For most of the week before this race I was seriously expecting DNS to be appearing on the results list. On the day when I did actually decide to give it a go, I though it only 10% likely that it wouldn’t be DNF.
Training runs on the previous 2 weekends had resulted in a foot ‘problem’, a sharp pain through the phalanx-metacarpal region which made even walking very difficult. Although it gradually subsided during the week it was still there on Saturday so I was pleased I had opted for parkrun volunteering to give it more rest; I enjoyed giving out the finish tokens with some bingo descriptions, but had to look carefully to see who was approaching for 88. It was on the drive down to Margate/Cliftonville that I finally decided I would run, not really wanting to waste the entry fee and miss out on the medal!
Collecting bibs and then chips was a slow process. I had registered on line via Runners World, and it was causing registration problems, not just for me. I wasn’t the only one who was given a hand written bib when names couldn’t be located on the lists. It did lead to a slightly late start.
It was/is an excellent course, mainly along coastal paths with a few excursions along pavements/roads. Friendly and very helpful marshals everywhere and enthusiastic public support especially outside the pubs and cafes we ran past.
In the first km the discomfort was noticeable, and expecting it to only develop further, and it did, I was wondering how far away I would be before having to stop. As I ran past Bleak House, at 9k, a sharp pain made me fear the worst, however maybe I slightly changed how I placed my foot because it didn’t persist.
So I did complete the whole race, running very conservatively and enjoying it much more than last year when I took off much too quickly and paid for it by having to walk up the hills during the 2nd half. This time they were easy and I was overtaking other runners on them plus quite a number during the final 2k. I did not look at my Kalenji at all during the race, so was very pleased and somewhat surprised to see that I was considerably faster than last year and very close to a PB which I hadn’t considered at all possible.
I was able to cheer daughter & son-in-law, Cat and Jon, in the full marathon, and maybe it helped Cat who came home as 2nd lady finishing strongly over the last couple of miles; and another one ticked off by Jon, marathon number 81 on his quest for 100. We ended up drinking cider and watching Arsenal (Jon’s team) v Spurs.
As so a week to recover before all 3 of us repeat it at The Bacchus next Sunday.