Dead Runners society race report
Four Villages half marathon - sunday 23rd
Back from California on January 8th, 10 days later I had a job interview at Oxford University and they offered me the job starting in April :-) I had some good news to take home to my family when we went up north for another run in the Helsby half-marathon.
Hello deads Tony here posting for the Tiger team here in cold and windy England, this post is coming from Tony's computer rather than Shelley's computer, I have got myself an internet connection of my own which I will use as my "midweek" net connection when I go to work at Oxford University in April and have to spend my week days living in Oxford.
Last sunday we were "up north" visiting Tony's family in Warrington, Cheshire. We also ran in one of Tony's favourite races, the Helsby/4 Villages half-marathon. I first ran this race way back in 1985 and the 2000 edition was to be my 11th run in this race, back in 1992-5 I ran sub 1h24 4 years in a row with my pb of 1h22.51 set in 1992. Last year this was my comeback race after my knee fracture in 1998 and I got round in 1h36.27, one of the better races for me in 1999. Shelley had also entered the race but it was just going to be a long training run for her after a rib injury. So off we went, met up with lots of old running friends from my home town running club, Spectrum Striders. It was a cold day with a bit of a breeze but at least the sun was shining. I did about 1/2 mile to warm up before the race, met up Spectrum Striders runner and Eurodead Mike Bate. Mike was claiming that he was unfit and overweight and was just going to jog around, he had a jogging pouch strapped around his waist with a hat and an extra drink just in case, Mike believes in being prepared for races, no doubt he had a bag of sand in there as well :-)
Just before the start we all shuffled forward and bang, nothing happened and then we all started to jog very slowly. There were about 2000 runners so it was a bit crowded at the start, first 1/2 mile was very slow before I got going properly, continuously weaving my way through. I passed 1 mile in 8.28, moving reasonably well although it was still crowded. After 10 minutes someone said "hello Tony", it was the person who I used to sit behind in school 20 years ago, I hadn't seen him for over 15 years, I had a brief chat before going on my way. From 1.5 miles I was running along with John, one of my Spectrum Striders clubmates and we ran along together chatting away. 2 miles in 15.29/6.59, 3 miles in 22.42/7.13, 4 miles in 29.56/7.12 and I got to 5 miles in 37.15/7.24. I was just about on schedule by now, the plan was to get to 5 in 37, 10 in 1h13 and finish under 1h35. I picked up the pace and pulled away and kept on passing runners, it wasn't feeling as easy as I was now working harder and we were running into the wind. 6 miles in 44.16/7.01, 7 miles in 51.19/7.03, approaching 8 miles I was starting to feel tired as the hilly part of the course started. 8 miles 58.46/7.27, slowed up the hill and by now a few runners were passing me although I was still gradually working my way through. 9 miles in 1h06.05/7.19 and 10 miles in 1h13.20/7.15. This was on the worst uphill of the race, still on schedule, slogged away up to 10.5 miles and then we had a bit more down than up in the undulations. 11 miles in 1h20.38/7.18, just after 11 we turned onto a nice long straight downhill, feeling pretty tired by now but I was able to stride out a bit down the hill, wheeee! 12 miles in 1h27.16/6.38 and that was the end of the downhill, really tough going in last mile, it took a long time to get back into Helsby but I kept plugging away, passed 13 miles in 1h34.09/6.51 and ran in hard to finish in 1h34.45, right on schedule.
Pretty tired on finishing but not totally trashed, I could have gone faster at the start but I didn't want to overdo it. I met up with Mike Bate just after I got through the finish area, he had discarded his bag of sand early on and run about 1h30. Back to the race HQ for some post race drinks and a chance to tell our "war stories" and to meet up with some more Spectrum Striders. I got changed just as Shelley arrived back at race HQ having run 2h04.39.
Shelley Walsh and Tony Bell
Milton Cambridgshire England
Shelley Walsh Shelley@shells.demon.co.uk
Tony Bell Tony@shells.demon.co.uk
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