It’s been 3 weeks since a wet weekend was had in Oxford.
Since then I’ve had been bellringing, had a cold, and had my young nephew and niece come to stay. Oh yes, and the weather people forecast storm armageddon but other than 4 fatalities in the south of the country, and a few trees converted to instant firewood (well, once dried out) it would appear they maybe got carried away with their doom-mongering.
The forecast for this weekend was much less vaunted, but was pretty wild all the same. Never good when there’s a road-race imminent.
Today was the penultimate half-marathon of the 13 Challenge. Helpfully local, this was in the wonderful setting of the grounds of Capesthorne Hall.
At least it would have been a wonderful setting had the rain not been going sidewise when I arrived.
Still as the start time approached the darkest of the clouds seemed to be concentrating their efforts elsewhere and amazingly the race started in the dry.
Actually it was amazing that it started at all, given the start line wasn’t marked. At all. There was a banner on the wall which suggested it might be nearby, so we loitered near that. All 1000 runners. A bloke shouted “GO” somewhere in front of me and we were off. It really was that vague.
Now I’m not one for going mad on formalities, and the laissez-faire approach wasn’t desperately bad per se, but to be honest it felt rather amateurish.
Still off we went. The paths in the grounds were quite narrow and there was a bit of falling over people, mostly because with not knowing where the start line was, nobody really knew where to stand – normally the faster runners gravitate to the front – but we didn’t know where that was!
Anyway, the route was pretty good, flat and peaceful country lanes. Slightly embarrassing when the course photographer knows me due to the silly number of local half-marathons I’ve done this year, but at least hopefully it’ll be a good shot once he has dried out enough to consider going near a computer to upload the photos.
Yes, it did rain. Heavy showers for the most part until the last 3 miles when the dark clouds had clearly soaked everywhere else and so came back to dowse us. Legs weren’t entirely convinced by the race and I’m glad I had a gel with me. But to be fair I took the race at the fastest pace this year resulting in a season’s best of 1h35m26s by my watch, although what the official time will be is anyone’s guess, given I didn’t know where the start line was and wasn’t entirely convinced I knew where the exact finish line was either (I’m assuming it was under the blue inflatable gantry, but we’ll wait and see on that!).
Slightly frustrating to fall short and not break 95 minutes again. Still, hopefully with a bit of training for Conwy we may get there at the end. All in all though the pace was pretty steady just running out of legs at the very end.
Nice technical t-shirt, no medal, even though it was promised in the paperwork. Not that I’m bothered, I’ve a shelf full of the blighters from the other races this year, but it would be nice to know what was going on.
So all in all, a good course but a bit of a shambles. And the weather wasn’t great either. I’ve emailed the organisers so hopefully next year will be that much better.