Three numbers, three numbers, on my mind. One fifty two.... that's one hour fifty-two minutes to complete the notorious hilly, (undulating,) laugh out loud, Hanley economic potteries half marathon. Yes, the numbers game. played by many. One hour fifty-two minutes to get under. One hour fifty-two minutes to beat from two years ago.
Surprised at the course, even after what I had heard of the hills, banks, false flats call them what you will. The things that add more onto those numbers ' clicking ' away in your head. You see I'm no stranger to running, or the distance. Thirty-seven marathons, one ultra, and I have lost count of the half and 10km races I have completed. Suffice to say I am a veteran. One of the' baby boomers' trying to stay fit and healthy and not to be a burden on the overstretched NHS. The grey haired brigade that you see pounding the pavements. Good for his age, or silly old fart who would be better off employed in the garden. You make your own mind up.
I have turned sharp left leaving heartbreak behind me. Tick. Breathing coming back under control, tick. Legs a bit tired to be expected but ok, tick. Not long now. Not long at all.... I see a timed runner and his flag a little way in front. That must be the 1hr 45min pace maker I'm sure. I don't look at my watch. I don't want to jinx it! Semi-familiar landmarks. Garage, shops. Traffic lights, a dip and small rise. In touching distance now. I can hear the tannoy at the finish. I have closed down the gap on the pace setter. " We on for one forty-five? ", I ask. the guy with the beard says yes, I say "thank you " -and mean it. It’s flat and slightly downhill from here. I’ve done it. Not the best time I have ever done for the distance, but the best time I have done since I started to look like Gandalf the Grey.
One hour forty-three minutes.... bloody tick. Next time....one forty-two or under... it’s a numbers game.
Adrian no 449