Completing a marathon is always a special occasion, but for Steve and Mary Pattison, Sunday’s Prague Marathon was memorable in more ways than one.
Volkswagen Prague Marathon: Sunday 3rd May 2015
Back in January I asked my wife Mary what she wanted for her 60th birthday, some special gift or a party or both perhaps, but she totally surprised me by saying she would love to run a foreign marathon. I had said I would never run another marathon but as she wanted to, I guess I would have to do it too. I scoured the races as near to her birthday as possible and it came down to either Vienna or Prague. Prague won because it was easier to get to logistically from Edinburgh.
Training was going good until Mary had her nasty accident, falling over our friend’s dog while training and making a mess of her face quite badly just before we were going on holiday to Florida to see our first grand daughter. The heat in Florida made it difficult to train distances too, so that was another setback for us.
Anyway, we flew to Prague 3 days before the marathon and did the usual sightseeing and visiting the exhibition to get our race packs etc. Day before race day, we had a leisurely boat trip along the river but Mary was getting ever more anxious about all the cobbles and tram lines on the route and had flashbacks about her fall. That night as we lay in bed she said that the next day was going to be the most scariest thing she had done in her life. It was then I decided I had to run with her to be sure she was okay during the race.
Predictably, race day was the hottest day we were there, even at 8am as we left for the start which was just around the corner from the hotel. Proud of ourselves as we marched up to the start in our famous black and white vests, there were loads of different nationalities running and they seemed to like our vests complete with great Britain flags on the race numbers. We even met a guy from Blaydon in the start area. The race started and Mary was crying and I thought she was scared but it turned out she was just so emotional as there were balloons being released along with classical music being played.
It was really warm during the first 2 hours and we were going along not too bad, thinking about 4 hrs 20 mins may be our time. Mary had never taken over 4 hours before in a marathon but was prepared for that. First was a 3 mile loop then a 6 mile loop which crossed the river 4 times and the road surfaces were not good with lots of cobbles, tram lines and general uneven surfaces. The crowd support was really excellent, especially when going through the city centre and we even had a guy shouting ‘whey aye man’ at about 10 miles, obviously recognising the TBH vests. Another 5 mile loop and just after half way Mary suddenly felt exhausted and had to stop and have a walk. This was the start of the decline and we ended up running and walking for the last 12 miles really but we ended up having good fun, we even got to see the sweeper bus which was about 5 miles behind us, we joined up with a group of Czech lads and lasses and they started singing ‘happy birthday’ to Mary and ‘flower of Scotland’ and we also saw ourselves on a big video screen with about 4 miles to go with a message we had recorded the day before at the Expo.
Those last four miles were really, really hard and we now have more respect for runners who take this long as it takes a tremendous amount of courage and toughness to carry on and finish. Into the finishing straight and still thousands of people watching and I was so proud of Mary staying with it until the end, we finished together arms raised and it felt good, we had kind of enjoyed a marathon!
We later celebrated Mary’s achievement at a rooftop restaurant near the old town square and had a good laugh at what we had endured and also sank a few drinks including the champagne which the hotel had put in our room when we arrived.
Another marathon? who knows.