After yesterdays update from Mike Harris about his fantastic run at the Great North West Half Marathon, we have reports from Blackpool. Congratulations are in order to Pat Cole and Pauline Taylor who crossed the line together in a magnificent 2hours, 13 minutes 57. David Newsham did both his daughter Charlotte and the club proud with a 1:52:44. With a performance like that we look forward to seeing David get his spikes muddy at Beacon Park next week too! Another runner who will be feeling the pressure to don a Harriers vest shortly is Gary Fitzpatrick who has been training with us recently. Gary put in a very creditable 1:34:20.
The final word from Blackpool goes to husband and wife duo Gary and Melanie Wane:
Team Wane turned up at 9.45am into Hilton the Hilton hotel which resembled a refugee camp with runners sprawled everywhere there was a space, stairs, corners, floor, under a table. Queues for the toilets were massive, of which due to nerves I used the facilities 3 times, especially after my tea / coffee mixture from a dodgy hot drinks machine.
We discussed our tactics which where the same, go out easy and see where we are at. Just before race start I went off for another toilet break and Mel went to the start. We met just before start, wished each other good luck then went to our areas. Mel just behind the 2hr 15 pace group, me at the a 1hr 45 group. Before I knew it, the gun went.
We were off into a blustery head wind with narrow paths causing congestion.
I was in the 1hr 45 group but a gobby yorkshire man, who told everyone who would listen his last 5 half marathon times and his beer intake the night before, inspired me to move slightly ahead of them after 1 mile until I could no longer hear him. Behind, Mel was chugging along at her pace and after a steady start, decided her pace was too slow so picked it up.
At around 2 1/2 miles turn around to come back down the coast and out the head wind I was still running steady miles all within 7min 51 and 7mins 57. Until mile 7 after a slight uphill where my confidence had grown passing many runners on the uphill, I decided to pick it up to put more distance between myself of the 1hr 45 group who where now about 30seconds behind me. My pace now creeping to 7mins 40 a mile.
At the same point not long afterwards, Mel had also started her assault, now eyeing the 2hr 15 group ahead of her which she had seen ahead of her all race, with thoughts of catching them and hanging on with them as long as possible.
Coming back up to the Hilton hotel and through the first lap feeling good I went along and turned again to come back south, passed 9 miles. A man was heard saying “Just a 4 miles sprint in then.” Looked at me and said, “Come on, you can pick it up, you can’t be that tired.” So either I was winning an in-race gurning comp or my run face resembles a look of a tortured man. At this point, I thought many things which cant be repeated but basically, “No way will you finish ahead of me.” (He was just under 2mins behind me. Not that I noted my number and checked the results after…)
Feeling even more confident, and starting to having an out of body experience every time I looked at my watch, being was ahead of my expected time, I was inspired me to run the fastest 3 miles of my whole run between 10 and 13 miles. With the spectators starting to cheer at the finish and a big kick up the final uphill into a headwind run in, I started to pass more and more runners and then I went numb and went, a mad dash to the line. My time 1hr 41mins and 34 seconds. A new PB. The finish photo not being the best Ive ever seen and maybe the before mentioned man had a point, I am a tortured gurner.
Further back, Mel had caught up the pace group but was in such a rhythm that she had not only caught them, but carried on past them at 10miles and was eyeing glory herself. Thoughts of running in Rio at the next Olympics, or most probably, getting back down the M6 to eye up muscular men in tight shorts at the DW Stadium for a 3pm KO of Wigan Warriors V London Broncos, inspired her to keep at it, pulling futher and further ahead of the 2hr 15 group. With the thoughts of rugby players in her mind, Mel raced home, with her own sprint finish in 2hrs 11mins and 40 secs, a mere 11mins and 12 seconds off her previous PB.
All in all, a great day for Team Wane. We even made it to the game with 15minutes to spare to watch a Warriors win.