Today I dedicate my blog to four amazing men; Stan Coultier, Derek Ralphs, Keith Peacock (the three amigos) and David Marsh. Running Liverpool Spring 10k with them today was truly amazing and it has to be one of my favourite races.
I wasn’t planning on doing the 10k originally. I have Milton Keynes half tomorrow but the race looked like so much fun last year and it’s getting more women than men entering which doesn’t happen very often. So I decided to go and turn it into a mini dopey training by sticking a 5k on the front, which is why I ended up at Halewood 5k yesterday. The day started with heavy rain making a racket outside my bedroom window, I almost stayed in bed, but once I was on the WRC party bus I was looking forward to it. Then I realised I’d forgot my watch. I checked if my old one was in my bag and it was… with a blank screen and a dead battery. I felt like my arm had been chopped off. No watch, no pace, no time and no evidence on Strava. I was pretty gutted which sounds bad because it’s just a watch but it is like my best friend during a race. Racing without it would be interesting.
I have no idea what pace I was going when the race started. I think it was fastish but my legs were tired from the day before so it was hard to judge if I was going too fast without my watch pacing me. The first couple of k were hard work but I could see the Amigos in front of me gradually getting closer (stopping to hug every marshal) and so I decided to run with them, have some fun and hopefully keep up. The next however many miles were so funny (except for Keith’s leg issue and Derek swallowing some of his fake moutashe. Derek struggled with his breathing for the rest of the race but Keith became like Superman when he stripped off his base layer for his wonderful wife Joyce, instead of keeping him going David had to slow him down).these men never let anything keep them down though, they chanted, clapped, high fived and bear hugged any marshal they came across and the fantastic bands, music and spectators along the course certainly added to the sense of atmosphere. It was so funny to watch and be apart of and its a great reminder that running isn’t all about times and targets. If that had been my last race every I wouldn’t have changed a thing. These men just love running and runners so much that it’s just a joy to be around them and it’s great to be around like minded crazy people (Although David seems pretty, Keith, Stan and Derek are all slightly bonkers which is why I get on with them).
Since I didn’t have my watch I don’t have a record of the route or elevation and so I had to ‘borrow’ them from strava. When I did Sefton Park 5 last year it was all in the park and I really didn’t enjoy that route so I was a bit worried about today but a lot of the course was actually on the roads which was much better. There were a couple of hills which might have been a challenge if I’d been trying for a time but I didn’t really notice them today. I like the end of the course where you go back on where you started (passing the amazing band again) because after that last hill it’s a nice long incline to the finish line. We crossed the finish in who knows what time. It’s not important. We still together, in one piece and still laughing so we had a great race regardless of how long it took. Stan was jealous because the announcer said my name at the finish and not his which was great!
Organisation at the finish was really good. There was different exits depending on tshirt size which was a genius idea really and kept everyone moving. The volunteer on the line for smalls was pretty strict with only allowing people with a small sticker through which is great to see, it’s not nice if you finish to find out they’ve ran out of your t-shirt size. I loved the design of the finish too with the last straight stretch filled with spectators cheering. Thank you to WRC for cheering me on at the end. We got a t-shirt, medal and a pretty nice goody bag (I gave the tin of Salmon we got to Joyce so it’s not in the photo). We sat in the cafe afterwards for a little while (Stan bought me a doughnut and a drink so I’m thinking he don’t hate me as much as he pretends to). Some of the kids were tiny but moving pretty fast, I saw one boy stropping with his father because he wasn’t going fast enough. I got to meet the lovely Sharon Bullock from Run or Cake in person too. On the way to the pub to meet WRC we watched the last finishers of the 10k who must have took around 2ish hours. Not only did they clear the route for them (I’ve finished racers where you have to dodge pushchairs and runners who have finished and are heading home, it’s certainly not a pleasant experience), the Samba band ran and quickly got into position to give them an amazing finish. It was so nice to watch the last runners being given the same experience as the first, very impressive and well done. Oh and I also loved the race bibs too, I wish I’d entered early enough to get my name on my bib because you had no number, just your name(hopefully photos are not searchable by bib number though otherwise there might be a few issues). I wangt to go back and do the race again next year but with my watch and without a 5k the day before and a half marathon the day after.