The Hull Marathon 2017
It’s Hull Marathon time again . Now the question is, do I run the full , half or the quarter . Initial thoughts was on the half , preferably in a mixed team , but when Vicky Godfrey wanted to run a quarter leg , I decided we should team up and press gang 2 “willing volunteers” to join us .
All thru the spring and summer I’ve been concentrating on improving my 10K times , which I have and mostly at or around similar times Vicky had been achieving . So we needed 2 more around our pace to complete the team . The usual suspects where all either doing the half or the full marathon but luckily we managed to arm twist fellow Park Run Harriers Andy Norman and Dave Dearing to join our merry band named “Reenies Red Runners”
Andy is a far faster runner than me and Dave has shown me a slightly mucky pair of bare foot heels a few times in races so I knew I needed to be in top form to not let down the rest of the team .
The lady of our team had the same thoughts/worries and went into full attack “Vickster” mode in her training , we decided to let her have the glory finish leg which was about 5.3 miles. She was doing extra hard training and was getting big improvements to her Park Run PB’s and a couple of weeks before the race had finally dipped into the “20’s” after a string of low 21 min runs . Beating her blokes Park Run PB and winning her 100 quid off him , so she was deffo in shape.
I had bad Hedon and Grimsby runs in late July and was getting worried but a surprise 3 second Park Run PB in August reassured me I was still running ok . Just needed to increase the distance in training from 6 to 7.5 miles and try and maintain my 10K pace if I could over the extra mile.
I was a bit worried about Dave tho , he seemed to be spending far too much time running “as nature intended” which was bare feet and bare body. Now would he turn up at the start the same and get us disqualified for not been able to pin a number or attach the chip timing tag ? Luckily he assured us he’d be dressed and wearing running shoes … but wasn’t quite sure where he had left em.
Andy was Andy and I knew he could be relied upon to do the hard 3rd leg over the bridge n back and hopefully over take a few at the same time. Top bloke .
On the Friday before the event was race pack collection time , I got there on the way home from work at 10am , and was informed they wasn’t available till after 4pm.
I returned there at 4.30pm and there was a sizeable queue already . Any way after a bit of messing around I finally got the numbers and chatted to a few runners I knew. Leaving the building I was greeted by a moderately heavy down pour . I had push biked (E-biked really , coz it was easier lol ) . Now when I set off there it was sunny and warm n had dressed appropriately, so had to endure a 5 mile sodden ride home .
On the Saturday Park Run , I handed out the white envelopes not stuffed with cash but something much more valuable – the race numbers to the team , chip tag and safety pins, and we had a final race briefing , Dave to go first , then me , Andy the 3rd leg and Vicky to bring home the bacon and hopefully in the top 10.
Sunday at 5.45am and my alarm went off , I got up and had my normal pre race breaky of 2 Weetabix in hot milk with loads of sugar and then went back to bed for an hour or so . Up again a bit past 7 and got ready , hoping to get to West Park for 8. As I was speeding down Spring Bank on the E-bike I saw the lovely Nicky Blyth walking , so I slowed down and we had a gab for the rest of the way to the KC , she was doing a half and was really looking forward to it . I was just nervous .
Arriving there at about 8 am it was getting busy , I still had to do the bag drop (which was at the Airco which I had passed while gabbing to Nicky ….. Doh) and get fully changed before half 8, when I wanted to get the mini bus to East Park where my start was. Arriving back to the KC start , after the bag drop , the Harriers in that area had a great team photo next to a big red “This is Hull” sign, must have been 30 there , with many more around but not on the photo .
So it was time to go for the bus , Andy was here , but no Dave , I left hoping he was around somewhere . After a bit of a walk and a convo with Beth who couldn’t get parked , I got on the bus with 4 others and we snaked around the back streets till finally arriving at East Park just before 9. Here I found an excited/worried Vicky . She had come to give support and to catch the bus to the KC . Her start was at the Humber Bridge so she had plenty of time to get there.
Sara was also here after being drafted in last minute to a purple team with 2 out of 3 runners she didn’t know . Beth arrived after her car parking troubles as well loads of others I knew .
9.36am and the lead motorbike appears by the splash boat at mile 6…. who’s infront we all think .. well he’s in red and its Mike Hargreaves and he’s got a sizeable lead over Ben whatshisname and Rob Weekes in third, with many other red vests near the front. Sara sets off after not knowing which is her purple vested relay runner , we had to tell her. Dave Playforth hands over to Dave Borrill and about a min or so later my teamie Dave comes into view , hotly pursued by Katie Seddon who was handing over to her brother Neil.
