- Lee Riding - supporting his better half, Charlotte in her first half marathon
- Baz Nicholls - who thought it was flat, and
- Paul Ross - who was a last minute entry after Chris Collis was sadly injured.
Let's find out how they got on!
So last Sunday was the Shrewsbury half marathon which I was running, but for the first time (during a race) It would be with Charlotte.
She's been training a lot more consistently since deciding to try a half marathon and has come along way since taking up running less than a year ago.
The race itself was a very hilly up and down course and the weather on the day was a scorcher so tactics for a possible PB went out the window. I told Charlotte to forget about the sub 2hr that I knew she wanted and to concentrate more on a steadier pace without having to stop.
The first few miles passed by and we even began to speed up, but the heat was starting to get to her so we slowed back to a steadier pace which looking back on was the best decision.
We received a welcome chat and an offer of a drink from Garry on his bike which passed a few minutes and certainly was an eye opener to Charlotte at how fantastic the support is from Shabbas especially the ones who aren't competing.
The middle part of the course was where it became very hilly and our pace dropped drastically but she never stopped even though I knew she was struggling. Luckily this is were most of the crowds were to help cheer all the runners on, great support from the locals and visiting spectators again.
We picked up the pace again with a mile to go and arriving back at the show ground it was great to see all the Shabbas waiting to cheer us on, this spurred Charlotte to kick for the finish that left me for dead!
I am so proud of Charlotte and also Sarah who did her first half marathon too, just a great day and one to remember.
I chose to do the Shrewsbury half marathon because I wanted a relatively easy half before my tour of Merseyside. Easy !!!!! hope no one ever listens to Lee Riding. Being a local he said the course was quite flat lol!
So not being familiar with the area I believed him, thinking it would be great prep for the 52 miles I will be completing over 6 days on July 6th. Speaking to a fellow Shabba Byron who had never ran the distance before he decided to enter also thinking it was flat and I would pace him to a sub 2 hour. This went pear shaped four days before when Byron got an injury and had to pull out.
So race day arrived and we were having a mini heat wave, my solar panel was going to take a battering because I don't wear a hat but for the first I did take some gels for on route (thanks Gaz Homer).
After a delay of 25 mins we were off. I had planned to run 7:45-8 min miles. I started with the elite boys Paul, Ian and Greg but the first mile was manic and just too crowded, my time was 9:15 which was way under par and knew it would be hard to make this time back under the conditions. I managed to keep up with the elite boys for a few miles but then they kicked on and I couldn't keep up.
At roughly the half way point it was good to see the Shabba supporters my wife Marie, Ross, Chris C, Gray, Sam and the kids Chloe and Oliver. The mobile Shabba photographer Gaza Craddock was there in fine form as usual throughout the course offering water and taking photographs. He covered nearly 100 miles round trip to support us all so a special mention to him.
The hills were tough especially in that heat and I struggled the last few miles. The finish line couldn't come quick enough and when I saw the sign saying 13 miles I did my usual sprint finish only to find the last 0:10 mile was more like 0:25, I finished in 1:45:25 which I was happy with. I totally respect all runners who complete a full marathon because it's some going, maybe one day when I'm injury free it may be for me.
Hats off to Sarah and Charlotte on their first half marathons and the help from their pacers Lee and Nikki.
Now we come to the best part of the day, some well earned energy beers and banter with the Shabbas.
Overall, Shrewsbury is a great place, had a great day but can say 100% it's not a race I will be running again.
My next event the Tour of Merseyside is going to be a challenge but I have two Shabbas also racing on the first leg which will give me a boost to give it my best.
Due to Chris Collis getting injured I decided to have his race number and run this. I wasn't planning to do this race because of the poor reviews last year. I was going to be there to cheer on the Shabbas and Sarah who was doing her 1st half marathon anyway.
The race stared 30 mins late so not a good thing in this heat. Me, Ian and Greg all planned to run together and I'm very happy we did. After missing the March madness races with the Shabbas this was great.
We took it easy enjoying the sights of Shrewsbury and it was brilliant. We had lots of fun on this race talking and watching Greg mucking about.
In my mind all round the route was the concern about the heat and Sarah, for her first half it was gonna be tough anyway without the heat. We finished and headed straight back to find Sarah and Nikki who was pacing her and giving Sarah massive support. We found them at 11.7 mile, so me and Ian joined them.
Sarah looked in good shape but 100% focused on her mission. She made it, and looking round everyone was massively proud of her.
I have changed my mind about Shrewsbury half, apart from the late start, everything else was great, the town & the support. It's a tough half but one of my favourites.
A massive congratulations to Charlotte for completing her first half - and we were honoured to be part of that moment with you.
Nice Running SHABBAS!