Sunday, 12 June 2011

Redcar Half Marathon 2011

Post Race Radio Fun
What a difference a year makes. 2011 bought warm sunshine to the start of the Redcar Half Marathon which was in stark contrast to the previous year when it was cold and it rained. The trip to Teeside is a good opportunity to catch up with Becki and Whitty, friends from university and their daughters Lucy and Emily. Its also a good excuse to get 13.1 miles on the legs over a  fairly fast half marathon course.  The Redcar Half Marathon begins on the sea front at Redcar and then heads South for a mile before returning past the start and out North towards Middlesbrough along a dual carriageway
Paul and Support Crew
past a massive steel plant and returning along the opposite carriageway just before Grangetown.  Road race organisers find it increasingly difficult to gain the necessary consents to close carriageways to traffic but the Redcar race runs approximately 8 miles along a closed A1085 trunk road which means runners have plenty of room to run. Although there is plenty of room on the course, the start of this race was fairly cramped. Some 1500 athletes gathered to wait for Olympics swimmer and local athlete Joanne Jackson to start the race.
Finely Tuned Athletes
The previous evening we had to exercise extreme discipline not to get carried away with the stella and white wine. I think I managed better than Paul but the fine pasta prepared by Becki may have helped to soak the worst of it up.  Either way we were in better post alcohol shape than the previous year although I heard Whitty had been on a session on the previous Friday which can't have helped.I started steadily, cautiously aware of the possible effects ofthe heat from the sun mixed with the likelihood of mild dehydration from the previous evening's festivities. By Mile 7 I felt strong and had bounce in my legs that I wanted to exploit in the second half. I was surprised at how good I felt at mile seven but as I made the 180 degree turn to face the second half I became immediately aware that a strong tail wind had pushed me towards Boro and I was going to have to fight a head wind for the remaining six miles to the finish. The head wind was tough but I was grateful that the sun had hidden behind increasing clouds. I managed to plunder back to the coast road and battled mentally with myself to keep speed over the final two miles. I finished in 1:29:08 slightly disappointed. I thought I'd run faster and would have at least liked to have gone under 1:29. The positives are that I felt good over the distance and  the previous year I had only managed 1:31 in my first race since a grim bout of plantar faciitis which put me out of action for a couple of months. In addition I didn't get the best starts and the head wind might help add to excuses.  
Post Race Fun Chasing the North Sea
After the race I retrieved a medal and a t-shirt, had a quick wander to see the ships at sea and then went to find Tracy, Becki and the children. We watched in anticipation for Whitty to return and attempted to stop the children from injuring the finishing runners with there out of control scooters. Whitty returned in 2:03:42 which was 'remarkable' given the previous evenings shenanigans (I've seen worse). 

We all retired to enjoy the fun fair adjacent to the finish. We were interviewed inside the TFM radio bus. The interviewer, randomly wanted to know about a business idea which could be good for the local area. The best we could muster was 'indoor fishing' suggested after witnessing the same in Japan earlier in the year. I don't think it's going to go anywhere.... It rained heavily all the way back to Grantham and we witnessed the aftermath of an accident on the opposite carriageway including a military land rover on its roof. A couple of miles further we felt a bit helpless as we saw the air ambulance making steep round about turns high above the carriageway. It looked like it couldn't find the scene of the accident through the poor visibility but we obviously couldn't assist. 

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