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Sunday 2 September 2012

No Mobots Here

Today is the 15th running of the Wolverhampton Half and Full Marathon, which was a bit of a strange one. Parking is handy at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molineux ground for £2, in fact it's so close to the start in West Park you would have thought the club would have offered them a stadium finish.

The start area in the park was nice and the organisation fine but the course itself was a bit dismal. Almost scenery free, a bit of parkland but little of Wolverhampton and it was remarkably twisty, mainly through housing estates where most of the ‘support’ came from slightly bemused residents peering out from behind their curtains.

Ii is true that I often like a bit of dismal but preferably straight and dismal, twists and turns just interrupt your stride and tire you out. The worst of which was a short out and back around some parked cars in a cul-de-sac, that appears to have been intended for the marathon runners only, on their second lap, lucky them, but it seems we all ended up doing it, lucky us.

It was quite a small event. 255 in the marathon, 796 in the half marathon, 530 cyclists doing 19.4km and one wheelchair. Apparently Hugh Porter was there, I assume he was cycling and not running. There were also 23 relay teams which they set off first, which gave us something to chase and pass. Finally there was a group of lads dressed up as the Jamaica Bobsled Team complete with bobsled; they were in for a long hard morning.

Drinks stations were bountiful and they had bottles but they’ll get crucified for leaving the tops on, which will have left a course resembling a bed of nails for the later runners.

At half way the housing estates disappeared and instead we went uphill. Long dragging uphills that just kept coming and coming with very little down, which made me think the flat first half of the race must actually have been downhill.

I recall going through a place called Billbrook but other than that I had no idea where we were most of the time. We certainly didn’t really get to see such of Wolverhampton which I think contributed to the lack of supporters along the route. At least I haven’t got to go around twice like the marathoners. The last mile or so was better, apart from its uphill nature and the finish in West Park was pretty good.

The hills and the turns meant that this wasn't going for be the sort of course on which I’d improve on last week’s time at total flat Fleetwood. So to be only 40 seconds down is a result of sorts but I resist doing the ‘Mobot’ like almost everybody else is. I’m not sure if the Jamaica Bobsled Team had the energy to do that when they came in four and a half hours after they started. Ouch.

I was handed my Greggs goodie bag. Sponsored by Greggs, I ask you. I was expecting a sausage roll but thankfully didn't get one. Instead, just a drink, some chocolate shortbread and a bag of crisps. Crisps that MD helped himself too, dragging them out of my goodie bag with his teeth. He and Doggo got to eat them eventually, Ready Salted are not really my flavour.

The T-shirt was fine but the medal was a bit naff, very cheap looking. All in all though, a well organised if uninspiring event.

We eat out, post race, local to home at the Admiral Rodney. Surprisingly both Son and Daughter find the energy to make the short walk to join us. This is actually rather nice, a family meal. Particularly as Son is off back to Leamington tomorrow. It’s a shame the Rodney lets us down with slow service and several serving disasters. First they slop my pint everywhere and then for an encore do the same with my soup, which they replace free of charge but slowly. So slowly that Daughter is ready to eat the table and put a knife to the staff by the time the main courses finally arrive.

(Sunday 2nd September)

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