I missed the deadline for advance entries for the Ashbourne Half Marathon, so we turn up nice and early to enter on the day. Which was a good thing really, as it seems they will reach the 300 race limit. L isn’t running the half but is instead meeting up with a friend who’s local to Ashbourne to do her daily 5k. Did I mention that her latest ‘challenge’ is 5k a day?
Meanwhile my latest challenge is upon me and starts with a one mile hill climb. This isn’t as bad as it sounds as at least we're all nice and fresh for this first test of the day. Then there’s a long downhill followed by a similar climb at around three miles as we go out to Thorpe village and past Thorpe Cloud before a descent to Ilam village.
The real test comes at about six and a half miles which involves a steep half mile climb up to Blore. Then after that, Wa-hey, it’s pretty much flat and downhill to the finish, with just the one minor uphill blemish on the landscape.
In fact, OMG, these last five or so miles are well fast. At least the group of seven I’m in are. A group I stay with until the last mile when the elastic keeping me with them snaps spectacularly.
In this group was a young lady with unfeasibly tight shorts who chats to everybody, tells them how hard it is and then drops them. She does this to me as well. Don’t you just hate people like that.
Perhaps she read my blog from the other day, which L said was rather sexist because I referred to the runner I met on the street as ‘only’ a girl. Well I’m sure this one thought ‘only a man, and an old one at that’ as she whizzed past us all. What goes around comes around.
My club shirt gets some comments, so much so that I may not wear it again. Not that is gets out much anyway, this is only its second outing ever and the other one was on the Hebrides. I’m only wearing it today because the club I’m in (and I use the phrase loosely) has this race as part of its club championship. People in similar vests keep welcoming me to the club because they haven’t seen me before. I feel like the new boy and I think I’d like to go back to being anonymous.
It’s all very well marshalled and there are plenty of drink stations, although the water is in cups, which probably costs me a minute overall, as I stop five times for a drink. I simply cannot drink from cups on the move. They also have sponges and I love a good sponge, I take three. Not at the same time though.
There were a lot of spectators, although the majority of these were tourists, who were more bemused rather than supportive. My time 1:41:20 is twenty seconds quicker than Wolverhampton the other week, so I must be doing something right.
We stop for a beer on the way back, at a pub in Brailsford, along with my father who has turned up to support.
In the evening we go to the, sort of local but not quite, Hemlock Stone and Dragon for a Thai meal, beer and red wine combo. Very nice.
(Sunday 16th September)
More small steps along the North Downs Way
13 hours ago