Wilmslow Half Marathon by Colin Mcevoy
This is a long one but please read at least the last half, thanks
With a 1030 start and the promise of a fast course, Wilmslow half was Emma’s final race before the big day in London. Unfortunately, although a day of great running and a new PB, it was to be clouded by a stark reminder of the importance of, amongst other things, filling in the information on the back of your race number.
Arriving nice and early (0900) and with the sun trying to force its way through the clouds we arrived in Wilmslow and decided on a walk up to the start area to get the important stuff done, hot brew and scope for cake at the finish.
We had a chat with the volunteers at ‘The Christie’ tent, who Emma is raising funds for and then headed back to the car to get ready.
We had a nice easy warm up and headed to the start, after chatting to a ladybird who was waiting for a bumble bee and bumping into an old nemesis it was time for the off.
I’d been slacking with training since finishing Snowdon in October and Emma dragging me out on her London training is the only reason I’d done any at all, so with this in mind I headed off at a brisk but steady 7min/mile pace.
As I got into it I slowly stopped the slow flow of people heading past me and began reeling in a few places, then I started targeting a few people, then Macc Harrier vests became the target of choice… I’d upped my pace to to 6:40 ish so backed off a little (I’d been slacking remember).
It’s a strange course, there are lots of downs so I spent the race waiting for the big up hill slog that had to be coming at some point. The only really noticeable up hill that I found is the one you go down about the mile point, you come back up heading back in… I do tend to run in a world of my own though so some may disagree.
Still running steady at under 7 min, people were starting to struggle, you could hear the breathing and more and more dropped off the pace. I was feeling good, I even sprang forward a few places to someone wearing a Snowdon t-shirt and had a chat about doing it again (you’d have to be stupid apparently). I passed more and more people and less than a mile from the finish I was shocked to be shouting encouragement to my old Macc Harriers nemesis as I went past (he’d been slacking as well and was 14 min off his usual time) and crossed the finish (with a few blisters after forgetting my socks) in 1:29:54 to place 297/3764.
Quick water stop and it’s off to find Emma…
It’s quite hard going back against the flow whilst trying not to get in the way so it was just over a mile from the finish where I found Emma with a pained look on her face. “My legs hate me and my feet hurt” was her greeting and after doing 20 miles (her longest ever run) the Sunday before I wasn’t surprised she was aching. I fell in next to her and after some encouragement up the last hill, round a few corners we passed the 13 mile point. Just after this I spotted the finish and pointed it out to Emma… I started to explain I couldn’t cross the line with her so I’d fight the crowd and see her after the finish area but she just waved me off, picked up the pace and ran off taking a few runners as she sped over the line in 2:16:28 for a new PB. Despite the ‘hills’ I’d definitely do this one again, it’s a really nice course on closed roads.
Next stop London with the Wigan Army of runners and supporters
As I mentioned at the start, the race was unfortunately tinged with sadness as a fellow runner who, although appearing fit and well, lost his life out on the course. As I went back to find Emma, the ambulance and paramedics were already on the scene working on resuscitation. With nothing that I could have done to help, I carried on past the scene and left it to the professionals to do what they could. Thankfully as i came back around the ambulance was moving off so Emma didn’t have to witness it and we carried on to the finish.
One of the thoughts, as well as how, who, why and thoughts of family, is what if it had been me?…
I never give it much thought but on this race, with no one that we knew running, Emma would have known nothing about it until after finishing and not being able to find me at the finish area… My phone (with emergency contact programmed) was in my car and I hadn’t filled in the details on the back of my race number so who would they have told? My race number didn’t even have my name on it.
I’ve pulled the following statement from the Wilmslow Half website…
We are deeply saddened to announce the loss of Alan Lumley following this year’s Waters Wilmslow Half Marathon. The family has asked for the tribute below to be made public. Our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.
Alan was born in Warrington, grew up in Darlington and thereafter moved to Manchester. He went to Barnard Castle School and later studied Law at the University of Manchester and BPP Law School.
Alan was a talented solicitor working for DLA Piper and was recently shortlisted for two Young Lawyer of the Year awards.
Alan was an excellent sportsman; playing rugby league and union throughout school, both at county school-boy level. In recent years, Alan was a keen runner and had previously completed ten half marathon and 10K races. Running was a passion that he shared with his girlfriend of eight years Nicky Harris. Alan enjoyed playing golf was also an avid Liverpool FC and Warrington Wolves supporter.
Alan’s Mum, Dad, Sister and Girlfriend commented: “Alan was the kindest and most loving son, brother and boyfriend that anyone could ever wish for. He was loyal, thoughtful and was liked and admired by everyone he met. Due to his sharp intellect and captivating personality he had established a successful career which showed great promise. He had been renovating his first home in Cheadle Hulme with Nicky and was looking forward to being an usher at sister Julia’s wedding in eight weeks time.
“Our lives have been shattered by the tragic loss of Alan on his 31st birthday during the Wilmslow Half Marathon on 3 April 2016. His memory will live on through us as we will celebrate his life the way he lived his – doing the things he loved with the people he loved.”