First I must congratulate all the runners that completed each day, 56 on the Saturday and 58 on the Sunday, of which 30 completed both days. Not many marathon runners can say they have completed 2 marathons in 2 days and a special well done to those who had returned for the second and third times. I feel honoured that runners enjoy the event so much that they like to return each year.
There is one young lady who doesn’t like much of a fuss but who I feel I need to mention. I’ve seen her at many marathon races over the last couple of years and every time smiling. I was honoured that she chose day 2 of our event to celebrate her 100th marathon, so special congratulations to Gillian from the Liverpool running club. I wouldn’t normally mention a lady’s age but at only 23 years 274 days Gillian became the youngest lady to run 100 marathons. Gillian, it was great to see your extra big smiles and laughter as you finished your 100th marathon surrounded by your running friends.
I think I also need to give a mention to Philip Eccleston who on day 1 just turned up and asked if there was a spare place and could he enter. Due the a few last minute drop outs we were pleased to accommodate him at this very short notice. Not only was his entry so unexpected but so was his performance. He soared round the course like no one had ever done before, almost catching the marshals out at the check points and steaming through the finish in a course record time of 2:48:01. Well done Phil, fantastic running!
I’d like to mention both the 2016 2 day champions, Gareth Tomlinson for the men who said it was the first thing he had ever won and Sally Ford for another one of her typicallymagnificent performances. I also want to congratulate all the runners who were completing their first double marathon. Notably Neil Philips for the men comfortably under 7 hours and Abby Sanderson sporting some fantastic pink and black leggings for the ladies in a little over 8 hours, well done to you all!
We have been lucky once more with the weather, a cloudy calm cool day on the Saturday and slightly warmer day on the Sunday with some pleasant spells of sunshine, almost perfect running conditions. Each year I keep wondering when our luck will run out with the weather but for one more year we have got away with it.
From my organisational perspective the event has gone better than any previously. It seems to run a bit more slick each year, I think this has come with experience of running the event and the small improvements/alternations we make year on year. We still had 3 runners deviate from the course but I’m pleased to say they were all found. It wouldn’t be a proper self-guiding trail marathon without losing a few runners for a short while.
I need to give a huge thank you to all the team of volunteers that have helped this year. I know the whole event is my mad idea but without all the help from family and friends either by volunteering or by being forcibly conscripted I couldn’t do it without you all. Firstly special thanks to Yuk-Lam for giving me permission to arrange the event, shopping for lots of the stuff we needed, for managing race registration and time keeping. Thanks to Paul & Jackie for buying the 24 crates of water from Costco, carting that lot about is probably harder work than a weights session in the gym. Thanks to Neil for helping me set up the course on the Friday. Han May for manning the kitchen both days. Thanks to Steve, Jon, Cath, Phil and Rachel for marshalling on day 1. Thanks to Emma, Lesley, Colin, Lorraine, Sarah, Cath (again), Paul, Cat and Dave for marshalling on day 2. Many thanks to Terry, Phil and Tom for all the excellent photos of the runners out on the course. I had lots of praise from the runners about all the marshals so I must pass this on, well done and thank you standing out on the course for hours looking after the runners and making sure they were all accounted for.
I’ve been reminded by Yuk-Lam to also mention and thank our kids, Abbey & Lucas for forgoing their weekend to stay at the Gin Pit and help/entertain the runners. Abbey did miss her ballet lesson which she loves. Lucas did still manage to fit in his Football match for A&T Tornadoes who managed a 4-4 draw before coming to the Gin Pit to help Yuk-Lam read the runner’s numbers at the finish line but he still missed precious time on his Xbox!
Here is just one of the many comments I have received by email, “Malc - another year, another great event. Thanks for putting it on in the usual excellent fashion. Please pass on my thanks to all of the course marshals and helpers.”
I've now finalised the figures for the Gin Pit Marathon and I’m pleased to announce we have made £1992.11. These proceeds will go to my nominated charity, the Brathay Trust,who work with disadvantaged young people steering them away from lives of drink, drugs and crime on to career paths and helping them make the most of their lives. They also run Low Bank Ground and Hinning House, 2 outward bound centres in the Lake District, on behalf of Wigan Council where hundreds of children from the Wigan area go each year. The money from this event will enable them to support more children and young people. So to everyone that entered thank you very much.
The Gin Pit Half Marathon has raised £632.90 to help fund Astley & Tyldesley Runner Runners.
At the finish of day 2 lots of the runners told me how they had enjoyed the event, thanked me for putting it on and how they were looking forward to returning next year. Does that mean I will have to arrange it all again in 2017?