I wrote this out last night when I was in grumpy form. This is the much calmer version 🙂
Race mini-rant : I have run the Bewl 15 which takes place in July several times, it is a good club race with what amounts to a small village fete with cake at the end. It is always quite tough, but good fun. The Bewl 1/2 Mara was a potentially good race damaged by lack of mile markers or marshalls. You don’t realise that you need them until they are not there. Jolly guesses on the part of the people on the drinks stands (out by about a mile average) are not a substitute. Nor do I feel I should be helping traffic get through. The difference, as far as I am aware is that the older race is a club race, with a lot of volunteers and local involvement; the newer is run by a company. I am not anti-commercial races, a lot of them are very very good; but I felt this one was cutting corners: mobile numbers on the race no. are not a substitute for marshals, the phone reception in that area is patchy at best. And while a lot of people have GPS, not everyone does, I was surrounded by people asking what the distance was.
And moving on. I started out way too fast because after deciding in the car that I felt crap; I decided between metres 5-10 that I didn’t. You can see what happened.
It was hard, I had a lot of jelly babies from the nice but ill-informed people at the drink stations (one was quoting a distance over by just less than a mile, and the next one was under by more than a mile). I have to say that the range of snacks was superb: water, several different types of squash, lots of nice sugary things (there was a mara going on as well)
So, I only really got to the end by dint of old standbys: music (Simple Minds today), and benefiting from other people’s work by just settling in behind them and watching their feet. This works for me time after time, but it has to be the right person (ie not too far from my steps per minute and pace) or it just makes me feel worse. Many a time I have been carried several miles by watching someone else’s feet, hypnotic and pain-free. It was a very friendly race in terms of other runners, and the lady who came in just in front of me had been playing leapfrog with me for a long time, she didn’t realise that she knocked a good minute off my time by overtaking me near the end, otherwise I would just have wambled in rather than picking up my feet and going for it. So thank you!
Upshot? I need to learn to pace myself again now I am a bit faster; it was easy when I just needed to live through to the end, but now I have regained more than one pace level it will need more planning.