The Chester marathon – the first half

2 06 2010

What a wonderful feeling to be running a marathon again. A small enthusiastic crowd cheered us on as we passed through the lovely village of Guilden Sutton in the morning sun.

The atmosphere was friendly and supportive. You really felt the good wishes coming off the other runners, everyone seemed happy and there was a lovely hum of voices as many renewed old acquaintances.

Suddenly at mile 1. Mick and Phil arrived alongside me – truly legends of the marathon world. I introduced myself, shook Mick by the hand and said hello to Phil. Just as quickly a hill appeared and they lost their momentum. So tough pushing a wheelchair around a marathon ! This was Mick and Phil’s 40th marathon together.

We looped around a road then bridleway building up speed and were then onto the Greenway (a disused railway track now cycle path) and sent on our way towards Wales.

I was ahead of my target time at 2 miles by a minute. Too fast ! I mustn’t gain anymore and concentrated on keeping a minute ahead of my target time for as long as I could muster.

The route was flat and straight. Runners in my group looked steady. A nice sensible pace for a four hour marathon. It was now time to settle in and do the ground work. Concentrate and make sure I stayed at nine minute pace.

Well before half way the leaders in the field were passing by on the way back. My God ! All stony faced with their race faces. I wonder if we looked as determined. Encouragement was shouted from within our ranks. Nothing came back until a Wrexham club athlete passed in third or fourth place and shouted “well done” – a gentleman among the “elite”.

The Greenway passed over a busy trunk road and soon we were looping down into Queensferry and the River Dee. Roughly the half way point. I completed the half marathon in 1:58 or so. My pace making was still to plan.

I now noticed I was starting to overtake people . Many had gone out too fast and the warmth (about 18 degrees) was starting to have an effect.

I still felt good and set off back towards Chester. The field had now begun to stretch out and I was surprised to find myself picking up runners one by one without any effort.

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