The Sea Lion Who Avoided the Water

As the MK Festival of Running approached I kept checking the weather in the week prior and each time I looked it had got worse and worse. This was not a good omen, combined with the gift of a chest infection from my husband it is safe to say I was not looking forward to this race one bit.

As I drove to MK it was pouring with rain and I was utterly miserable, my cough meant I was barking like a sea lion from Whipsnade. It was so bad that my mother had kindly renamed me ‘Samantha the Sea lion’.

My only ambition was to finish and to be honest I was gutted, I wanted to see something for all the marathon training I’d been doing. As we got to the snow dome I was convinced that I was wearing all the wrong kit. I get very hot when I run, but seeing Amy Inchley wearing a jacket, headband and ¾ length tights, I was terrified that I would just freeze. I had a black bin bag fashioned into a dress for the start line just to keep the edge off.

Katie Stanton appeared and my spirits lifted. In 2015 we ran the race together and I spent 3 hours convincing her to join LBAC, which she did. I felt slightly less apprehensive as the gun went off. Elliot, Tim, Tom and Amy belted out of the start and Katie and I just looked at each other! I had every intention of ripping off my bin bag, but it stayed on. We set out our game plan for the race in the first mile, which included “the best stories we can think of”, singing if necessary and just getting to the finish line no matter what.

The Start of the 20 mile. A few LBACers are visible

First challenge came with a flooded underpass around mile two. As we approached I could see how deep that water was. I am not that tall and the thought off having wet shoes, socks and shorts for almost 4 hours was more than I was prepared to deal with. I shouted to Katie to go back and up and over, no marshals were about so we belted back to the stairs and went up and over the dual carriage way. Well, it seems that runners are like sheep and loads of people followed us………….. C’est la Vie.

After getting back on the course and spending a mile chatting about how ridiculous it was to have the race sponsored by ‘Speedo’ we got into a steady pace of between 10:00 and 10:50 miles. The miles disappeared without much notice as we chatted about work, homes, moving house, family, marathon training, cats, insane neighbours, parking, you name it we covered it. Some of the stories were just brilliant and we laughed along the way, only interrupted by my barking cough.

Clearly Kate & Katie were loving it

The next real event in the race after the water feature was when Elliot ‘I’ve borrowed the legs of a cheetah’ Hind came passed. Elliot passed us at 9.5 miles (he was at 15.5 miles) running at a pace that I couldn’t hold for 100 metres let alone 20 miles. Katie and I took the chance to heckle and yell at Elliot, and the conversation turned to what would Elliot have managed to do by the time we finished: shower, lunch, weekend in Barcelona, have baby number 2. We kept going and it seemed to get harder, the wind was brutal seemed to be coming from every direction. The water stations were great, we seemed to pass them regularly and they were well organised.

We got to 15 miles and Katie fell away, I was sad to lose the person who had got me this far and I started to worry if I would even make it. So I started working out the pace and the min per mile and what time I might finish. I was in front of the 3:30 pacer but my breathing was terrible and I still had the Campbell Park hill to go. The wind had picked up and at mile 18 I was miserable, so I focused on picking people off one by one. I hate relishing in the struggle of those that are suffering more than I am but sometimes needs must.

I got to Campbell Park and I felt like I was running in treacle. I was going backwards despite trying to move my arms and legs faster and faster. My breathing was shot and I was coughing like a someone who had smoked 50 a day for life. I was about 500 metres from the end and a walking half marathoner with earphones in cut me off by walking straight across my path. I was furious to receive a barrage of abuse from her, but I left the marshal on the corner to get stuck into her, I just wanted it to end. I looked at my watch, unbelievably a PB was still possible, and I willed my legs to get me to the finish and finished in 3:28:45. It wasn’t the race I wanted but it was done and a PB was a lovely surprise. The heavens opened about 5 mins after I crossed the line and I was so glad I had finished.

Loads of LBAC runners had competed across the four different races:

Amy Killick 21:25 2nd Female & U15 Club Record
Zara Brooks 21:52 3rd Female & U13 Club Record
Daisy Giltrow 24:37
Billy Mead 36:16
Jo Sharples 42:31 3rd Female
Alex Killick 1:01:20
Susan Johnson 1:10:12
Half Marathon
Matthew Brooks 1:34:46 PB
Coralie Anderson 1:42:10
Tracey Hawes 2:03:21 PB
Sarah Dobson 2:05:48 Debut
Nigel Chesterton 2:13:50 Debut
20 Miles
Elliot Hind 1:55:10 Winner & Club Record
Tom Inchley 2:14:24
Tim Inchley 2:22:17 Debut
Michael Furness 2:35:27 Debut
Amy Inchley 2:47:09
Pete Hawes 3:22:53 Debut
Kate Johnson 3:28:45 PB
Katie Stanton 3:40:44

Pretty happy with that!