Longer than a week in Politics? Who knows. Anyway, things have picked up lately, and as mentioned in Alex’s Post, I completed Taunton after taking his advice on running without a watch, all I focused on was finishing in my own time, no mean feat after my personal disaster at Hogweeds Hilly…
So, I plodded round in 2.24, yep, no record breaker but after recent form I’m just pleased to have 13.1 miles under my belt. Taunton Half itself is a pleasant run with a field of approx 1500 plus a further smaller field running two laps to complete a Marathon at the same time. The course is undulating, country lanes, but crowd and marshall friendly. The field is more from the other side of Taunton, but I did spot a few Bristol vests and faces, and lets give a big up for Trinity Booth of Thornbury RC, my local club, who finished 2nd F45 and 5thF overall in the Marathon with 3.37, and the omnipresent Dave Wintle of Hogweed Trotters, as mentioned in these pages before who clocked a Marathon time of 3.32.
I had better mention how I had to blow out the Forest of Dean Trails Half Marathon as I was on a big march in London the day before, you may have heard about it, but that’s a whole other blog! Anyway, it was a very long day, early up and late back, and given the aforementioned bad hilly half run I didn’t feel right so focused on further training before Taunton.
Which brings me up to date with the 2nd Ashton Court Parkrun trial on Saturday, a need for volunteers meant I went along to Marshall with my Wife Tina, and there was approx 27 runners this time, all sorts, ages and abilities, on a lovely Spring Morning. After starting down by the Mansion House the runners headed up past the deer park, up past the golf course, and the 2.5k turnaround where I stood and gave encouragement to the friendly field. It’s then downhill and back to the Mansion House finish. Most enjoyable, and I look forward to having a crack at the stiff course when I’m ready.
I then took the opportunity to make it a long run home, so headed from Ashton Court to home at lower lower Almondsbury (better known as the Peoples Republic of Patchway!!) fyi I took as straight a flat line as I could, never easy here thanks to them Romans(!) and ran over the Suspension Bridge (lovely) past the Zoo and the Downs (nice) and took in Kellaway Ave and Filton Rd out to the A38 and kept going to finish down at Thornbury High St. It went ok, I took in drink stops along the way as hate carrying drinks, just carry change for when needed, it was a warm sunny day but with a breeze, I kept in the shade where I could but got hot and dehydrated after 2 hours of running, by which time it was midday, 2 -3 hours is never easy, but crucial Marathon build-up training. I made it to Thornbury in 2 hours 45 for 15 miles taking in those stops, disappointed it was only 15 miles but well chuffed to have built my stamina back up - thanks to Taunton, I do love Half Marathons and feel they are a base for so many levels of running.
Refreshed with drinks but leg weary I thought I’d try and get the bus back up those few miles home, so asked the driver how far my remaining £1.70 would get me, not far it turned out, the bus fare was £3.85 up the road, so I had no choice but to start walking, and headed back up the hill, where something really nice happened; the Driver stopped and let me on anyway! It was a lovely moment, and I took to my seat feeling like Dustin Hoffman in the Graduate when he’d got the girl, smiling to myself I mused on a great day at Ashton Court meeting fellow minded volunteers, marshalls and runners, and the kindness of the Bus Driver. And you know what…? We keep hearing about developing a big society, whatever that means, but days like these tell me we already are Dave, we already are. Happy running!