Chester . . . Great Expectations?

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This had been a marathon I had been looking forward to all year. It promised so much from a personal and social angle more than the actual race itself. Many of my fellow Astley & Tyldesley Running Club members had entered and I was really looking forward to being with them before and after the race. Usually when I do a marathon it is much further away from home and I’m pretty much on my own. I was also looking forward to meeting some of the usual marathon suspects including fellow TiT Liz who would be completing her 100th and Rob Bishop. I though it quite interesting Liz was up for her 100th and Josie from A&T was going to complete her first.

After Saturday being horribly wet and the forecast the same for the race, I had resigned myself to the fact I was going to get wet and packed my cagoule. I travelled to Chester with my friend John. The plan was for our wives and kids to come down later and meet us at the finish. We were both pleasantly surprised at the dry and mild weather. The dry weather lasted for the whole race which seemed like a minor miracle.

The “A&T” Team

The start didn’t go to plan. We got to Chester in what I thought was plenty of time 7:50am to find ourselves queuing for 45 minutes to get to the Race Ground only to be turned away and offered no other place to park. Luckily I had an idea where to park on a nearby building site which with relief I found quickly. We got ready for the race at the car and hastily made our way over to the start with only 10 minutes to spare. Jokingly all I could say to John was “I’m not happy!” Once in the race ground I bumped into a few friends including Rosemary, some of the A&T runners and Suzanne & Dave with their dog. I was very disappointed not to have had more time to prepare for the start and chat to friends. I didn’t even manage to see Liz at either the start or finish. I hope she enjoyed a good 100th.

As for the race itself, very enjoyable and well organized. I bumped into a chap called John who I had met at Rutland Water last year and Simon from the 100 club. I ran and chatted with them for the first 9 miles before letting them move on ahead. I enjoyed a good steady pace throughout the race and managed a negative split by 1 minute. I love doing a negative split and finishing strong. Great to see Gary & Carol out on the course supporting us, Barry with his camera as we came back into the Race Course and lastly mine and John’s families cheering us in at the finish. It was good to say hello to Rob in the finishing area, long time no see.

The Three Smurfs Rob, John & Me

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