Race: Wilmslow Half Marathon
Distance: 13.1 Miles
Date: 24th June 2018
Supporting Runners: N/A
Fundraising to date: £3,870
Finishing Time: 02:00:47
From one extreme weather condition to the other… Wilmslow half marathon was cancelled in March due to the ‘Beast from the East’. A distant memory, especially now that we are blessed with a surprisingly long heat wave…
The date was rescheduled for last Sunday, 24th June, and the weather was the polar opposite.
Following the ‘Race the train’ event a couple of weeks ago, I panicked at my ability to run in the heat and quickly ordered some shorts to run in and researched anything I could do to make running in these conditions any easier. Not a lot apparently…
The morning of the race, I was on the last minute (as usual), power walking to the start line, rubbing vaseline to my inner knees/legs, panicking that I would suffer chaffing in my new shorts – This running thing is becoming very unattractive.
I was supposed to be joined by Jemma Love, Jonny Fletcher and Carl Brady, who have all unfortunately been struck down with injuries (2 from football, 1 from running) – I think this Wilmslow Half has been bad luck all round really, and proof that exercise isn’t always good for you!
I had a little warm up jog to the start line, and placed myself just behind the 2 hour pacer.
The race began at 10:30am on the dot and lots and lots of runners (I overheard 4,000 but I think that may have been wrong?) set off on their way.
I ran to the end of the starting stretch and saw Jonny and Sophie with my godsons Louis and Max ❤️ I was so happy to see them, and grateful of them making the effort to come and see me for all of about 5 seconds.
It turns out they tried to make it to the 2 mile mark to see me again, but Louis was just too slow to make it there – sorry kid 😉 Louis thinks I am a super cool godparent for being in the newspaper with this challenge which is just the cutest thing ever.
It was too hot right from the off to focus on running, so I started to take in the surroundings. I noticed that the 2hour pacer was holding his pacing sign above his head – and for the 2miles that I was behind him, he kept it like that. IMAGINE running for 2 hours with your arm above your head… I do hope that next year they get budget for some little overhead flags… This legendary pacer returns at the end of this story, but more on that later…
The race was very picturesque in the countryside of Wilmslow/Mobberley – Running past big houses, farms, fields etc.
The people of Wilmslow in these large houses on the country lanes all came out to support the runners. The streets weren’t massively lined with spectators for the majority, but pretty much all of the residents along these lanes were out supporting. Some bought big speakers with music to spur us on – others bought jelly babies, and some stood with hose pipes to cool us down.
Every single person who made the effort to do any of those things definitely helped me get through this race.
The first half was fine. I was doing OK and nicely getting into it, but knew I would crash sooner or later.
I met a lovely lady who ran with Stockport Harriers around mile 5 and chatted to her for about a mile. I ended up telling her about my challenge, which did help remind me why I was there. It is always nice to discuss with new people and hear kind words of support that keeps me going.
I started to struggle around 7.5miles but it seems that most of the other runners were too, with many walking and generally just slowing down. I looked at the elevation map afterwards which showed that the second half was a gradual climb. This made a lot of sense.
I slowed down to a walk a couple of times and was handed a bottle of water by another kind, struggling participant. At this point I had seen a couple of people who had collapsed on the side of the road, surrounded by race marshals and spectators – It really isn’t worth pushing it in the heat when you see stuff like that.
I hadn’t planned to see Mum and Andy at any point, and didn’t know whether they would be along the course. Now, I am glad that they weren’t because if I saw them, it would have been hard to carry on and not drop out there and then.
After many jelly babies, water, hose pipe sprays and cheering from the crowds, I pushed myself towards the end. I was very close to my usual ‘under 2 hour’ goal and I saw the 2 hour pacer running back towards me on the last stretch.
I shouted: “Did you keep that sign above your head for the whole 2 hours”, and he admitted not but then stuck with me to try and push for under 2 hours. I said I had 1 and a half mins to break and he said I would definitely do it and really tried to carry me to the end.
I saw 3 of my best pals cheering me, shouting that I could do under 2 hours (from watching me on the tracking app, bless them) and I shouted I KNOW. What a nice welcoming response from me – sorry guys!
I tried so hard but couldn’t find it in me to sprint finish and crossed the line at 2:00:47 – A time that I am proud of in the ridiculous temperatures. Some people didn’t finish due to the heat, and I do hope that everyone there on the day is OK. It is hard to see people collapsing, and ambulances speeding past.
The race was covered with marshals who volunteered on the day – It was very well organised and I would massively recommend it….maybe on a cooler day though.
The day was made better when we made it to the pub in time to watch the England game and eat really great food with a bunch of the best people.
We received an amazing, complimentary fruit pavlova that probably contained more calories than I burned off. I thought this was supposed to be the England flag…I’ll let you judge🤔…
I’m in that neck of the woods again next weekend for Alderley Edge Bypass 10k with quite a few other runners this time. It is looking to be another scorcher but thankfully not as long!
If you would like to sponsor then please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EmmaBramwell2 – We are very close to £4,000 now which is amazing. Thank you so much for everyone that has sponsored, especially if I have not managed to thank you personally, it means so much ❤️