Or so it would seem. Everyone seemed really excited about it. Until talk started on Twitter about 'THE HILL'. Everyone then began talking about 'THE CHALLENGE OF THE HILL'
So who was there?
Chris Collis, Lee Riding, Dennis Hussey, Greg Meacham, Matt Box & Morphman were there representing the Red Army.
I had always fancied this one due to its historic location so when fellow Shabba Lee said he was going to do it I signed up right away. I am always happy to be running in Telford. It's has miles of traffic free paths through the park which I knew from the parkrun & 10k race so the addition of the Ironbridge section made me think this was going to be a little cracker.
The 1st 6 miles were all downhill & spent most of the time chewing the ears of my fellow Shabba's Lee & Dennis! The 2nd half was tougher with muddy trails & steep inclines but also took in the beautiful Ironbridge crossing which for me was a fantastic highlight. A return for a day out & pub lunch are a definite for me.
The crowds were fantastic as we're the marshalls. I've never seen so many marshalls at a race before. Due to the twists & turns in the course there must of been close to a 100?? A big thank you to all concerned.
I knew this wasn't going to be the quickest of races but that wasn't why I had entered. I ran hard but within myself and was pleased to finish in 1hr 39'40. I would definitely recommend this race to you all, the course allows you to let go of the time aspect and just enjoy the run & scenery.
Next up is Pelsall 10k hopefully as I need to get an entry on the day place.
Sometimes it seems like a strange challenge to run for somebody who enjoys running as a means to raise money for charity. I had a bad couple of days before the Ironbridge half marathon with a bug, to be quite honest I did not want to run it which was strange for me. I decided I had to get out and take part in the run as its days like this I can earn the sponsorship kindly donated for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
I got down to the race and heard people talking of mud! MUD! I had emailed the organisers who said it was an off road run mainly but was track and suited to normal running shoes so I had turned up in my nice fresh Adidas Boosts only a few runs old. I met up with a few friendly faces before the race and was pleased I had turned up as the atmosphere was good!
I started the race running with “Morphman” which got some attention along the way. I decided to let the downhill take me and started off a bit quicker than I had thought but felt ok so went with it. I quickly realised that the run was pretty much mainly up mud paths and not a nice dry track run. I already thought the route was challenging and hilly when 8.3 in miles, I encountered a hill much longer and steeper than anything on the Dirty Dozen a fortnight ago and that was billed as extreme terrain obstacle run! Most people had stopped to walk up the hill, but mentally I think I need to run without stopping and ran up the hill, both dragging and being dragged by a determined complete stranger. The pace dropped dramatically in the last five miles and never really got back to what it was previously.
Running across the “Ironbridge” was good as there was lots of people out in support. I didn’t know whether it was the illness, the mud, the hills or all of them but I have never been happier to see a finish line. Even though I had a relatively modest time of 1 hour 34 minutes and 27 seconds, my legs and for some reason my shoulders knew they had been on a tough run. Unusually I opted to miss my sunday night training session as I was struggling to get any food or fluids in after.
After I finished the race I waited at the finish line to see some of the lads from Shabbarunners come in with some great times and efforts. Matt smashed his PB by 10 minutes, and on such a tough this is ridiculous ! He was followed by Chris, Dennis, Phil (Morphman) and soldier Lee who battled on through pain to finish.
I would just like to add that the race near killed me!
I didn't realise how big the hills were going to be. Also I did it in the morph suit to practice ready for the marathon to see if I was ready and to get my charity advertised!
RR: Morph is raising funds for Round Table Chldren's WIsh Foundation
Pre race: Training wise for Ironbridge had stalled somewhat leading up to race day with a couple of niggly injuries (knee pain and shin splints). So the few days I had left I did a couple of short fast runs hoping for some sort of fitness including an eyeball popping Shabba birthday mile buggy run. On arrival I soon bumped into fellow Shabbas Chris, Dennis, Greg, Matthew and later Morph who was being interviewed by the press.
Race: I planned to set off at anything around 7.40/8.00mm for the first 2 miles as I didn’t want my shin to flare up. Annoyingly though the start was very compact and I found myself darting through the crowd desperate for some free running room. This tactic had me at 7.00mm pace so I thought, well let’s go for it. I then ran with Chris and enjoyed my best miles of the race taking in some great scenery and chatting away
Hell: Just before mile 6 arrived I was starting to feel drained and decided I’d better have my caffeine gel. Chris then started to pull away as I slowed. No sooner had he gone, I was joined by Matthew who seemed remarkably chirpy. I felt bad as all I could muster was, “I feel dreadful” “I’m dreading that hill” once over the old Ironbridge, he’d disappeared too and I was now noticing a lot of people starting to overtake me.
“THAT HILL”: Mile 8 introduced its awaiting incline which just completely and utterly destroyed me physically and mentally. I started to walk which made my shin go tight , all the shouts of “c’mon Shabba!” were appreciated but even more disheartening as I couldn’t run, I was totally spent and was now being sick! I can only blame the gel as this hasn’t happened before and we were only at mile 8! It was then I thought about quitting….more people were overtaking me and the thought of another 5 miles just didn’t seem possible…
The grind: “The grind” is something I have learnt from the latter stages of a marathon, it’s not pretty and it’s not running. It’s a mix of shuffle then walk. I did this the rest of the way until the last 400m where I’d recovered enough to sprint in anger past all that were finishing, which nearly exploded my shin.
Result: So my time was 1.51 and on reflection I can’t complain and in all fairness I’d struggle to break sub140 on that course fully fit. Next up is the mass Shabba meet at Market Drayton 10k on 11th May.
Yet again this Roving Reporter is overawed by the tenacity strength, determination and spirit our Shabbas show.