Monday, March 12, 2007

12 March 2007: Quicker

As Chris points out, it seems I came 17th in this year's Hastings Half Marathon.

Sadly however, I don't spell my name quite that way, nor am I a member of 'Dulwich Runners' (nor indeed would I wish to live in or near Dulwich). In actual fact, you have to pan down the results page all the way to position 2154 to find my name, which more accurately reflects events as I remember them.

Despite this seeming mid-table obscurity (finishing some 55.5% of the way down the field) I'm actually very happy with this result. Partly because I comfortably beat last year's time, thereby proving that 31 is the new 30, but also because of the actual finishing time I got. Despite running under the finishing line when the clock said '2:02:09', it did of course take me over 2 minutes to get to the start line, so as I approached the finish and saw the clock ticking towards 2:02 I had to speed up - I just had to beat two hours, otherwise I'd have to do the thing again next year (which, of course, I may do anyway, but it's the principle of the thing, isn't it?).

So, knees creaking (ugh), I cranked up the pace, charging toward the line, desperately hoping that I'd make it in under two hours. Even when I crossed the line I wasn't sure: 2:02:09 (see above evidence - it actually says 2:02:10)... had the clock said 00:02:10 or later when I'd gone under it at the start? I wasn't sure. I thought I was probably there but couldn't be certain. Have to wait for the official results to come out...

And happily the official results show me comfortably breaking the two hour barrier, giving me a finishing time of 1:59:44. And the interesting thing I found, after putting the results into a spreadsheet and playing round with the ordering, is that I was actually not the closest person to just break 2 hours. Of those officially credited with a time so far (for some reason, a few haven't been confirmed), some fifteen people managed to squeeze in a time closer to two hours than myself, of whom the happiest will surely be one Cordelia MacMillan of Hastings, who clocked the magic 1:59:59. Saddest will be John Ellis of St Leonards and Malcolm Connolly of Seaford, both of whom are club runners incidentally, and both of whom came in at 2:00:03.

So re-assessing the actual time for running the whole distance gave me a far superior final position of 2094, putting me just 53.9% of the way down the field. And this, combined with the huge cheering crowds, the pleasant combination of sea-breezes, sunshine and sixteen degree celcius temperatures (leading to the now-traditional first sunburn of the year) and the usual kind comments about my shorts ("did ya make those out of yer curtains, mate?"), made for a thoroughly pleasant day.

And for regular followers of such this blog, you'll be interested to hear the badger situation remained the same as last year: "hand-held badgers" were clearly advertised as being at the finish line but did I see any? Not a single one.

Click to view full-size

Sigh. Still, it gets the Watford post off the top of the blog page, doesn't it?

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