Not quite a Marathon, but for the first time in over 20 years on 10 June 2012 I competed in the Sutton Fun Run or the Great Midlands Fun Run as its now known, an 8.5 mile jaunt (dumbed down from the 10 mile runs from the good old days) around Sutton including a nice section in Sutton Park and the aptly named Cardiac Hill. I was more apprehensive before this run than recent half marathons due to a lack of preparation or just general runs that I have been doing, in fact my Nike GPS watch has even stopped the sarcee comments about whether I am going to go for a run or not now its been that long. Plus a week in London has resulted in all you can eat breakfasts all week which whilst good for piling on the calories, not quite the preparation Olympic athletes will choose. Lining up I got myself ready, set the iPod for shuffle, and chatted to my sister. Then at 11:10 we were off, slowly walking to the start line, pressing buttons on my surprised watch and the race started to the tunes of Ant and Dec's better watch out - good job no one else could hear this.
Running up the hill, it's unusual that it's not staggered as most of the first mile is spent side stepping the walkers on the run, but running up the hill in the glorious sun was smashing. The first few miles were without much incident, just reading the various charities around on T Shirts and lots of encouragement from the crowds, missing the first drinks stop (although nothing to write home about as I have been spoilt with the regular lucosades and sport bottles, here it was plastic cups of water, impossible to drink while running without spluttering and spilling them all over the place, and a nice yellow sponge). Into Sutton Park, and I was feeling pretty good, miles 3 and 4 worked nicely, tunes like the Rolling Stones Sympathy For the Devil and associated Woo woos passing the strides, plus the obligatory pick someone to be a pace maker for you, a very tall girl seemed to have matched my stride which helped no end to focus on. A bizarre sight half way round was a herd of cows walking along next to the runners, bizarre because I can't ever remember seeing so many cows in Sutton Park. Then it hit me, this must be the cows version of the great escape, as all of the cattle grids were covered over, everyone was distracted with the run, what better time to escape the confines of Sutton Park, I fully expect to see the cows at train stations later with faked papers trying to blend in.
The Route and my pace - can you spot Cardiac Hill?
Later in the park came the afore mentioned cardiac hill, which got me, I had been lulled into a false sense of security as a hill was climbed just before that one and I thought oh that's not that bad at all, then turned the corner and ground to a halt, it wasn't supposed to be like that, I was saying right no walking steady pace up, and my body just decided to ignore this completely and walked to the top, as small children galloped past.
Another pacer turned up then, being the girl who had taken off her shoes to run, I felt like saying hey Zola Budd, but then realised that 90% of the crowd would be too young to understand, so I followed her for a while as she ran freely (getting her socks very mucky, her Mum will be cross), and emerging from the park I felt I had my own fan club as there were cheers left and right as I went past, sadly this was for the Dalek who was at my shoulder, but none the less it spurred me on for the remaining 2.5 miles. It felt a bit of a canter the last bit into Sutton, saw a few people to shout at, and then the iPod built me up for my final 800 yard sprint by launching into My Dark Star by Suede, great tune but hardly very lively again.
Very pleased to be handed a medal, and to have completed the run in the only sunny day for a couple of weeks, leaving me with a bright head!