Posted: 20/10/2014 at 17:21
So yet again I am sitting on Monday pulling off toenails, draining blisters for the fourth time and wondering if perhaps it might be time to take up crochet as a hobby. Round Rotherham 50 is a relatively easy off road 50 mile event given that you have to navigate round the route yourself using strip maps - but BA has a bit of a reputation for getting hopelessly lost on it. He is not the only one, a runner was found by the police at 2.00am Sunday last year [event finish 10pm Sat] way off route in a different town
Anyway I now always do the event with BA as it means a slower time, but not having to wait for hours at the end. With my broken rib we reckoned we might be more evenly matched this year and decided to take the 6.00am start in case I had to walk most of it. Unusually over 200 of the 500 odd runners took the early start, usually it is just a handful, so we had plenty of company. It was obvious from the start that BA was struggling and I kept having to stop and wait for him. By the second checkpoint [17 miles] we were already over 30 minutes down on last year, in better conditions. He decided to pull out as he was worried that if I stayed with him I might get timed out myself and he didn't want to continue on his own.
I must admit that I just legged it out of the checkpoint and left him eating cake, waiting for a lift. Although I couldn't run as fast as previous years on anything even slightly slippery [or uphill] I found the rib felt OK at a slow, steady jog with walk breaks on the steepest, most slippery sections. My only real problem was getting over some of the rickety stiles, where I could feel the tugging on my side. Got to half way nearly 40 minutes down on last year, but then surprised myself on the second half by going faster than last year. Negative splits aren't really likely on this route as the second half is about an hour slower than the first half, with more fields, stiles and mud - but I was pleased to keep going and in the end made it back with plenty of daylight to spare and only 25 minutes slower than last year.
It was really hot and humid, but luckily there were some sections with a good breeze later on which made it just about bearable. At the very end there is a short section across the college car park to the finish and I suddenly realised that 2 guys who had been lurking about 100 yards behind me for some distance, allowing me to do all the navigation, were about to try and outsprint me to the finish. They probably started an hour after me, but there was a principle at stake and I suddenly found myself winding up the pace across the car park getting a little faster every time I heard footsteps closing and being cheered to the rafters by the [mainly female] supporters at the finish line. I collapsed across the line ahead to the two and then thought 'WTF was that all about??'.
Anyway I survived but the lack of running any sort of distance over the summer took its toll on my feet. Stupidly wore new shoes, which although exactly the same as pairs I have worn for years, obviously could have done with a bit more breaking in. I only realised how dehydrated I was when I stopped, despite drinking three or fours cups of water at every checkpoint. I couldn't face alcohol at all that night and ended up getting full value for the £2.25 endless refills on soft drinks at the restaurant - although I was getting a few funny looks by the end of the evening
BA is pretty fed-up, but is being stoic - hopefully it was just a bug he picked up. Next weekend is the British Masters X country relay on