18 February 2007

Sussex Beacon Half Marathon

There will come a day, I know, when I have to stop running. Today I had a taste of how it will feel, but I'm fairly confident that I have not reached the end of the road yet.

Entering the Sussex Beacon Half Marathon was not the greatest idea I have ever had. It's over 100 miles from home, and February is not normally spring. The Brighton seafront is notoriously windswept, and it could easily rain. But two colleagues picked it in preference to Reading, which we ran last year, so I entered too. Then they both decided they weren't fit enough to run it, by which time I had invited another running mate to join us: plus, after missing last weekend's Wokingham half marathon (much closer to home!) I was determined to see this one through.

My left knee had other ideas, although this was partly because I ran the event in a series of bursts, trying to catch aforementioned running mate having missed him at the start. I chased down several men in red shirts, one more than once, and may have had Andrew in my sights on a couple of occasions when I found I couldn't maintain the pace. So near mile 10, where the course descended to sea level from the promenade and executed a hairpin turn a couple of hundred yards from the finish, I took the direct route to the the baggage store and recovered my possessions. I think it's only the second time I have dropped out of a race (the other being the Paris Marathon, and then I did continue to the end at walking pace), and it was down in part to crazy pacing, but I thought it best to save my knee from further damage, and that will probably meet with my physiotherapist's approval when I see her on Friday.

Andrew managed his target of 1:40:00 and was pleased that I had persuaded him to do it, so there was at least some consolation. Oh, and I passed Sally Gunnell at about two miles. I have a feeling that she might not have been trying.

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