22nd October 2019 AUTHOR: dwhite CATEGORIES: Event Report

Hull Marathon 2019

The training for the marathon was intense, including a lot of pain, a bit of crying and a mammoth amount of hard work. I was either out running, sleeping or eating. Why do you eat so much when you’re a runner??

Even with all the training I did, I had my doubts, did I do enough? How to fuel my body? What do I wear? A real doubt I had in my self was … am I old enough?

Numerous people have told me “you shouldn’t be running marathons at your age, you’ll ruin your body” with this firmly in my mind in the months close to the marathon I started to wonder if I was doing the right thing. I did my research, spoke to lots of people and had a good think.

My outcome was:-

“If I’m old enough to enter, I’m old enough to run. If I ruin my knees and hips, I can get new ones. Surely I will do more harm to my body drinking and going crazy, but going crazy to me is a long run with a coke at the finish (and a bottle of Prosecco obviously!) I would much rather live my running life now whilst I can and not wait till I’m the ‘right’ age! Who knows, I might not be able to do things like this in the future.”

Marathon Weekend.

I completed park run, then headed to Malet Lambert, my old school to assist with the number hand out. How strange that 6 years ago I was taking part in lessons in the same room and I’m now prepping for a marathon here. The Expo was amazingly thought out, with talks going all the time.

Marathon Day.

So the day was finally here, I’d had about 50 nervous wees before 7 am and then another 50 at the start. Myself, Debbie and Mandy got one of the first busses from Malet Lambert and then walked down to the start from Hessle High School along with lots of other red tops and vests! I had another nervous wee and got into the starting area.

The plan all along was to stick with the 4 hour packs and break away between 16-20 miles if we could. When we set off, it was clear within the first mile we weren’t staying with the 4 hour pacers for very long. John (4 hour pacer) threatened to “have me on a lead” but I’m sure he had more confidence in me than I actually did myself and he let me go.

Coming back into Hessle, leaving the majority of the inclines, I knew I felt strong, I had doubts in myself for feeling so strong so early but I knew if I could get to mile 20 I could smash the last 6.

My wonderful dad had a bag full of bottled water and kept me and Debbie going through the first half of the marathon popping up at miles 9, 12 and 17. Coming through Hull town was tough on both myself and Debbie, after a gel and an electrolyte drink I got my head back and at Victoria dock, broke away from Debbie who pushed me to go for my sub 4 hr. I have never felt to guilty in a race after all the training we had done together but without Debbie getting me though my training and the first 18 miles I most definitely wouldn’t have finished in the time I did. I can’t thank her enough.

Mile 21 brought us down past the blade and to the Sheep Shank where new relay runners joined, here my mum and little sister were there cheering us on and handing out orange slices and wine gums to fellow runners. She opened my energy gel on my return past her told me to “go for it”. Then onto the last leg through Garden Village and into the park. The support through Garden Village was amazing, having my Harriers pushing me through those last few miles was so helpful and the pink and blues from fit mums made those last few miles so much easier.

Turning into East Park I knew I was on my way home, I knew this part of the route like the back of my hand and had everyone I knew in the park supporting me. One last gel, a look at the watch and one last push from my mum on her bike saw me round the last mile.

That finishing line couldn’t get any better, the aim was sub 4 hour and turning the corner showed 3:55 on the clock, quick bit of maths in my head knew that if I put everything I had left in, I could break that 3:55 mark. Overcome with emotion I cried my way over the line, with no tears left in my body it was just ugly face crying, Haha. But I did it and most definitely by doing 1 step to everyone else’s 2.

A mums point of view to a marathon

Where do I start … as Phoebe always corrects me when I say “Its the worst four hours of my life”, its a pretty tough four hours for her too. The thought of not knowing where she is and waiting for updates from family members supporting her along the route does help but its still very tough. The lead up to the marathon watching her dedication day in and day out, before work, after work, in work on the treadmill is just amazing. I even did a long run on my bike with her, not to be repeated!!!!!!

We sat down together in the days before the marathon and decided where our waiting stations would be. The day of the marathon. Early start, however breakfast wasn’t going down!!! Lots of pacing around the house. My husband Andrew left around 9am and got into his place at mile 9, relatives in West Park and Andrew moving throughout the route. Once I received my call to say she had passed him at mile 9 and was very strong I felt a little better. We set off on our bikes and got into place at mile 21. It was so hot, lots of red vests passed us.

Oh Jesus … where is she? Is she ok? Checking my phone for the millionth time.

Looking over the wall to the relay handover I could see my little Phoebe G, she looked very strong, however she was on her own. We screamed at her with excitement and checked what we had to do with regards to energy gel, water etc for her return past us, also where was Debbie? As we were waiting a gentleman from City of Hull fell over, I immediately ran over to him, assisted and unfortunately had to ring 999. Whilst still on the phone to the ambulance crew I could see Phoebe coming back, I handed my phone over to another Marshall who continued the call. I gave her the energy gel and water and watched with pride as she ran off into the distance. Once the gentleman was sorted with the ambulance crew, myself and Daisy rushed back on our bikes to East Park. I looked at the runners coming past me in the centre of the park and knew they were before Phoebe, within minutes I saw her, still looking strong. We got into place on the grass at the side of the path, we screamed and peddled alongside her to the last few hundred yards. She had her Harrier friends screaming her name, the emotions took over and the tears came.

I quickly got to the other side of the road, threw my bike to my mum who was also a blubbering wreck and ran to find my baby. She was there at the finish with her mega proud dad. I squeezed her so hard, gave her the biggest kiss (very salty) and just beamed with pride.

The most surprising thing that I just don’t understand … why is she not out of breath??? 26 miles in that heat!!!!!

A very calm Phoebe waited patiently for Debbie, who wasn’t too far behind. Tears came again from us all once they were back together.

So to conclude my mums view – NO I don’t like my baby running 26 miles, YES I am the proudest parent ever. YES I get extremely anxious before, during and after a marathon. YES those legs are far too small to run a marathon but they do it … my Pocket Rocket.

Phoebe Gawthorpe

Submit a comment