Sunday, 15 June 2014

Hendon Brook Half Marathon(ish) 15th June 2014 by Cath Hodgetts

This was was suggested by a friend from another Club who has run it before. They did warn me it was a tough one (especially mile 11 but they told me that AFTER I entered!).
It was actually advertised as 13.5 mile but measured on my watch somewhere between 13.1 and 13.5 miles.
I got there in plenty of time with only a vague idea of what was in store for me on the route (what's new?). The weather was drizzly and muggy. By the time I had collected my number, found the start and done all the usual pre-race route the drizzle had stopped and we had a dry start to the race.
The first half or so mile is down hill so a nice warm up. We were warned by the race organisers not to go off like idiots (translated this means too fast) at the beginning or we would suffer on the hill coming up to around the 1 mile point. Well I never go off too fast me (yeah right I hear people say). I took heed of this warning and just enjoyed the easy start as I knew that this wasn’t going to be pretty or easy.
The first 3ish miles went in a slow plod of ups and ups with a few down hills. At somewhere between, I think, 3-4 miles there was a nice little stream to get over with stepping stones. Easy to get past yes? No not for my feet! I should have stopped to walk this a bit sooner than I did. I took one step onto the slippery cobbles that were the stream bed and promptly fell on my face and yes there were people about who witnessed this messy sight (I told you it wasn’t pretty). I banged by ankle bone on the stones and my ankle from then on decided to do some pay back by swelling up and generally complaining occasionally. All is well now apart from slight bruising and a bit of swelling which will go down in time.
Anyway from here on in with people passing me I was convinced that I was going to come in last so may as well just enjoy the scenery and get on with just plodding round. After the first half of the race was completed there were some decent down hill sections. Some of them were as steep as the up hills, but think there were only a couple that I needed to take easy and slow down on.
Then came the dreaded hill at 11 miles. Hill? What hill? I thought. I see a great big mountain to get up but no “hill”. With tired legs, tired mind and tired everything else that's how it looked. I staggered up it best I could. Once finally at the top I thought I couldn't find any more energy to keep on going. I still had about a mile and half to go and my legs were saying stop and rest, walk, anything but run. I talked them round by thinking that the worse is done, this race hasn’t beaten me yet and more importantly most of the route that was left is down hill.
Well I got to the finish line eventually. I wasn’t last much to my surprise, OK I only had about 3 runners behind me but that doesn’t matter. Even being last doesn't matter, what matters is I did it, I finished and more importantly I definitely didn’t give up even though my body wanted to rest.
The clock read 2 hrs 28 and some seconds which I didn’t notice when I crossed the finish line, my watch read 2 hrs 28 mins and 11 seconds. I’m happy with that time as I was estimating between 2 hrs 15 and 2 hrs 30 so I was spot on there. Not seen the official results yet.
Anyone who is thinking about doing this race bear in mind the following – it is extremely hilly, its not a PB course, its hilly, its tough, it has lots of up hills (being hilly) but there are great views when you actually get to look round you and if you happen to like golf (I don’t by the way) it starts near the golf course, oh and did I say its HILLY!!!

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