Despite a few bleary eyes owing to the early start, everyone appeared to be in fine fettle as we waited for “The Panda Bus” to arrive. This was only the second time that the race had taken place, so more than half of the assembled throng were doing this event for the first time. Eventually, the bus set off, and the banter and jollification began.
It was a stunning “clear blue sky and crisp” sort of day, excellent conditions for running, and as the temperature slowly rose, a number of WRC-ers were re-assessing their clothing, toileting and gel consumption strategies. At 9am, the Marathoners began with pockets of WRC Cheer Squads supporting the runners and making themselves known to all around them. Exactly an hour later, the same thing occurred as the Metric Runners put their best feet forward.
The course divided opinion. It’s not flat by any means, and whilst it undulates, it’s only the final mile back into the City Centre that really hurts. Clearly, the race organisers were aware of this and they had organised for “Race Angels” to run with people up this hill to ensure that they were able to keep going, a very nice and welcome touch from the people that had volunteered to assist in this way. Of course, the WRC Cheer Squad was on this hill too. It’s so easy to under-estimate the impact that this has on not just us, but other runners too. They are absolutely priceless and screamed and shouted themselves hoarse.
The last mile was rather wonderful. Downhill onto The Little Roodee, a gentle sweep alongside the Dee where the crowds stood three or four deep, and then a final sashay back onto the racecourse, welcomed by the muffled squeaks from the race commentator and then a “Wall of Sound” from WRC of which Phil Spector would have been proud.
Everyone played their part, but the first timers at each distance really require special mention. We saw PB’s not just being broken, but were ground into the dust. We had cramp attacks just a 100 metres from
the line. We saw tears streaming from some who couldn’t come to terms immediately with what they had achieved. Demons were banished, and the love, respect and camaraderie were there for all to see on sweaty and salt encrusted faces.
Mr Bryan Senior captured all of this and more on the pictures he took both during and after the race and they speak volumes.
It was time to climb up through the stands to get back to the Fun Bus. Legs, backs, bums and heads ached – not just in pain, but with pride too, with most, if not all, already plotting how they could improve on their time next October.
WRC went to, were seen & heard at, and conquered The Deva. Bang Tidy!
26.2 miles :
Mark ‘Danno’ Daniels