Race: Wirral Way Trail Half Marathon
Date: Sunday 7th January 2018
Supporting Runners: Bianca Hartley
Fundraising to date: £1,320
Finishing Time: 02:03:45
Sorry for the delay in blog writing again. I was tired. Really, really tired. Because on the first weekend of JANUARY, I thought it would be a good idea to run a HALF MARATHON.
On paper, arranging such a long run sounded like a great idea – to tackle the January blues head on and to help shred any post-Christmas weight gain. But 7 days into an 11 day Christmas holiday/binge, the thought of doing any sort of long-distance run was panicking me and I was having weird dreams about running without really getting anywhere.
Joining me on this run was my manager, friend and running parter, Bianca Hartley. I had originally signed up for this race on my own but quickly persuaded Bianca that it was a good idea too, and I am really glad she signed up, but more on that later…
Bianca and I have been running together for almost a year now after work. We are lucky enough to work on the doorstep of Dunham Massey, with canal links leading to the Trans Pennine Trail. It was on one of these Spring evening runs where I came up with the 30for30 big idea.
On these runs, we talk about anything and everything and they have almost become a part of what I like to think as everyday therapy. Running is excellent for the mind, as I keep saying, but running at talking pace and opening up to a friend is even better. And this works both ways for Bianca and I…
I’ll let Bianca explain for herself with this copy of a post she shared on FaceBook at Christmas time ahead of the race:
In less than 2 weeks I’ll be running a trail half marathon with my good friend Emma Bramwell. I’ll also be running the Wilmslow half with her in March, and probably some other races in 2018 as well (I hear there’s a wineathlon somewhere!?)
I’m joining Emma as part of her 30 for 30 challenge: to run 30 races in what would have been her brother, Adam’s, 30th year. Adam sadly took his own life in 2016, and Emma is undertaking this amazing feat to raise awareness and money for MIND, Mental Health Research UK, and SOBS. She’s also doing it to advocate and raise awareness of the positive impact exercise can have on mental health. When I had some bad news a few months ago, Emma was one of the first ones to be there for me, encouraging me to go out and run with her and talk it through. We’ve covered many miles together this year (and many topics of conversation!) so joining her on a few races is the least I can do.
For me, the week leading up to the race was mentally tough… Going back to work the day after a massive NYE hangover with the weather seeming a lot more Manchester-like than normal. Trying to dodge every kind of illness that is going around whilst feeling stressed about running 13.1miles after eating ALL of the food. It wasn’t fun. But Bianca remained positive and provided me with motivational speeches throughout the week.
After spending Saturday feeling a hell of a lot better, I felt up for it. I’m getting more and more used to these early morning wake up calls on a weekend but I draw the line at 6am. I snoozed the alarm for half an hour and ended up being on the last min as per usual.
We had a straight run down to the Wirral, trying not to over-share on our weekend news out of fear of running out of stuff to talk about during the race.
This race was unique to me as it was the first point-to-point half marathon that I have done, meaning that you don’t start and finish in the same area (sorry to point out the obvious).
We needed to park at the finish and get a shuttle bus to the starting line. Because of this, it was a staggered start and we could just go whenever we got there between 9:00 and 9:45am. This is why I was so pleased to have Bianca with me – the staggered start and the small nature of the race meant that if I was on my own, I could have felt quite isolated, just like doing a lone run.
On our school-trip style shuttle bus ride, snacking on energy boosting sweeties, I found out that Bianca had had a turn of events and had spent Saturday evening feeling really down after a trip to see her Mum who is currently battling an aggressive form of cancer.
This naturally made me feel really sad, but the positive mental attitude from Bianca that followed was very inspiring and made me form a new plan to try and not complain at all during the race. (very hard for me as you can probably tell from previous blogs)
We were doing this race for a really good reason and were actually really fortunate to be able to do what we were doing. The route was absolutely beautiful along the Wirall Way Trail and the weather was spot on for it. We were lucky to be in a situation to get up and run in that setting. It just felt incredible…maybe not so much the last 3 miles…
I kind of managed to not complain…apart from doing the very British thing of apologising every 5mins for going too slow and holding her back…other than that it was great!
I had told the cheerleaders (Mum and Andy) that it would take us about 2hours15mins – a complete low ball – so unfortunately they missed us at mile 7, but made it just in time to see us cross that all important finish line in 02:03:45.
Sporting a brand new 30for30 AB headband courtesy of my good friend Lauren❤️
In total, this is my 5th(😱) half marathon, and first of 2018 and the 30for30 challenge. There will be a few more to come where I will hopefully get closer to my PB and under 2hour mark but for this race I am absolutely beaming with the result.
A massive thanks to Bianca for carrying me throughout the race in both speed and positive mental attitude. Also, running this race with me has added way over £100 of sponsorship that I would not have reached otherwise – so a huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored.
There is still time to join me on a race – just check out the upcoming races on the right (if on web) or below (if on mobile). Extra company is always appreciated!