Paul’s Blog

First things first – It’s the Snowdon Marathon this Saturday so good luck to all the runners & all those who help make the event what it is & to those of you who plan to come out & cheer us on, it means a lot & is always warmly received.

Taking a fall a little under two days before a race is never ideal prep. Then add to that 3 back to back runs during the 3 days immediately before race day itself (not tapering in most people’s books). Then add to that  a typhoid jab just hours before that fall which I am blaming for a sore throat & gland coming on 3 hours before race start itself why would I be surprised that in the race I suffered more than I even feared?

The race itself is the Petzl Night Trail run in my own backyard in Coed y Brenin where I lined up on the start line for the 4th time in 5 years, the next 3 hours or so would frequently have me thinking WHY? I was not alone, there were 43 other solo runners & 85 teams (these can be all male, all female or mixed). The solo’s simply have to run a 3K loop as many times as they can in 3 hours between 6:00 & 9:00 pm with their last loop having to start before 9:00 pm. The teams simply do likewise with 3 runners per team running in relay, oh for a lack of friends to be in a team! All start with head torches which need to be pretty bright once the evening darkens.

I started with intent running my first two laps in faster splits than my best of 2018, my third lap saw me walk a hill section for the first time (as planned, the hill climbs for over a K with little let-up so needs to be respected) but I was still feeling strong & happy with how it was going (a first Gel whilst walking was taken on). Then on lap 4 during the hill my wheels began to come off to the thoughts ‘shit there’s a long way to go.’

Now this is where support becomes a vital factor in just what amount of pain Paul is going to put himself through, I shall refer to them as Paul’s Angels from Hell. These ‘Angels from Hell’ are otherwise known as Dorina, Ali & three little Angels, Alexandra, Justina & Ariana (aka my young nieces). Angels from Hell were in the start & finish area to cheer & high five me as I started each new lap which they did with gay enthusiasm so how could I let them or myself down & quit, I ran on & on……..

In truth I still felt O.K. on the descents & flats but as each lap passed the walks on the hill increased & by lap 7 even the walking felt weak so my early gains were steadily erased but at least I was able to still hope that my target of 10 laps (as achieved in my 3 previous appearances) was still on. Two more Gels & plenty of electrolyte kept me on track, just, so I was mightily relieved to high five at the start of lap 10 with a few minutes to spare. Now state of mind came into play & I suddenly had the energy burst of relief ‘you can enjoy this lap, it’s your last.’

I finished after a little more than 3 Hours 17 Minutes placing me 9th solo & even more rewardingly ahead of 55 teams but that is pretty irrelevant as we had all no doubt enjoyed it in either a Type 1 or Type 2 Fun kind of way. During my Type 2 Fun I had covered over 19 miles & climbed 4,000 feet. The atmosphere at this event is pretty unique, you frequently pass or get passed team runners with the occasional thoughts ‘is he or she a solo?’. The start & finish area is a riot of activity, Steven Edwards on the tanoy brings the action to a boil & as ever Matt Ward & his fantastic team do a wonderful job in pulling it all together.

After kisses & cuddles with the Angels Dorina took the nieces home whilst I queued for my beer & tankard with Ali & waited for the Prize ceremony, had I won my Over 50’s?

My hopes were raised as Matt introduced the O.50’s Male winner with a ‘now’s there’s a bit of a story about this guy’ (my thoughts ‘it’s me, he’s going to mention my fall on Thursday’) but hope comes before a fall & he went on to say ‘this guy has been helping me all day & he only decided to enter an hour before the off.’ I knew the name before he said it, Daffyd Roberts, an all round great bloke who lets be honest can put me in my place, 2nd, anytime he chooses & he had. Still I was only 4 minutes adrift some consolation at least.

Prize giving over I went up to Daffyd to congratulate him only to find out he’d had a bad couple of last laps & had been too stiff to remove his timing tag from his ankle. This making me feel better I couldn’t avoid the riposte of ‘well I may not be able to run as fast as you but at least I can still bend down’, our mutual laughter brought a great night in the Coed y Brenin to an end.

A post script, I awoke on Sunday morning with a sore throat & feeling a tad off colour which threw some light on Lap 4’s loss of wheels or will the Snowdon Marathon confuse this rose tinted view of things?

This entry was posted in Latest News. Bookmark the permalink.
Leave a comment

One Response to Paul’s Blog