Now it's the turn of Tigger (aka Nikki) and the Northern Monkey (Ian Glover) to tell their tales. First up Tigger!
I have no idea how I came to enter this half marathon, but obviously I did enter it as my number came through the post!!! I would guess, it was the lure of running with my fellow Shabbas again, and, as I had given myself the goal to drop my half marathon PB down to sub 1:40 this year, I guess I thought the more I entered the better chance I'd have!!! (See, I do have brain waves occasionally!!!)
Anyhow.... forward to Market Drayton 10k, when, a certain Lady P whispered, "I have a secret", and told me she'd entered it too!!!! At that point, I offered to run with her, but, it was way in advance, and she declined as she had no idea how everything was gonna go!
Fast forward to Rock n Roll Liverpool half marathon, my first proper attempt at my new PB.... Although I was not well, having been suffering issues with my breathing, so, I was just hoping to beat my old PB 1:49, as way to my goal..... Oops lol 1:39:37 lol! I had fab support at that race from my friend Mark, but also Lady P, who gave me my medal, and shared in the celebration of plockplock's (Chris Tucker) first half marathon!! So, pressure on fast at Shrewsbury was off....
Unfortunately, my health decided to take any decision out of my hands, as first I was diagnosed with bronchitis and asthma, and then it developed into pleurisy.... So, along with struggling to breathe and also leg pains.... I turned up at Shrewsbury to meet my fellow Shabbas undecided on whether I could manage to run....
After walking about a bit, leg issues were showing no probs, so, with 15 mins to go, I asked Sarah..... Would she like some company on her first half?!? .... She agreed, and I felt the first happiness of the chance of sharing in both Plocks' first ever half marathons..... A huge honour!! So, number pinned on, the sun shining, friends around me.... I was a happy Tigger, and ready to do my pacing bit repaying the support I have been repeatedly shown!!!
I can't say much about the run.... because, for me, it was always going to be an easy pace.... I was there to support and guide... And apparently talk lol that was the important bit! Who cares if I found it easy/hard etc I was relishing in enjoying running with a super and inspirational lady, enjoying the weather, having fun, and supporting and encouraging the best I could!!! Some lovely houses around Shrewsbury you know, and apparently they are building 2 exclusive Eco houses!!!
Lovely scenery, I did my bit getting water at the stations so it was one less thing for Sarah to worry about... We saw runners down on the route due to the heat, I stopped at one point to offer help, before returning to Sarah, and we kept going..... A lovely consistent pace was held till mile 8 and Sarah was running very well.... But then, the inevitable hill which which comes at the point of your mental battle, and the pace slipped, but was still consistent.... Sarah switched off her watch, I had tried to get her to stop looking, but it is like a drug, and you're addicted to check, but eventually it was the mental fight needed towards the end....
Throughout the run we had the support from Shabba Gaz on his bike (hey, not everyone gets their own bike support!!!) and other Shabba shouts around the course, along with points to shout to Shabba Lee and Charlotte who was looking good also doing her first half.... Then, at about a mile to go, Shabbas Rossy and Ian were there to support and help run in with Sarah and me.... I swear daft photos are nothing to do with me.... Lol!
It was hard, it's the longest mile (and 0.1) but Sarah fought to the end, and crossed the line!!!! I am so so proud to have been there to support.... This race was never mine, it was all about support.... Time went out the window, but this was a half marathon to finish, not to race and Sarah showed all her grit and determination and finished in style.... Words were few at the end (hey, who needs words, you have me... I talk for eternity lol) but relief and awesomeness need no words!!!!
Well done Lady P.... It was an honour to run and support you in your first half marathon, and a bigger honour that I shared in both yours and Chris's 'firsts'....
Just remember.... You CAN do it, you DID it and you totally RAN THAT TOWN!!!!
Mwah from your Tigger!!
This was a race I had been looking forward to, as it had been discussed beforehand that a few of us would be running together, and it's always great to run with fellow Shabbas.
There was another reason I was looking forward today, it was the half marathon debut of Lady P. And it was kinda my fault that she entered it.....
There was no pressure at all on time for me at this race, so after discussions between Paul, myself and Greg we decided to aim for a 1h40 kinda time.
It was a scorcher of a day and with all the Shabbas together at the start line the talk was of the weather and impending hills. The support that was evident at this race made it a very special run, Tigger had offered to run with and support Lady P, and Lee was running with girlfriend and future Shabba Charlotte.
The first few miles were spent running with Paul, Greg and Baz, as usual when Greg is involved there were lots of laughs and generally messing about. The banter flowing was good and other runners were joining in too. The pace picked up after around 4 miles (didn't see that one coming) and Baz dropped back a bit, which left the three of us to push on.
As I was running my mind wasn't really on my own race at all, I had concerns about Lady P running in the heat and some of the hills were quite testing for her half marathon debut, Tgger was carrying an injury and had turned up not knowing if she could run, Paul had mentioned that Baz struggles with running in heat and it was now proper scorchio. I was struggling myself in the heat and the last few miles were tough.
The relief for everyone on the run was as always provided by the fantastic Shabba support. Gazza popping up on his bike from time to time, and a large, rowdy, flag waving group who had travelled just to cheer us guys on. This means so much to everyone running and provides a massive boost during the race. The local support from the people of Shrewsbury was also fantastic, the number of people out on the streets cheering gave you a real lift.
The forward rolls done by Greg as we ran through the park provided some needed light relief too, that guy's nuts. After gritting my teeth for the last mile I crossed the line in around 1h39, after a drink and a visit to the loo, Rossy and I set off back down the course to look for our half marathon debutant. We passed Lee and Charlotte on route and both looked strong and easy, they got some Shabba love on the way past.
At around 12 miles we saw Gazza on his bike and the familiar bouncy running style of tigger, and there she was, the Shabba debutant looking as strong and determined as always. The last mile was run together and some fun was had posing for silly photos. The course was a touch on the long side, news that didn't go down well when mentioned at 13 miles lol! As we crossed the line Lady P was mobbed by shabba's and rightly so, completing your first half marathon is an emotional experience and we all shared her moment of triumph.
Celebratory beers were had and enjoyed by all, and then an impromptu running clinic was held by Dr Collis who gave us all great tips and advice on anything asked. Including his new favourite hobby, drinking beer.
Will be back next year Shrewsbury, we defo ran that town...
The level of Shabba support was fantastic, a special mention must go to the support crew. Garry Craddock who cycled (yes cycled) over to Shrewsbury to provided several much needed boosts out and about on the course. And to Marie Nicholls, Chris Collis, Ross Taylor and Sam & Gray Jones (and their family) who all provided welcome shouts of 'Shabba' and a lot of loud cheering as we ran through the town. All of the Shabbas really appreciated every shout given.
We will be back next year Shrewsbury, a certain shabba will have to start planning the post race BBQ now.