WHAT A WEEKEND!
Regular consumers of this occasionally literal (occasionally literary) ramble through our lives will have noticed I started a “Creative Writing” course….
Well, the course has gone back…… Whilst I’m sure it’s fabulous, it most certainly isn’t for me. Writing lies as fact on topics I don’t enjoy to get ‘paid’ by publications I would rather not support isn’t really where I want to pitch myself…..
And who was I kidding anyway!
The Bank Holiday weekend…..
Lots of time with my beautiful step daughters, their betrothed, our wonderfully energy giving grandchildren and, of course, my breathtakingly beautiful wife. She really is the spark that lights everything that’s fabulous in my life. Even my father-in-law, Frank was up for it – “sod dementia, let’s play swing ball”!
AND…. On Sunday our old gang went on a road trip to Casterbridge Half Marathon. So that’s yours truly and Nicky (the afore mentioned HOT wife) along with blog veteran, Martin in full silver fox / cheeky monkey mode, Jan too, fresh from the Manchester Half Marathon the previous Sunday. Our support crew were Gloria, another blog regular, and Jan’s lovely Mum, Linda.
We met at a fairly civilised hour and convoyed our way to Dorchester.
Considering we are such social wallflowers, it’s amazing how many old friends we bumped into – like Kiernan, an old mate from Portsmouth, dropping in to do a half marathon on his way to his family holiday in Cornwall.
The Dorchester Marathon and Casterbridge Half are road events (and those roads are mostly closed) organised by those masters of the Dorset trails, White Star Running.
If you fancy a road marathon or half, but with the feel of a trail event, beautiful scenery, a festival like atmosphere and a few cheeky hills, then this is for you.
With 1600 runners across the two distances, the campsite was buzzing and the car park field was being marshalled like clockwork.
Plenty of portaloos, food and drink stalls and a massive marquee promising fun and frolics later in the evening for the runners and campers.
The marathon was sent on its way as we made our first trip to the plastic tardis shaped relief cubicles and followed that up with a traditional pre race coffee.
It was good to be back in banter mode with the gang and before we knew it the rain from earlier had given way to glorious sunshine and we were heading for the start line of our race.
I had a race plan – run as fast as I thought I could until I couldn’t and then run slower, or if I thought I could run a bit faster then I’d run faster, or slower, depending on what I felt like doing. So, just run basically.
Regular readers will know I have trouble remembering details of my runs. I remember lots of bits but not necessarily in the right order.
So here’s how my race went: 10, 9, 8…….GO! The mayor sent us on our way. For once I ran about as hard as I intended and quickly found my stride amongst others running my pace. We spread out across the closed roads (closed roads!), soaked up the sunshine, enjoyed the wonderful Dorset countryside and ran up. And down. And up. There is barely a flat section. No monster hills particularly, one very long one and a naughty steeper one near the end, but lots of them.
There were marshals at every junction, fabulous aid stations and the infamous White Star Love Station. The marathon joined the half marathon route with about 6 miles to go (I think!) and I was quite pleased that only one marathoner steamed past me before the end.
That was the legend that is Steve Way, always supporting road races in the South West, he skipped past us on his way to 2h28m in his last big mileage effort before having a crack at getting gold in Comrades in two weeks time. The runner next to me was moved to exclaim “that’s beautiful to watch!” as Steve sped away.
Apart from getting drawn into an unsuccessful attempt to outsprint someone many (10s of) years my junior, my own race was uneventful. This ultra training has really taught me to chill out, as has running with Nicky, who never, ever starts too quickly. So, whilst I felt like I’d ran it hard, I was always in control. Lovely.
There was a fabulous atmosphere at the finish which was helped by the races starting an hour apart, so there was a constant stream of runners getting royally cheered home. I saw Martin come steaming home, then Nicky and then Jan.
The weather was so glorious, we set up on the grass and enjoyed the atmosphere for an hour or so, Martin unable to resist unleashing his well thought out ‘balls’ jokes as he parted with some hard earned dosh for some of the cake stall’s protein balls.
The blog has fallen behind this week, so I’ll leave you with some lovely images from this great race, and some more from our fantastic family Bank Holiday Monday