The Potters ‘Arf for me in 2008 was where my running career first began,
I entered a boy and finished a man!
This time around in 2016 dad and daughter came as a team,
Caitlin running the junior race and her first Potters ‘Arf experience, and me in the main event, was a dream.
Out for six months with injury and illness, seven weeks training may not have been the best,
However, I had worked so hard to get in shape for the start of this race and to put myself to the test.
I woke up on race day and my first thoughts were of my Nan,
Here brave battle with cancer and raising money for Dougie Mac back in 2008 was the only reason I ever ran at all,
I played her song, The Wonder of You, before setting off and it made me feel ten feet tall.
Up ‘Anley Duck and standing in the green vest of Trentham alongside my team mates,
Talking about Milton Road and how it would make or break our fates.
A sea of the Green Army descended to the start,
Tales of races and battles gone by and how many of us had played our part.
Off went the claxon and onto the battlefield we did charge,
The realisation of 13.1 hilly and undulating miles suddenly loomed large.
The rain was driving down coming out of Hanley and up Victoria Road,
I’d settled well into the race and overtaken many on the climb, as Master Yoda would say; ‘Well, this does bode!’.
Anchor Road came swift and fast and its gradient makes it a fair old climb,
My liking for hills is no secret so I was flying up it in no time!
Picking up speed through Bentilee and past more runners I did go,
Half way through the race now, feeling good and well into my flow.
Carmountside was packed with supporters all giving us a cheer,
This race is thirsty work and my thoughts were turning to a nice, cold beer!
I caught up with a pack at this point of my Trentham team mates and our very own leading lady Debbie Thomas who would be the eventual champ,
Picking up two sponges along this stretch and squeezing over my head to cool me down left me once again soggy and damp.
I pulled away from the pack as I hit the top of Milton and heading towards the final push,
Passing more runners on the way was giving me a massive rush!
Turning onto ‘Heartbreak Hill’ my legs were ready for the fight,
I dug in deep and pushed up hard using all of my might.
Breathing heavy and fighting hard I managed to reach the top and the crowds that cheered,
That hill despite its nickname is nothing to be feared!
Down to Forest Park and the final push back into town,
Despite the legs burning and heart thumping now was not the time to frown.
The wall of noise from the crowd symbolises this magnificent event,
Over the line in 86 minutes this shattered runner went.
Exceeding my expectations with that time and a placing of 30th overall I was absolutely over the moon,
A gold medal in my hand and a reminder of why I run popped in my head again, my Nan’s favourite tune.
Tired and sore, I went to bed that night with a big smile on my face,
And already thinking of improving my time next year in my absolute favourite race.
Men’s Team Captain
Trentham Running Club.