Bristol Half Marathon 2014
Bristol is a special city for me. I'm a Bristolian. It's where I was born, educated and lived until the tender age of 36 when I moved to Hampshire. Ironically, it's where my partner Mark spent most of his life too. Although our paths didn't cross until we'd both moved away from Bristol, we had worked in the same vicinity, went to some of the same pubs and nightclubs around the same time, and were even at the Rolling Stones concert at the City Ground in 1982! Bristol was / is special to both of us.
We'd planned to run the Bristol Half in 2013, but two weeks before the race my Mum died suddenly from a stroke. I was, and still am, devastated. It's a loss I'm still struggling to come to terms with, and to believe it's real ... so this year I was determined to run the race, and raise money for a small stroke charity called Fighting Strokes, in memory of my Mum.
We travelled down to Bristol the day before separately - me by train, and Mark via Birmingham as he was taking his daugher to Uni. On the platform at Basingstoke station I realised I'd left one of the most important pieces of running kit at home, just as my train pulled into the platform .... my trainers! So on arrival at the hotel I just had time to dump my bags as we rushed into town to find some trainers! Disaster was overted as I purchased my nice white Nike trainers.
Race day arrived and I felt very emotional. Bristol is a huge race of around 8,500 so there are two different start times and two different locations with three waves in each! Mark's race was due to start at 0930 and mine at 1000. Around 0900 we said our goodbyes and I headed off, very teary, to my start point. Thankfully I bumped into Ian Hancey, who'd just bumped into Mark, who was also running the race and chatting to him took my mind off my emotions.
Bristol is a fantastic race. It's relatively flat and the scenery is gorgeous, and support is fantastic. As I ran out along the Portway, I was able to wave and shout 'hello' to Mark and also two Hatch Warren Runners coming the opposite way and well into their race. I did find the race tough - I'd not done much training having had a cold and chest infection that prevented me from doing any proper distance training for around 3 weeks, but I think the adrenaline and the reason I was running in memory of my Mum, kept me going.
I finished in 2:24 which I was really pleased with and raised over £700 for my chosen charity. Mark ran his race in 1:49, a course PB and only 40 seconds outside his half marathon PB, and Ian completed his very first half in 2:07. Brilliant event, and thoroughly recommend this to all in SPR.
Amongst all the runners Mark, Ian and I all managed to meet up which was great. We took the 20 minute walk along the river after the race to my friend Gary's restaurant - Lockside - and had some much needed Prosecco, carbs and icecream! A great end to a fantastic race!
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