Last time I fell during a run was in the Haytor Heller 2015. Oooo I did graze my knees. I’ve been surprisingly sure footed since then. Until today………..
It sure has been a challenging week chez nous. So we were ready for a lovely adventure today, tired for sure, but looking forward to the Tavy 13. It is a fabulous half marathon, hilly and challenging but with a “ahhhh-weeeeeeeee” 3 mile downhill and flat finish.
The same gang of three (the wonderful Mrs Bonfield, the silver fox & yours truly) set off for Tavistock, arriving in good time and ready for our standard pre-match coffee (or multi-sugared tea). We had all, of course, completed the Larmer Tree Marathon 7 days earlier (see last weeks review) and were prepared to be carrying that fatigue in our legs.
This event, fantastically organised by Tavistock Athletic ClubTavistock Athletic Club, also played host to the Primary Schools Challenge, where nearly 500 primary school children would complete a mile after the grown-ups had set off on their 13.1 mile adventure. This was the culmination of 13 weeks of the youngsters running a mile a week.
What with there being nearly 500 in the half marathon, all the supporters, children’s’ parents and supporters it made for a cracking atmosphere at the track and a strain on the toilet facilities!
We were all running our own races, so we wished each other luck and lined up on the lush spongy running track with the buzzing throng of runners.
The hooter sounded and off we went, starting with half a lap of the track through the wonderful tunnel of noise created by all those children cheering us along.
I seemed to settle into what felt like my pace quickly as we went towards Tavistock itself and then straight into a climb out of the town. I don’t climb particularly quickly but I feel I have become quite efficient and so I focus on the rhythm of my foot-strike and try to ignore those that appear to be sprinting past me! They are either faster runners than me, in which case they’ll be gone or maybe they’re pushing too hard and I might catch them later.
Despite this climb, I went through mile 1 in 6m50s, bang on pace for a 1h30m finish, I didn’t really have a target for today, and I knew there was plenty of hilly stuff to come so I stuck with running on feel. We went along a fairly flat tarmac path through some woodland which ended in a sharp little decent followed by a hairpin turn to join a road and head back uphill.
I noticed the 2 mile marker on a post as I started to thank the marshal, there were so many wonderful marshals, skilfully guiding us through any junctions or tricky sections.
“Thank you marsh………..” SLIP, SMASH, SLIDE. Man down! My gangly 6 foot frame spread-eagled on the junction, “you alright mate?” the concerned calls of many of the runners as they hopped over me and headed up the hill. The very concerned marshal encouraged me to take a bit of time to recover, unsightly blood dribbling down my leg.
My watch had actually vibrated to tell me I had completed mile 2 in 6m23s as I fell!
I picked myself up and set off again, sore and with dented pride, wryly chuckling to myself. I seem to remember the next couple of miles being undulating (6.46 & 6.31) before a challenging climb in mile 5 taking us up on to the moors (8.07) before settling in to a couple more undulating miles enjoying the glorious vistas (6.50 & 6.39).
There is a big old hill in mile 8 and I started to trudge a bit. I spurred myself on with a little look at the ribbon I often wear on race day. My sister lost her battle with cancer 8 years ago, and today would have been her 52nd birthday. I try to only use Karen’s memory as a positive thing and I know she was so happy that’d I’d taken up running and started taking better care of myself, so she would have surely have told me to dig in and get to the top.
Through mile 8 in 8m30s, I knew the run in was down to the town and then flat so I started to let my limbs spiral as quickly as I dared, not wishing to repeat my tumbling antics of earlier!
Miles 9 and 10 (6.26 & 6.39) were a battle into the wind and mile 11 had a little climb (6.59) before whizzing back through 12 & 13 (6.18 & 6.47) towards town and the 600 meter finish on the track. My tired bleeding bloody was pleased to see the finish line and there was a brief emotional moment with me and the ribbon.
1 hour 31 minutes 22 seconds. Unofficial.
My rushing about didn’t stop then, though. Knowing Martin and Nicky were also soon to be on their way, I hobbled back to the car to collect jumpers (it certainly was chilly once I’d stopped) and coffee and cake money.
The fantastic Tavistock Athletics Club Catering Team were handily trackside with drinks, cakes, hot dogs, bacon sarnies.. The Works. What an enthusiastic, helpful, smiling, congratulating and efficient team they were. The younger staff members falling over themselves to make sure I was laden with recovery refreshments for when my fellow intrepid runners arrived. Which was quite soon as it turned out, Martin blitzing up the home straight in 1h53m and Nicky following soon after also with a sprint to finish in 2h08m.
Their smiles matched mine as we compared notes and munched and drank through our post race goodies.
£9 this race. With road closures and the facilities and a lovely little medal. Bargain.
Hats off to the Tavy club for another resounding success, wonderful atmosphere and some great memories on a day on memories.
Check out the Tavy 7 too, another lovely race.
Please check out my other blog posts….
Larmer Tree Marathon, Bideford Half, my writing journey, elitism, tired Mo, working & running and have a rummage through my marathons to date.