Two hours of sweat followed by six hours of aching limbs - why do we runners do it? I'm not quite sure, but there is a certain addictive quality to running and nothing brings it out more than a race! Sunday was the local Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon, although I just ran the Half Marathon, along with 6000 others of all shapes, sizes and ages. Forgive a few minutes indulgence in my non-gardening interests!
I have to commend the organisers on a well planned run despite the horrendous roadworks all round Nottingham. This meant numerous route changes including a tedious stretch through the Boots factor rather than going up into Wollaton Park. Although nothing ever goes smoothly on such big events and apparently the lead car for the Mini Marathon failed resulting in some of the runners being misdirected. Search parties are out looking for three families who are still looking for the Finish line!
Two hours (and a bit) running on your own makes you aware of all sorts of things and this run made me aware of different noises, perhaps particularly so as the roads were cleared of traffic. Some people are noisy runners and you have to look and see if they are running in army boots. Some huff and puff. Others are the chatterers - generally of one sex! Personally I have no spare breath to chatter! Then there are the bystanders with music, bells, hooters or just shouting encouragement. Another time we could do without the ear-splitting 'music' from Gem 106 Radio, although I guess I did run faster to escape it.
I had almost missed the start as my taxi was 15 minutes late, we then hit solid traffic which meant I had to get out and walk the last mile or so to the event and then there was the inevitable huge queue for the toilets. Whilst waiting I was chatting to a couple, who I later encountered on the race and gave me a friendly greeting. As they ran on and the lady said 'I'm counting him', I realised they were playing a game clocking up who could see the most familiar faces. We must have been running at similar rates because we overtook each other several times. By the last time she had dubbed me 'Toilet man' - thanks very much!
So after 13.1 miles, 2 hours and 13 minutes later, toilet man, alias Ian, crossed the finish line to the tumultuous roar of the crowd (just for me?). Not bad for an oldie but 8 minutes slower than my last 1/2 marathon in February! Must be that extra mile I had to walk before the race - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!