I Rocked ‘n’ Rolled!

I defiantly Rocked ’n’ Rolled. 😀

Back in 2013 before I joined Harriers I was looking into losing weight. Sadly this was due to my comfort eating from losing my Dad. He had a tough fight and didn’t win sadly. I was at the doctors and he said why not run, so guess what? I did and never looked back.

Gaining my confidence and working my up from 5k’s to 10s I was on the verge of getting a little fed up of running on my own, and also thinking there must be a way I can improve. This thought pointed me to looking on internet and finding Parkrun. I sent myself along to Edge Hill and this became a part of my routine running plan. I have met so many friends along the way, and with this was advised maybe joining a running club. So the I hopped back on the internet and did my research. Now a lot of you may think wow you find Wigan Harriers and that’s it, but sadly no. Some clubs I had emailed near me wouldn’t take me on due to my “times”. Sadly this was starting to get to me, so I thought sack this! One day a friend suggested to look by my work and see what was around saving me having trouble rushing back to any club near mine. At the time I was working by Robin Park and low and behold there you all were. I emailed and Jayne got back to after answering my questions and telling me to come along. So I rocked up on a cold Tuesday night at the DW in January 2015 and my Harriers journey began.

So over the year I have pushed myself to my limits, doing more 5k’s, 10k’s, trails and Cross country and loved every minuet of it. So mid last year after going along to Rock and Roll Half/Full Marathon to support the team and cheer them on I then came home and signed up to the Half Marathon. I was hovering my finger over the enter button for a good few minuets, but then I pressed and that’s it I was in and no looking back.

Many months of training followed from there. Loads of sessions with the Harriers ( Yes including hills), Parkruns, running with brother, friends, dog and a few sessions with the fab downhill runners. I have had so much help and advice and then that’s it the day arrived.

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So on the 29th May I woke up with a nerves tummy, feeling a little sick won’t lie. My kit was ready and prepped from night before, so once I was ready and grabbed the kit I headed into Liverpool. For me it’s only a 10 min drive but still I was there early-ish My mum, brother & finance all coming along with me. We walked towards the start line, I kept thinking I need the loo (As always), but then I spotted a Harriers vest and another, this made my nerves slight go when on seeing Chris, Dan & Gaz. After saying our good lucks and going towards our corrals, I headed to mine. I had placed myself down for the 2:10 mark when entering and was trying to find Mel as we planned to start together. Sadly there was so many people on the bridge, finding it hard to get over, into my corral and even seeing Mel. I thought I will have to go further back and try and catch her up. This wasn’t a plan that would come out well, I then remembered Ian was pacing the 2:45 so that’s it I thought my nerves are kicking in I am going to start with friendly faces. As I spotted him, I also saw Darren, Kerry & Adrienne. The group and the crowd was all ready to go, along with Ian and his bag filled with sweets and speakers to blast out some tunes. It was defiantly a party where they were and as they said “ There ain’t no party like a 2:45 party ”. So we slowly walked up to finish, coral after coral headed out, and then it was our turn. Before I know it I was off, set through the start line to cheers from the crowd, along with my mum, brother and finance cheering me on.

As me and Darren headed through we got a little ahead of the 2:45 group and we were comfortable for the first 5 miles. Heading through the windy roads of Liverpool and then back onto the main road towards the Parliament Street was spotted by Jayne, giving us a cheers on we happy. As we turned to ward China town, I spotted my family all looking at the app, sadly for them I shouted as they were all looking down, as I shouted they missed me as I passed them, this was the last time I saw them till the end.

Heading towards Sefton park, the heat was truly starting to get to me a tad, this was 5 mile mark, and I had taken so much water in already from the water stations, I needed the loo. Lucky for me there are a few portals on the way round, but some queuing was already happening. I began to que, then while waiting Ian (2:45 pacer) passed me and said “Sarah catch us up” my reply was “I will, don’t you worry”. Once my ‘loo’ break was finished me and Darren headed back on course. He was struggling a tad and told me to go for it so I left him, he had a lot of people he knew so I knew he be ok. I did indeed catch Ian up and then over took him, as I weaved in and out of runners, I had a second wind in which I have no idea where is came from. Then in the distance I could hear more music, as it was placed round the course and already passed a few stands, this one I could hear more loud and knew the song. So that’s it Penny Lane was in sight and I knew I wasn’t far off the park and then Promenade.

Heading towards the promenade, I spotted Tony & Pauline in the crowds as they cheered me on, was a while since I saw any one I knew so was nice to see them. The park was open and had hardly any coverage form trees, so when it did it was very welcoming. The heat was getting stronger and the water stations were filling up too. We all needed the extra water intake that’s for sure. I then turned my little legs on to the Promenade and I could see the 10 mile mark in site. This was it I said to myself only a park run to go now and its the end. But no one told me the prom was made of quick sand! My feet then started to get heavy, my heads shouting run, don’t stop, but my feet were not listening. It was tough, overtime thought I saw the light at the tunnel we were brought back onto the main road again and then back on the prom. Weaving in and out, there was a fair few people struggling and just walking, but I didn’t want to stop. I looked at my watch and it was 2 hours of running, I knew I only had half an hour left to go. I saw the 12 mile mark and my head was in the clouds, had a mixture of thoughts and emotions. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep smiling or cry. Then I heard the crowd in the distance, the noise of clapping and cheering getting louder and I could see the arena in sight. I was away with myself, then I heard my name being shouted, loads of kind folk had shouted my name along the way saying well done, but this voice was one I recognised. Might be the Wigan accent, but I looked up and there was Jayne, Dave and Rachel all cheering me on, and Dave shouting “Sprint Sarah, sprint, go for it”. So you guessed it I did, I have no idea where it came from but as I passed these little legs of mine moved and sprinted, as I sprinted past runner after runner there was my family at the finish line shouting me on too. The finish line was in sight and I passed it and it read 2:34.

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Yes! I done it and that was it I couldn’t hold in any more and as I took my medal the tears came out. I walked through the tunnel in the arena to get water and banana oh and another toilet stop, my face covered in tears ( Happy tears) I was just glad to finish it. The atmosphere was great, I managed to find my family at the end, and we stayed a while to see some the fellow Harriers come in on the Marathon. It was a long day and I was in need of sit down. I did a few extra warm down stretches which helped massively.

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I can safely say that I’m pleased with my time and performance, and the thing that kept me going was the fact I was doing it for my Dad. I did also say that I would never do another half again, this thought lasted a week, and I have been looking into another. But before you all ask this won’t be till next year I think, I want to do a few more 10k’s now till year is out and I have entered two already…Opps!

Sarah-Elizabeth Coates

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