March 2012 / Weekly updates

27th March 2012

I am going to start this weeks update at the end of the week – on Sunday.

I received this message from the organisers of the Hasting Half Marathon.

Congratulations on finishing the Hastings HM. Your position was 2450. Your Gun to Finish Time was 02:12:55 and your Chip Time was 02:09:36.

It was amazing getting this text – although of course I already knew that I had finished it but it was good to get the time through – and I was very, very pleased with the time. For those of you that haven’t run like this – unlike my friend and sponsor Mark Stone who is on this list – “Gun Time” is when the race starts itself but the “Chip Time” is when I actually crossed the line myself.

I have been looking at 11 minute miles and generally looking for a time of less than 2 hours 30 Minutes but what with the hills of Hastings – (and man are there hills in Hastings!!!) and the heat of the day I was looking for something close to that, so to get this time in my first half marathon – I was delighted.

Running the route – the first time I have been in a race like that with lots of people lining the route – was fantastic – people cheering you on, giving out drinks and sweets (for energy!) was just wonderful and inspiring. I wanted to get the first three miles or so done pretty quickly to make up for the slowing down on the hills but I was able to keep going – I hit the 6 miles quicker than I have before and then the second half I was able to keep going – so the final time averages out under 10 minutes per mile.

Angela and my Mum and Dad were out on the route – at the top of the hardest “hill” – elevation of 45 ft at 2.3 miles continually rising to 442 ft at 4.78 miles. It seemed like it would never end. But when I got there and they were there cheering and waving it gave me extra energy for sure. I didn’t really talk to many people on the 10K race (I am pretty unsociable anyway) but this time there was a lot of camaraderie – everyone helping each other out and it felt amazing. Someone in the crowd shouted out at one point – it’s all downhill from now on” and the guy next to me (a local obviously) said – don’t believe them – two more big hills yet! – which actually did help as I was more prepared.  Anyway the final 3 miles were along by the seafront – fantastic weather, all the crowds – all great. I was able to put a bit of a “half-sprint” on for the last 100 metres or so – and Team Clutton were by the finish shouting encouragement. And I crossed the line at the time above.

I got a lovely medal and a drink and then Angela, Mum and Dad were there and we were all quite emotional actually– as I had done it and also finished with a time we were all pleased with. They were lucky to see me at the end apparently as they were sitting down for tea and cake when they thought “he just might be quicker than we thought” – and it was great that they did.

There is a photo of us all together – all very happy. An amazing day and a real lift towards the Marathon itself – only 26 days to go now.

We soaked up the atmosphere after the race for a while and then made our way back to London – did a quick turn round at home – very quick – and then Angela and I were back into town for a fundraiser for Sarah’s Marathon charity – Breakthrough breast cancer. It was a great event with some lovely performances – I had agreed to play guitar in public for the first time for many years and so with me on guitar, Nicholas Garrett (OHP Scarpia and Don Giovanni) on piano and Maud Millar from our new young artists programme – we performed “Natural Woman”. Admittedly when I got on stage I was so out of it I couldn’t remember some of what we were going to do – but it all turned out OK in the end! Angela had also made some “Jaffa cakes” for the event and someone bought the whole plate for £30 so we were very pleased about that too.

Anyway, another week closer. Thanks for your continued support – more sponsors every week – now up to £5,656.65 including Gift Aid – thank you, thank you.



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