20 October 2010

The End

The BBC reports that the Cardiff half-marathon at the weekend was 211 yards short. It quotes one participant who wasn't pleased - and I can imagine lots of ordinary people thinking that perhaps he should get a life. I hope I'm wrong - and that everyone who reads it will be impressed by his commitment and achievement, as they should be by the commitment and achievement of all long-distance runners.

I'd feel miffed if I found a half-M was short, by any significant amount. I don't compare my Garmin miles with the mile markkers, but I can understand those who do - although given the Garmin Glitches I have experienced since I started using mine, I wouldn't rely too much on it measuring accurate miles. Over 26 miles and 385 yards (or 42.195 km, which is in fact the official distance, metricated in 1921), or even over half of that, I expect a GPS device would be pretty accurate - rather like an atomic clock: no good for measuring fractions of a second, but extremely accurate over longer periods.

No such complaints about the Abingdon Marathon, which I marshalled on Sunday morning. A perfect running day - meaning a cool day for standing by the side of the road, appluading the runners partly because it kept my hands warm - and a great bunch of runners, though perhaps fewer than usual found the breath to thank the marshals. Never mind, I know they appreciated it, or at least most of them did. Only one had blocked his ears, a bad idea as he approached the most dangerous junction on the route where the ability to hear the marshals' instructions was essential, and contrary (I believe) to express instructions from the organisers.

One might feel miffed if a race is short, but worse still is marshalling when one ought to be running. I had to defer my place in the inaugural Kielder Marathon on Sunday - the time saved being put to good use by turning out to marshal, I think, but the old motto "I'd rather be running" certanly applied. On Monday, I was: about nine miles round Regent's Park and up Primrose Hill with a new running mate, Dominic, which should also have included a long-standing (I so nearly wrote "old", which would be highly inaccurate) one but she was delayed in a meeting ... the lot of a City lawyer. At least we managed a quick dinner and a drink, not this time in Bloomsbury Square - the weather was less conducive to al fresco drinking than it was a few months ago, and not being dressed in sweaty running kit enabled us to go to a pub.

Before my course for CLT yesterday morning, I tied on my Luna sandals and headed slowly towards Regent's Park on an experimental outing to test my calf muscles with the radical alternative to cushioned shoes. I didn't get very far: I'm being prudent now, making sure I don't overdo it, and when I felt just a slight twinge in one leg I turned back to my hotel, but even a mile or so of soft running is a good start - and I will build up gradually.

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