5th October 2014. Chester. Cheshire. UK.
Paul, Lee, Ian, Greg & Phil.
26.2 miles of awesome.
The Northern Monkey tells the tale...
We arrived in PLENTY of time (I really don’t do being late), but we were after the Walsall crew who had all travelled up together. We had been there 5 mins when we bumped into Rossy, Greg and Phil (doing his last marathon as Morphman) all sporting some rather nifty blue over shoes. These were apparently to stop ya feet getting wet in the grass (the start of the marathon is at Chester race course). We soon met up with fellow Shabba Lee, and we were all talking tactics, gels and pacing.
The first few miles were possibly a bit quick, but I was running with Paul at a decent 7:25ish MM pace. Paul is capable of a much quicker marathon but had been struggling with injury and lack of long runs, we were eating the miles up. We had a very simple little routine while running, we would gel every 5 miles, with the gel coming out of the belt and being carried for the previous mile. Its little things like this that give you something to focus on, that take your mind off the pain, especially in the latter miles.
The pace wasn’t dropping and we both chatted as we ran, both feeling comfortable and easy. The scenery was fantastic as we ran, the welsh hills in the distance. The course did take in a bit of a loop at the halfway point but we were all too close to catch sight of each other, me and Paul were aiming for 3h20ish, Lee and Greg for around 3h30 and Phil for sub 4 hours in a morph suit.
We were powering up any hills in our way (not much in the way of hills really) and the pace was quickening as we ran uphill if anything. We were still sticking to the gel strategy and all was going well. As we headed back towards Chester we were passing through a village, when we heard a familiar roar, the Shabba support were there outside the pub, beer in hand and cheering us up a short hill. I took off at this point and steamed rollered straight into them for hugs of support, beer went everywhere and I think poor Marie took the brunt of my exuberance.
You realise when you stop and start again that the people you have overtaken don’t disappear, they are still there behind you. We noticed a guy in a green vest we had seen a few times (turns out this was a twitter friend Gia that neither of us recognised), a woman who was smaller than Rossy and was wearing a hundred marathons t shirt who was going like a train. All a good distraction as we approached the 20 mile point, the pace still good and both feeling strong.
Once you get above 22 miles in a marathon, things start to hurt. My quads were now a little tender, my calves felt tight, but we pushed on. We talked about the other Shabbas undertaking Manchester and London in 2015 for their first marathon, and how they would deal with this pain and having to push through it.
As we pushed on towards the finish we had mixed in with the Metric Marathon runners, this gives you a boost as you are overtaking lots of people, but on the downside the roads were very busy with runners.
Around mile 25, I was thinking I’m in pain here, but not the kind of pain I felt in my first marathon in Manchester 6 months earlier. In Manchester I ran the last mile with my eyes closed. There was a short steep downhill section and that hurt, at this point I would rather have run uphill, my feet ached and my quads were killing. Rossy was keeping me going though, how does this guy do it? He was 2 yards in front screaming at me to keep going. The guy really is an inspiration.
At last we rounded a corner and onto the race course again, and I broke down and cried, blubbed like a girl. There just round the corner were my girls, both shouting and screaming for me, so I was lifting my knees for the final sprint with tears rolling down my face, thank god nobody saw !! I had just about managed to get my emotions under control when we saw all the travelling Shabba’s with the flags waving and it started again. I need to start running with tissues, it was a huge release and the love and support being shown by my family and friends will never be forgotten. We were given a Shabba flag to run in with and me and Rossy crossed the line, holding a flag corner each both beaming from ear to ear (and one of us still bloody crying, over emotional arse). We crossed the line and partook in manly congratulatory hugs. Both finish around 3h18m. What a result.
Lee finished inside his goal time of 3h30 min looking in agony, but he had done it. Greg was around the same time but looked like he hadn’t broken sweat, that guy really is a machine. We were all massively concerned for Phil as the time approached 4 hours. Without the suit he could smash a time like this out the park, then at around 3h58 there he was, morph hood in place but looking tired. We screamed at him how close he was to 4 hours, and bloody hell did he put in a finishing kick, Farrah would have been proud of that, and he got his sub 4 hours.
What a bloody great day that was, thank you to all who were part of it.
Fantastic report Mr Glover - and love how you've captured the emotion of the day. Although, Greg mentioned an incident in his blog of the day, that you've not covered here, so your Roving Reporter is going to tell it...
It was while the gang were waiting for morph to finish.
They were all stood in a group having a laugh and starting to stiffen up. Ian and Paul had been finished around half an hour and the muscles were starting to tighten up.
Into sight comes a guy in a green vest really struggling. His legs had gone he could hardly walk, he looked like the people you see at the end of the London marathon.
Greg taps Ian on the arm and said "lets go get him"
So our two exhausted Shabbas run over to him, take his weight and start to run with him.
This was hard. These legs had run a marathon. A quick one. And were not planning on running again that day.
The calves had given up, but they were going to get this guy to the finish.
It took pretty much all they had to get him across the line, but they did it.
The three of them collapsed in a heap and Ian got him some water.
Greg was still carrying his goody bag, got him a chunky Kitkat out and made him eat some. They made sure he was ok and handed him over to St. John's and walked to get out of the finish area to a clap from some of the finish funnel marshals. One of them gave Ian an extra t shirt for as acknowledgment of what the boys did.
They didn't do it to get a free t shirt or another medal, the boys had already earned theirs.
What they did was about runners understanding about pushing the limits, and not giving in when things get tough.
We know it hurts and we still bloody do it.
That's why Ian & Greg helped the guy over the line, he had pushed himself to his absolute limit, passed it and still carried on. That is worthy of a few minutes of agony from two tired marathoners.