’s what parents do kid). I crossed the line in 2 hours 58 minutes and 54 seconds.
I was ecstatic. I fell to the floor and the pain and tiredness hit me like a hammer. I didn’t care. I’d done it.
Mike was so close to breaking the magic 3 at his first attempt. He ran 3 hours and 12 seconds.
Andy did himself proud in only his second marathon with a new PB of 3 hours and 21 minutes, there’s plenty more to come from this guy.
I met Lisa in the re-union area and she had really fought hard to cross the finish line. She’s been training off-road for this and the hard surface caused her back to seize up. The heat (28˚!) had really caused her marathon debut to be a real baptism of fire. Well done for fighting the good fight.
I look forward to hearing the reports from all of our other Gladiators. Now I’m off to bed…
Race results to follow shortly.
Below are several photographs taken on the day.