English Half Marathon

After the exertions of the relays the day earlier, I arrived in a foggy Warrington not confident of a good race writes Gary Wane.

I dumped my bag into the baggage area before briefly seeing the Towns duo and Pete Gregory. I went out and found Chris Green and we went on a brief warm up. On our way to the start we bumped into Paul Platt and Gaz Holland. Talk was of sub 1hr 30 and 1hr 35 times. I was hoping for a sub 1hr 45 and hoping to at least be close to my PB of 1hr 39m 39s. Run to 10miles and see where I’m at was my plan. PB pace and see how long I could hold it.
Soon the race started and we were off. Paul Platt slowly pulled away with Chris Green whilst I settled in next to Mr Holland. Stuart Towns soon passed and by mile 2 as we passed Victoria Park, Gaz pulled away from me too. I felt low and my legs were feeling heavy already. Still only 11miles to go…. My stomach dropped! It was going to be a long morning.

The course went up over a bridge (flat course my arse I thought) and I heard my watch beep. I looked at the 5km mark and, with some quick maths, realised I was quicker then my previous PB pace. I perked up and though just keep it going. And I did through the steady climb through km 6,7 and even passing Chris Green coming up to mile 5. As I passed him my only thoughts were, “Keep going keep him behind you as long as possible, he’ll pass you later when your legs go.”

The country roads and water stations passed and soon I passed the half way point – just over 47minutes, still on PB pace. I was surprised. The same was through mile 7 and 8 then we hit a big downhill section. I was now overtaking people on the downs and my pace had increased! I was overtaking people and felt great. I was bouncing and my mindset was changing. I arrived at a big hill up to the bridge and just kept my head down, pumping my arms and passing more runners. I went over the top of the bridge and saw a few people ahead. I kicked again to catch up some runners ahead. My only thoughts were keep going. With a mile or so to go we entered the town centre. I was with a Warrington runner. We passed a large bunch of runners from his club encouraging him. One shouted, “Come on, do him!” He passed me.

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I got angry. I passed him back straight away and thought, “Suicide pace! Quick finish or collapse trying.” Soon I was at the 13mile mark with my legs screaming. I can only imagine my gurn. I was still ahead of the Warrington runner and we were both passing people. I turned the final corner and went. I can only liken it to an out of body experience. I have no idea how I kept my dash to the line going. I felt I was out of control of my legs. I honestly don’t think I could have stopped if I tried. I passed a few runners in the last 50m and crossed the line. I must have stopped my Garmin as I don’t remember much except my legs being on fire and feeling sick. I came around a bit and realised I was on my haunches in the corner near a metal fence. I stood up and was handed a medal. I looked at my watch. 1hr 35m 38s. Boom. New PB. It nearly killed me but I did it. Part of me is still in Warrington but I don’t mind. PB!!!

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