A speedy hand over of the rubber wristband and I’m off . I join the race along side Steve Tickopad , Carol and Gary Fee, Dan Newton and the person I chased last year Paul Bennett. Now last year Paul B pulled away steadily from me after I kept him within 10 metres for 5 miles. I felt these 5 harriers might be good to run with and stop me going too mad at the start but still at a decent pace . We crossed the lake bridge and suddenly there was Neil Seddon streaking by and zooming off into the distance , a few seconds later another runner streaks by also from a 4 person team so I’m losing positions . I decide “bugga to this” and that I’m gunna have to speed up before I lose any more places and I start to pull away from the 5 Harriers around me.
Out of the park and onto James Recketts Ave which is marshalled by lots of Harriers and I’m getting plenty of encouragement from them as I start passing the full and half distance runners infront . No one is coming past now and I feel comfortable at this pace as I overtake Dave B. Mile 7 and 8 go by and I’m still overtaking and not being overtook. I catch John Walker near the Venn painted Bridge , he’s running fantastic , I say he’s on sub 3.20 pace as I sneak by, then I catch Neil Gordon as we enter Land of Green Ginger. He looks like it’s starting to hurt for him . I feel great tho, I know I’m working hard but it’s manageable . Watch is saying I’m 50 seconds up on my planned pace …. Have I set off too fast like last year ?
We twist and turn around the Old Town, Marina and finally get to the fish docks . The crowds here are mainly volunteers and port workers. My mind goes back 30 years to when I worked on here for 3 years renovating the Spurn Light Vessel and other things for the council . I look for familiar building to take my mind off the pain which is starting to get to me. Awwww no Stantons Cafe anymore , so no chance for a mid morning snack, plus my old work shop is gone too , and the Lords building looks even more knackered than me. Into the subway and up the gentle incline I get overtook. He’s a 4 relay runner like me , so I try to keep up . I keep him withing ten metres till Hessle Road fly over when he pulls away another 10 metres …. I hate hills lol .. but down hill I match him and overtake a few more, I’ve prob passed 50 runners now from my start and only 3 have got by me . Far better than last year when loads went by me as I died up Boothferry Hill . Down Council Ave and around a corner and I can see the 13 mile marker , think I’ve only noticed a couple before that , I’ve seen the floor paintings , maybe they was markers too? Dunno , I was too much in my “zone” to notice.
Into Pickering Park that pesky bloke is 50 metres infront now and there’s the half way timing pads , 1.38.48 ish if I remember as I cross it . But wheres the change over tent ? Well its 100 metres further, good job I never sprinted n stopped like some did .
I see Andy , I shout my time and good luck as I hand him the wrist band … 52.26 … I’m happy with that , 90 odd seconds faster than I had planned and prob a 7 mile PB esp as it was 7.15 miles on my watch 😊 .
I collect my goodie bag and hang about the half way point for half n hour or so to cheer on other runners . Then decide to walk back to the KC , its only a couple of miles from here and not bother with the bus . Dave Borrill joins me and we gab as we mainly follow the route of the runners, so I can cheer on plenty of others I know . Near mile 25 we see the leaders approaching , and its not Mike H , but Ben thingybob (Sadowyj) , Mike is about a min behind and as he passes us is worried about losing 2nd place , we assure him 3rd placed Rob Weeks isn’t in sight. Other leaders pass us, aswell as the lead relay teams.
I head back to Airco to get my bag and into the KC stadium after a useless security bag search .. 3 hours has just clicked over on the timer and I spot Neil S in the stands , he tells me he did a 43 min run , so no wonder he left me standing … hes expecting their final runner, fiancee Jennifer, to cross the line withing a few mins.
Later checking the results , the other runner who passed me at my start did a 41 min run , so no wonder he beat me , but Andy and Vicky was far faster than their next two runners so we got that place back, aswell as the one who overtook me near mile 11 😊
The stadium finish stand is quite full of spectators with loads of Harriers supporting , teamies Dave and Andy are already here . Both are happy with their runs , so hopefully everything is going well . Sara’s purple team mate Corrine finishes , 3rd place n first female team . A min later Jennifer enters the stadium and the Seddon’s and Dyer’s go wild , 3 hours 6 mins and think 4th place . I’m hoping Vicky won’t be too far behind and before we know it she is here , sprinting to the line , 3.16.14 is the chip time . A full 10 mins better than last years pretty good time …. Bloody fantastic … The results show we are 8th overall and 4th in class …. The Seddon’s/Dyer’s are first tho and pick up 4 nice trophy’s. Lots of other prizes for other Harriers as we all cheer them home . There are Red vests every where.
Pub time now and loads descend into 3 John Scotts , where I have a few ciders and 2 lunch’s, coz I’m starving. After a few hours the reprobates head on to the Lodge for further celebrations. But I decided to be good this year unlike last year when I had continued drinking with em …. and I fell off my bike 4 times on the way home , so was happy with just wobbling home slightly merry instead of “as a newt” last year .
Great effort from my team mates , Andy , Dave and Vicky. Thanks guys, I’m proud of ya