Friday, August 24, 2018

A bit more running.......

Time is slipping through my fingers so quickly at the moment and I really can't keep up with everything.  Garden visits, marathons, speaking about dementia to small groups, home stuff.  There's just too much to write about so I shall have to be selective.

First there was an unexpected trophy - I came first in my age category at the Chislehurst Marathon at the end of July!  I spotted it in the results and I also saw that one of my running friends, Theresa, had also won her age category and as she lived nearby she very kindly collected it for me and saved it until we met up again.

It's about 22cm high

Then there was an unexpected marathon.  One of my running chums posted a link to the event on her Facebook page and as it was only about 20 miles away I went and had a look and decided that I'd do it if the weather cooled down a bit, which it did and so I found  myself at the start of the Owler marathon on the 12th August.

I'd never come across the organisers, Tri spirit events, before but they seemed nice and friendly so as it was a bit cooler I headed off there to enter on the day.  It started and finished in a sports stadium and I wasn't expecting to see anyone I knew as I knew many were up in the Midlands doing a series of marathons so I was delighted to see 6 familiar friendly faces 4 of whom were 100 Club members.

I was a bit nervous at the start when I saw how few runners there were - 21 and one of them dropped out so only 20 of us finished!  The event hadn't appeared on the list on the club page so I suggested to Liz, one of the team, that she let one of us know when they hold their next event as they would get many more entrants that way.

I made the decision not to take my camera with me as I knew I'd waste lots of time taking photos and I also realised that this might be my first finish in last place and I wasn't wrong!

I positioned myself right at the back and when we set off at a much faster pace than I would have liked and after the first 3 miles I made the decision to just run my own race at my own pace and let the speedy people do their own speedy thing.

The following photos have all come courtesy of Gavin, aka Pit Stop Crew who I hadn't seen for many years.  11 years actually at the Kent 50 where I was doing my 50th birthday challenge and his young lad took a lovely photo of me.  If you follow the link you'll also see Gavin sporting his PSC tee shirt in one of the last few photos.

I ordered several photos of this event to put on my blog and he very generously declined payment and even threw in some extras because sadly his life has been touched by dementia and he was pleased that I'm still fund-raising for ARUK.  Thank you so much Gavin xxx

This is the smallest field of marathon runners I've ever been with (21 started and 20 finished)

Off we went along a small section of the track then headed off across some fields

As we left the stadium we entered Conningbrook Lakes Country Park where there was a huge lake which used to be a gravel extraction pit.  There was plenty of new build houses alongside which looked interesting but the downside was the noise from the M20 was really loud.  There was lots to see in this part but I had to keep my wits about me as there sere sections of tree roots and that means faceplant potential in my book.

The route was remarkably well marked with very friendly marshalls at key point together with lots of aid stations supplying water/coke/jelly babies/etc.  Although I had my soft flasks full of water, for some reason I picked up a cup of Coke and some jelly babies each time so was absolutely buzzing with a sugar high by the end of it as I never usually partake of either!  It was 2 laps for a marathon  and there was a half marathon and a 10k going on at the same time so there were plenty of people around.

After we'd left the country park we were on quiet, mostly gently undulating lanes, with a couple of steeper ones thrown in for good measure, and there were some lovely views.  I was delighted to spot the cross on the hillside that I saw at the A20 Path 'n' Downs marathon back in 2016.  We also passed through Brook village and I had a moment of deja vue as I ran past a house we'd looked at before we moved to our current house.

It was rather humid and I noticed that my breathing was a bit laboured (stupid asthma doesn't like high humidity!) but I refused to walk up the hills even though some people did but I changed my mind when we got to a much steeper hill!  That's where I caught up with Vicky and Cara who were run/walking and we played leapfrog throughout (I overtook them when they walked and then they overtook me when they ran) and they very kindly kept checking I was OK and even waited to see me finish which was nice.

I mentioned earlier that I thought I was going to finish last and I did but, do you know what,  I got the best reception ever from all the marshalls.  As I passed each of them at their respective positions I apologised for keeping them waiting and they were all really supportive and kind.  Liz, the Race Director, was driving round checking we tail-enders were OK and as I passed each aid station they were able to start packing up but they didn't make me feel awkward, quite the reverse.

At the finish we got to run around the track and not surprisingly the stadium was empty except for Vicky and Cara together with an elderly man and woman so I did a bit of showboating to the empty stands which unbeknown to me was captured by Gavin!

All the marshalls gave me a massive cheer as I rounded the corner

We got a useful cloth bag with some goodies inside together with an owl medal which was sweet.   When I saw the bag I immediately thought 'knitting project bag' as it's a good size!

That was marathon 154 completed in 5:19:48 so although I came last it wasn't too shabby a time.  All in all a very nice and well organised event which I would do again.  There is another one in Autumn but I've already got something else booked. 

I will try and add some other things next week as there's already another marathon done with one more to do this weekend and we've visited another garden that was open for charity and and and..........  I'll leave this post with some photos of a beautiful golden sunset we watched as we sat outside waiting for Mr Snuffles the badger to visit:

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