The Big E.ON Run, for the NSPCC

It’s not often that your big corporate employer does something that you and you’re family can get involved in.  So this weekends Big E.ON Run for the NSPCC was a good thing for them to do.imaging.ashx

The event was held at Holme Pierrepont, the National Watersports Centre near Nottingham, and consisted of a 10k race, a 5k race and a 5k family walk.  The NSPCC is E.ON’s Charity of the Year so all fundraising went to help the cause that all parents can relate to.

Holme Pierrepont consists of multiple watersports facilities, but the run took in two circuits of the 2000m long rowing lake.  This meant the route was flat but exposed.  It makes me wonder if I’d exchange undulation for wind?

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Having given an estimated time of 45 minutes on my entry form, for the first time ever, I was classed as “elite” amongst the 500 strong field of runners and walkers.  Mrs G and the girls took their place amongst the friends and walkers whilst I stood 3 people back from the front.  

The start was quick (my legs and lungs told me that) and it was difficult to gauge the right pace.  

One of the things I try to do on race days is to stick close to somebody with a Garmin and a club vest to make sure that I’m with a person who appears to know what they’re doing!  My hope is that I run along with an athlete looking for an even paced race and then avoid any “boom and bust” mistakes.  So the fella with a Garmin and a club vest was an ideal companion for the first 2k with the wind behind us.

He was an even more welcome companion to follow when we turned on to the other shore and began running back in to the wind.  It was really blustery and when the rain started at about 3k it was heavy and stinging in nature. Fortunately, my recent memories of running in the same conditions whilst in the Peak District strengthened my resolve and actually encouraged me to push on.

After one lap, I’d passed under the finish line in about 21 minutes and pondered the prospect of having set off too fast after-all! The rain had stopped and the wind had eased (which was not good news because it was now blowing in to my back) so I settled in to a steady tempo, eagerly keeping my eyes open to see how well Mrs G and the girls were getting on.

It wasn’t long before I could see them in front of me.  They’d not even covered 2k when I “lapped them” and my suspicions of the impact of the weather were confirmed when Mrs G called out “I’m soaked and I’m moaning … A LOT” as I ran passed clapping and cheering them on!  The quick high-five with both girls and seeing family and friends was a little boost that ensured I carried on the same pace for another kilometre or so.

Turning back in to the wind, tucking in behind Mr Garmin again, the end of the lake looked miles away.  As my legs grew heavy, the concept of tempo running reverted to plodding and I just about managed to stay in contact with my little group before rounding the final turns on to the finish straight.

Normally I’ve got a bit of a kick in me for the final 100 yards, but I was shattered and a minor increase of pace was the best I could muster.  Crossing the line in 42:15 I was surprised to see a PB (by 1:15) on my watch before congratulating Mr Garmin who immediately declared the course too short, showing me the 6.06miles registered on his watch.

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After dodging my friend Suzanne who was threatening a video camera and microphone, I quickly reclaimed my bag and got some warm kit on to wait the girls finishing.  They must have been so cold as they started running with 100m to go after about an hour’s walking! I nearly clattered into a couple of people having a sprint for the line.

Anyway, we all got medals, we all got hot drinks and eventually we all got hot dogs before driving home.sprint finish as I crossed the course to run the last 50m alongside them – it makes me so proud to see the kids joining in with things like this that I got a bit of tunnel vision!!

It was good to catch up with friends and colleagues at the event.  I hope they do it next year and I hope we’ve helped some less fortunate kids get slightly better lives.

Sorry you’re not in

That was the message on the front of the magazine that landed on my doorstep this week.

It was from the organisers of the Virgin Money London Marathon and it is quite a nice way to be told bad news.  Obviously, I didn’t even open the cellophane before slinging it in the bin in dismay.

To be honest, when I found out that my brother-in-law had been unsuccessful in the ballot too, I wasn’t overly disappointed to miss out.  (Well, at least when I got over the indignity of being rejected!).  The biggest appeal to me was for the event to be a big family day out to once again celebrate the fantastic event.  I’d have been happy if Matt had got in because I could have taken the kids down and had a terrific time supporting him to complete such a great challenge.

So we have quickly returned to the drawing board and Paris is an attractive option.  Me and Mrs G love the city and the prospect of doing the marathon would be great …. but would start to get pricey with hotels and travel on top of the 100 Euro entry fee.  It remains a good second option but this evenings thinking is that the Brighton Marathon becomes Plan A.  It looks like there may still be plenty of charity places left but Heart UK, which is my usual charity, is not represented.  But I think a different charity has found me this time.

A few years ago, my best mate committed suicide.  It was completely out of the blue and he left a beautiful young family behind.  I don’t feel like I have ever dealt with what happened, I’ll never understand it, and I don’t think anybody else will.  I have learnt that people carrying a mental illness aren’t always as easily identifiable as people with other illnesses.  You can never truly tell what is going on in someones head.   But there is work that can be done to raise awareness and provide support for people struggling to cope with any worries that are getting difficult to deal with.  The moment I saw that Mind was on the charity list, I felt the rush of emotion that I’d need to train and complete another marathon.

I’ll give it another day or two to sink in and make sure that any decision I make is the right one.  But as it stands, maybe missing London will be a good thing and, perhaps I’ll be doing the Brighton Marathon for my friend and his family.