It is conveniently two doors down from Misters Barbers which is the chosen venue for the ceremonial trimming of Son’s wayward beard, the first in living memory. It is indeed an historic day and it also seems to be a great success, even with Son, and the aim is now to get another trim in before his wedding at the end of next month.
Sunday sees us down south at the Watford Half Marathon which has a very civilised start time of 10.30am. Which is a good job really as it's quite a drive for us down to Watford.
It starts in Cassiobury Park which, given the recent weather, is a soggy mess and the first challenge is not starting the race with wet feet as we head to the Race HQ to pick our numbers up. Then it’s a paddle back to one of the two start lines. These are colour coded Red and Blue with the vague instruction that the Red one is for Veterans. Which I think means us.
The two starts are both on footpaths which merge together before the race leaves the park. Getting a good start position is key because the footpaths are narrow and the terrain either side of them is muddy and unrunnable. So putting a foot off the footpath to overtake was unwise and tended to see you sliding backwards rather than moving up through the field. This meant it was difficult for me to latch on to one of the pacemakers and I watched them gradually pulling away from me.
Once out of the park we headed out into suburbia where there was at least scope to overtake even if my desired pacemaker was now long gone. Then suburbia gave way to countryside where the real fun began. Now I thought Watford was a flat part of the country, how wrong was I.
The race guide merely stated that the course is through pleasant undulating countryside. Although it did go on to say that 'due to the severity of some of the hills this course is not suitable for wheelchairs'. Always read the small print as they say, even if you don't have a wheelchair. It was very hilly and just how hilly seemed to come as a surprise to many, not just me, given that the hills were accompanied by some colourful language (I mean encouraging words) from my fellow runners.
Even when you get back to the park for the final mile, it is largely all uphill. I finish in 1:48:45 marooned almost equally between the 1:45 and the 1:50 pacers. L and her sister come in together about 45 minutes behind me although according to the results, when they come out later, she beat me by about five minutes. Perhaps I missed the shortcut.
(Sunday 2nd February)