Date: Monday 2nd June 7:30pm
Description: A very special run. A very special race.
135 hours spent running
15 months of training
That’s right, after 15 months, 1,200km, 17,000m of ascent, 135 hours of heavy breathing, sweating and calorie burning, I reach my 19th race and 100th run! A century!
I wasn’t even sure I was gonna run this race, bearing in mind 24hours ago I was dragging my feet up nightingale valley exhausted, and dripping with sweat after 28k! But it was looking like a great Southville turnout, and I was looking forward to the technical off road bits. So despite the heat, the soggy mud and what little energy I had, I thought what they hell…
…It was a great SRC turnout. A warm up and a recce up those final steps to the finish, it’s time to start. Nervous, conscious of the formidable competition present. Part of the reason I think I did so well at the one last year was a blistering start and no other option but to hold on till the end. I don’t want to spend this entire race being distracted and worrying about other people. So I just edge my way to the front, and then run like fuck. Just get out in front and try to stay there!
It’s tough to keep up. One blessing is that I’m in a group of two people from SRC I get on well with. We occasionally swap positions over the undulating terrain, but we cheer each other on with “go on Southville”.
I’m still in front of where I want to be. I’m not gonna look back. I’ve just got to believe and keep running. I overtake one SRC on the long straight field, and then when we get to the final steps I overtake the other. The last few steps are pretty muddy and I have to slow a bit to get traction. I keep pushing up those last steps, but I think I must have this in the bag now. I probably ease off a few percent as I can see the light through the trees. Past the treeline, I’m onto the final flat to the finish. Nearly there.
After a slog up the steps, my mind dull, warms to the relief of seeing the finish. It wanders, thinking of the relief of walking and sitting down once through. But now there’s a knife at my back. I can hear breathing behind to my right. That’s got my attention back. I turn my head. OH FUCK!
“COME ON!!!” I scream.
I run, I sprint for my life.
Arms, legs flailing, saturated with adrenaline, I charge my way to that line. I’m so close. The stewards are waving at me to slow down through the funnel. No fucking way am I slowing down! I shoot out the back of the funnel like a raging bull and don’t look back. I manage to slow down before I hit the trees. But there was no one in front of me when I crossed that line!
That’s for that ParkRun!
After gasping for air like a fish out of water, finally getting my breath back, I stagger back to the SRC gang. They say they have never seen anyone sprint finish so fast.
On the bus home, I sit on the top deck and reflect. What a run that was! I was faster, but only by a whisker. I was so close to losing out on that. I walk away from that thinking that was too close. There was nothing really in that, but to me the glass seems half empty.
No let up.