Redcar Half Marathon

The weather was warmer and calmer than I was expecting and I turned up in good time despite a mad dash back home to discover that the timing chip I thought I’d left behind had mysteriously velcroed itself to my running vest. Everything was well organised and I was soon parked and at the start. Bumped into Alan Purvis who was wearing the coolest faded running vest I’ve ever seen. It looked like denim. I want one of those. They should be manufactured to a specification so that they look like they’ve done a few marathons rather than just walked out of a sports shop.

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As I stood amongst the gently dripping wild garlic wondering what all this liquid fertilizer was doing to the delicate ecological balance of the woodland, I felt pretty good. Dennis, my perfectly pixellated virtual enemy was going for the elusive sub 1:50. That would be a new PB by 10 minutes, but I was feeling confident.

I started fast but the course wasn’t quite as flat as I expected. I began to have doubts about things on the long, straight hill that seemed to go on for ever into the wind from mile 5 to 7, and Dennis, who I thought I’d left way behind, edged past me as we reached the top. It was around here that I was passed by the mandatory Man pushing a Pram with Small Child Inside that no race is complete without, and I began to think I’d pushed too hard too early.

The stretch along the coast was fine, and my pace picked up. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I love the surreal petrochemical skyline of Teesside. Dennis gradually lost his 300 feet advantage and I counted 12 oil tankers queued up across the bay. This didn’t help my pace so I chased the Man with the Pram instead. I caught Dennis, the smug git, at mile 11, and was already wondering how much I was going to smash the 1:50 barrier by.

The thing about cracking of course is there’s no point doing it half-heartedly. If you’re going to crack, do it properly. Much to my astonishment, and within 2 miles of the finish, I crumpled. I groaned and whimpered and may even have called faintly for my mummy. My pace time started bobbing enthusiastically into double figures. Dennis showed me a pixel perfect two-fingered salute and surged ahead, the digits showing his increasing lead spinning over like a cartoon speedometer. I was conscious of pitying heads shaking in the crowd and at one point I was convinced I was going to throw-up at the feet of a St John’s Ambulance crew. People who I’d coasted past earlier now passed me like I was standing still, with their smug, smug, backs. I had no idea backs could look smug, but there you go.

I still got in with a respectable 1:51:16 that’s a new PB for me by a lot. However I definitely ran too fast too early and perhaps if I’d run my own race, rather than Dennis’s, I might have done a bit better. It was good to see Greta and Mike at the finish and I spotted Alan again. Don’t know if there were any more Striders there though.

Total distance: 21.07 km
Max elevation: 53 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 410 m
Total descent: -417 m
1Zak KiharaKenya1:07:00
15Pauline PowellBlackburn HarriersF11:15:15
580Dougie Nisbet1:51:37
785Mike Elliott2:03:29
795Greta Jones2:04:01
841Alan Purvis2:07:06

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