Sunday, 9 September 2012

Bachhus Half Marathon: Double Coleslaw!

Final Push
Way back when I got a message from my favourite Aunty who said she had just signed up to the Bachhus Half Marathon... hosted at Denbies Winery in Dorking there was to be snacks and wine at the water stations and plenty of fancy dress. It seemed like a great idea to get more people involved and make this a real fun family event!

We set about recruiting and got our number to 6 one of whom was gifted the entry as her Birthday present - not sure if it was ion her list or not!!

As the day grew closer I knew my training meant a PB was not on the cards but least of all because the course was multi-terrain and hilly (this we found to be an understatement as hills were all there were... hills and sunshine).
As we lined up at the start line, our team of spectators led by my Mum (armed with her camera to film the start) we waiting to cheer us on. The sun pounded down on already at 28 degrees with no cloud cover. This was going to be a toughie.
I was running with 'Cousin Jacqueline' as her pacer and towards the end probably a task master but I think she has forgiven me. The start was packed and moving slowly so it took almost two miles before anyone could hit a steady pace. By this time we had already reached the first water station - thankfully the 'hot weather' plan was in operation and there were plenty of fuelling stations jam packed with water, wine, crisps, pretzels, raisins, jelly babies, energy gels and fresh fruit! Never before have I encountered such a smorgasbord during a race. As it was so hot we made the most of these stations and made sure we were properly fuelled and hydrated before setting off again in the blistering heat.

Proud at the finish!
The hills kept coming and were relentless, the worst of which was an incline of varying degrees of difficulty that went on for over 1.5 miles - a real test. As we reached the water station just after halfway the first of the full marathoners past us, looking strong but very hot indeed. The fancy dress was impressive and we passed smurfs, bumble bees, pirates, cavemen to name a few! The best in my option were the team of four who went as bunches of grapes who I later discovered won the fancy dress prize. They were pretty awesome!

After the halfway point we were still way to hot but more accepting and knew for sure that we would finish with the targeted time for Jacqui's first half marathon. We kept plugging away and gradually the miles disappeared beneath our feet and finally we reached the downhill to counter all the uphill’s at around 2 miles from the end. We glided down the hills - being tall and having long legs had a real advantage for us here. The distance was diminishing and it was hard to believe we had made it through the desert like conditions.

Crossing the last stretch with about 500m to go we ran through the vineyard passing many runners who were feeling the heat badly. We stepped up the pace getting faster and faster, with about 200m to go I instructed Jacqui to give it everything she had and finish strong, we ran hard together and crossed the line in triumph.

Running this race together was a fantastic experience, suffering the heat and coming through strong at the end was a real achievement for all. We helped ourselves to fruit and drinks at the finish then joined our team of supporters to cheer in the other runners. With all our runners home safe we tucked into our hog roast and wine with double helpings of coleslaw for those bold enough to demand it.

Amazing day!

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