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Swindon half marathon 22nd September 2019

Swindon half marathon September 2019

I’m here again at my third attempt at the Swindon half ... today feels much the same as my first time ... it’s cold and waiting to rain.
The atmosphere this year has changed, its much more upbeat than I remember the last two races being ... possibly because I’ve got to know a lot more people in Swindon, and the fact that today I’m running as part of team IBS ... for my continued efforts for the IBS Network.
Five of us out today in team IBS tshirts, helping get the networks name seen once again.

Everyone is just standing around laughing and smiling and enjoying each other’s company as we wait for the off. The warm up is announced but no one around me moves to participate. Home town races are much friendlier and intimate ones ... there doesn’t seem to be any nerves from people around me, I know a lot of faces now.
So we set off on time as I headed out with the 1:40 pacers onto the course ahead ... my training ground is the place I’m running today so I’m hoping this pays off for me in any way big or small. The first 4 miles go fast as I like to head off fast so I can open my chest and slip into a comfortable pace... by about quarter of a mile the heavens had opened and I was now wet but super cool ... I hate running in the heat so this is my chance to gain a bit of advantage, it’s still quite warm out so that made the rain bearable. Although I hate getting wet feet during a run.
As we headed out towards the fifth mile it seemed to calm down a bit as I came to the point where my friend Paul Nicholls was waiting to grab some photos of myself and the team, although he wasn’t facing the crowd as I crowned the top of the hill so I had to shout out to him. He managed to grab a few shots as I passed him ... up towards a fairly undulating few miles along dual carriageways before heading towards the outlet centre and the roads behind it and headed towards the next long boring section of open road adjacent to the M4.
Even though the weather is shitty there’s plenty of support out here today with lots of tiny hands waiting to hi five runners as they pass by ... the kids love it.
Mile ten onwards is a bit tough ... rather a long winding uphill section before hitting the run up to Swindon’s Old town and onto Wood street where once again the streets are lined with people shouting and clapping and erring us ever onwards towards those last sections of the course. By wood street I was in a lot of pain as I’m now suffering with Morton’s Neuroma ... really painful to deal with without running 13 miles with it ... but I’m gritting my teeth and grinding down to get through it ... my time is great so far and I’m confident of a good finish.
As we slip into the long heavy downhill section, the sun seems to be getting brighter as I lengthen my stride and gain some well earned progress into the last section round the corner by the library and onto commercial road ... the finish line is now within sight at last. I really want to just stop and get off my bad foot but I can see it, I can hear it, I can feel it beckoning me on. I’ve cracked it now ... the hardest part is all behind me and I’m faced with my goal.
I open up my chest ... lengthen my stride and I give it all I’ve got left in me to get me over that finish line ... again the crowds line the end ... in great voice and all cheering as I pass other runners to move forward and over that timing mat once more. Almost crying with pain in my foot I did it once again ... I beat last years paltry time but around a minute from my course record ... I cross the line at 01:50:31
To say I’m happy with this result would be insufficient ... with my injury I’m elated to think I’ve just done that ... a PB for 2019 in total.
I was beginning to think I was done this year getting good times ... it’s amazing what we can do when we want to prove something to ourselves so badly.
I knew today I could do more harm to my injured foot and really, I shouldn’t have even ran the race, but I had to do it for my sanity ... for the charity exposure and for my teammates.
One by one the team came in and in turn we all ran in with one another so none of the girls crossed the line alone today ...
The last team member Julia was also in some serious pain as she came down the straight to the line ... as she got close enough the whole team crossed the line as one. It was a proud moment for myself and I’m sure for us all.
Thank you Swindon half marathon for today ... it was immense at times and it was hard for me and some of the team-mates but we all did it. I can’t thank the team enough for enduring the weather and the 13.1 miles.
Roll on my next half in Bournemouth in a couple of weeks time.

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