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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Crossing The Humber

Today we head up to the Hull area for an intriguing half marathon, well at least I thought so, but not one for the bridge-phobics because the Humber Bridge Half Marathon crosses the bridge twice.

L is not usually one for bridges, so she might have to shut her eyes, but then that could have nasty side effects. Although I think they have barriers... I hope they have barriers and hopefully no crosswinds.

Last year they had a few problems with the weather, it was extremely hot and a poor chap died as a result. This has meant an earlier 9am start this year to avoid the heat of the day but heat shouldn’t be a problem this time, as we have rain on tap.

Car parking is good, if a little muddy and right across from the start. Although toilet facilities seem limited, there are plenty of bushes.

The start is rather dramatic. First we have a period of silence for the unfortunate chap from last year, this quickly turns into applause and then while this is going on the gun and klaxon signal the race start.

First a two mile loop around the local area of Hessle, which strings the field out a little before the first crossing of the bridge, for which they have closed a lane to traffic. Although it’s still a bit narrow and it’s a choice between tripping over feet or the cones at the edge of the course.

It’s a long bridge, almost 1.4 miles in length, so you get plenty of time to ‘enjoy’ the experience. Waiting at the other end is an inordinately long slip road, about a mile long, that seems to edge uphill forever. Once that is out of the way the course takes a largely flat route around the area of Barton Upon Humber.

The early rain had eased to drizzle by start time and then soon after stopped completely, creating near perfect race conditions. I was having a good run and by nine miles I was two minutes up on my Benbecula time meaning going under 1:40 was a real possibility.

That was when they threw a nasty little hill at us and then when that was out of the way we ran into a headwind on the return bridge crossing, using the footpath rather than the main carriageway this time. All of which mean I came in at just over 1:41.

Water was mostly in cups, which meant I ended up wearing more than I drank, although there was one bottle stop and they had a sponge stop too. I love a good sponge. I carried it all the way to the finish and then brought is home as a souvenir.

In the evening it’s the England v Italy match, which we watch on the big screen in the Ropewalk. Even L, although admittedly I didn’t give her much choice. She probably wished she’d brought her knitting.

This was after we'd had a Sunday Roast in the Borlase, which empties soon afterwards and is closed by 10pm, as everyone else finds somewhere showing the match.

Well I was impressed. Finally we have a manager who can see we’re not as good as these foreigners at this tippy-tappy stuff, otherwise known as passing to players in the same colour shirt, and we never will be. What we can do well though is bloody minded defending and you won’t see a better example of it all tournament. Oddly the TV only concerns itself with stats such as possession and shots on target, totally ignoring the art of defending.

Now if only we’d have had a goal poacher in the mould of a Shearer or a Lineker, we’d have nicked that game.

(Sunday 24th June)

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