When I started putting the 13 Challenge itinerary together in January this year I spent a lot of time with shift patterns, websites, personal knowledge and a piece of paper with a pin.
By the time one has factored in weekend working the choice of races drops dramatically. And apart from that I didn’t want to be travelling too far from home as I rely on my own steam to get to the races which usually means driving back afterwards.
What was useful was the number of local races alongside an increasing choice of races in North Wales. It’s a place I spent many childhood holidays (admittedly often sat in a caravan in a wet field in the driving rain). And I guess with that in mind, I didn’t return to the area for over 20 years!
Until 2013 when 5 of the 16 events which made up the 13 Challenge were on the North Wales coast. And whilst the weather is typically unpredictable (often erring on the side of raining) the scenery always blows me away.I always enjoy my visits.
Today was the 5th and final trip of 2013 to race in North Wales. The destination was Conwy which is easy to get to and well worth the 90 minute drive from home.
It’s actually the second trip to the Conwy area as the North Wales Half Marathon started at the Marina on the other side of the town (and promptly ran up Conwy Mountain) but today the start and the finish were underneath the impressive and imposing Conwy Castle.
This was a big race – 2700 runners, a sight which snaked along the Quayside as the width was practically as narrow as the race start/finish gantry itself!
The course was less arduous than the NWHM but was not straightforward either – especially if you’re like me and misread the hill elevation in feet rather than metres – trust me, it makes a BIG difference. I turned up thinking this might be a PB course, but unless you’ve never done a flat sprint race before, this is a challenge.
I wasn’t fit enough really and it showed towards the end when my legs decided they’d had enough. Never great when there’s an audience, but they cheered me along enough to keep trying them. And despite probably 100 people passing me in the last few miles I clocked a respectable time of 1h41m19s and was 416th across the line.
So that was the last half-marathon of the 13 Challenge. Just the 10 miler to go in a fortnight’s time.
This week just passed was difficult as it included what would have been Mark’s birthday and our wedding anniversary as well as the more sombre spectre of the anniversary of his burial.
Fund Raising for Myeloma UK has passed £1,200 now. According to Just Giving it’s now 82% of the funding target, so over my next few weeks at work I’m hoping to get a few more pledges. And if you would like to donate online I’d be massively grateful. All the details are at http://www.justgiving.com/SWFN-the13Challenge.