Hull Marathon – 2 Man Relay
As promised here is a report on the Hull Marathon that will hopefully counter the personal misery of my Berlin marathon report. First of all, I want to give my thanks to Stuart Buchanan for putting all the effort into entering us as a relay team and for letting me do the shorter second leg as I was tapering for Berlin and strictly speaking should only have done a ten miler at the most. This is also arguably the best leg to do as you get to run over the Humber Bridge – twice and also get the glory of the crowds cheering at the finish line. On the subject of the Humber Bridge, let’s not forget what a marvellous view this presents to us, I think sometimes that as it’s on our doorstep, we can forget what a fantastic piece of work it is and if we were running, for instance over the Severn Bridge, or Menai Straits bridge, we’d be enthusing about it for weeks. It seems it’s easy for Hull people to be blasé about what makes ours an attractive city.
Stonk was the name we’d settled on for our relay team (STuart/kONK), after some more expletive laden and none pc options had been decided against – perhaps now we’ve won and there’s the possibility of our team name being publicised, this was an unwittingly wise move. The two person relay race was actually very successful for EHH, as it was a Gold, Silver and Bronze winning event for three of our teams, Sara Rookyard and Chris Sumpton with the imaginative team name of Chris and Sara, came first out of 51 teams with a time of 3:10:35, Neil Gordon and Helen Horrobin came second (Shogun Runners) in 3:17:14 and Stuart and me where third over all, but first all male team with 3:19:52. Not that I want to take any of the shine off Helen and Neil’s achievement, but mine and Stuart’s time was potentially around five minutes faster than recorded, as thanks to a bus cock up, I was delayed from getting to the transfer point so there was a delay between Stuart crossing over the timing mat and me taking the relay wristband – this was definitely to do with two buses breaking down and nothing to do with the cheeky carb loading I did in Three John Scott’s before the race as has now become customary. After the race when we all got together again in the sun soaked beer garden, the 5 minute delay expanded exponentially according to the number of pints we had until we were threatening world records.
Great credit must go to Stuart for setting such a good pace and completing his (in my opinion) much tougher leg of the race, with the long climb up Boothferry Hill and the railway bridge crossings adding to the extra mileage.
As stated previously I was planning on treating this as a tapering run for Berlin, but perhaps not wanting to let Stuart down after making such a good start and also to make up to him for my being late at the handover point, I set off at a faster than intended pace, this was further compounded by catching Paul Bennett who was running the full marathon, as we started to go over the Humber bridge for the first time. Paul asked me to help pace him through and I said I’d try to stay with him until the return over the other side of the bridge after the Far Ings hairpin, this equated to about 4 miles and I knew Paul, who is a much faster runner than me, would be wanting to push on, while I would be struggling by then to keep up.
What surprised me, was that after I’d told Paul I’d have to hang back and wished him well for the rest of the race as we approached Hessle, I found that I wasn’t actually falling any further back, this turned into an even bigger surprise as we went through the Sirius academy and I took advantage of his need to nip behind the tree’s, (for some reason) to get past him. Running through the academy was another interesting feature of the Hull marathon, as you actually do go through the school building whilst being serenaded by local singer Cherrie Lawence.
A quick trip through Pickering Park brings you back on to Hessle Rd. then it’s a meander through the back streets to St. Andrews dock. It’s fascinating to run alongside the ships moored up on the dockside, but the unfortunate smell that hangs in the air, is for me the low point of the race and I couldn’t help but be thankful I hadn’t been doing the full marathon and forced to take in a few lungfulls.
The last part of the race takes you around the marina following the Hull 10k route, and as the crowds started to thicken I knew I was heading for a collectively good time, but really had no idea just how well we’d done as a pair, so to find we’d won the male two person relay race was a real boost to the ego and one which I’m sure Stuart and myself will be dining on for some time to come.
Thanks go to Alison Burnett for pointing out to me that I’d actually completed my section of the race at a new half marathon pb pace – I had no idea.