When I think back to this year’s Gin Pit Marathon, the first thing that came to mind was the absolutely fabulous team of volunteers who helped. I know it is my event but without a great team of helpers, it just wouldn’t happen and certainly wouldn’t be so well loved by the runners.
This year was by far the worst weather we have ever had for the event, with lots of rain both days, especially on the Saturday, coupled with strong winds, which made it very hard going for the runners. I don’t worry too much about the weather for the runners as running keeps them warm and they have paid for the wonderful Gin Pit “mudathon” experience.
It is a totally different situation for the volunteer marshals who are simply standing around in all the elements for hours at different sections of the course in the wet and cold, which can be very unpleasant. All that said, this year the horrible weather seemed to bring out the best from all the marshals and they were so positive and supportive. It was like they wouldn’t be beaten by whatever was thrown at them. I’ve always been lucky to have fantastic support from family, friends and Astley & Tyldesley Road Runners when holding this race but this year the marshals had more than normal to contend with and I’m truly grateful.
I also want to thank our intrepid photographer, Terry for popping up at various parts of the course over the 2 days to capture the runners’ perspiration, tears and mud. He even dug in at the “Bog of Doom” and managed to capture some great shots of the runners’ antics trying to negotiate their way across.
My biggest thank you goes out to the lady who looked after the time-keeping at the finish and is my biggest helper, this is my long Gin Pit suffering wife, Yuk-Lam. This year Yuk-Lam was supported by Sandra and Abbey on day 1, bless them, they were cold and drenched but carried on with their duties until the last man was back safely. Then on day 2, Yuk-Lam was once again at her post until the end, thankfully in slightly drier conditions. As well as time keeping, Yuk-Lam and Abbey did a sterling job looking after registration in the mornings while I oversaw everything else. A mention must also go to Han May for helping both days serving the runners with Leigh’s fabulous Clapham’s pasties, probably my only helper who didn’t get cold and wet this year!
Due to the recent rain the Bog of Doom was at a record high for the Gin Pit Marathon but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the runners. Even though it was so deep, in some ways it didn’t seem too bad as other sections of the course were also underwater and ridiculously muddy. It was hard to believe that the paths on the course are being contiinually improved and this year had fewer muddy sections than ever before.
Day 1 was won by Charlie Sharp with a time of 3:07 and he still had time to do a set of 20 pull ups on a canal bridge near Pennington Flash, I think he was just showing off for Terry, the photographer. Still I wish I was able to do it. He went on to finish day 2 in 3:01, I’m sure he could have broken 3 hours if he had tried. So well done to him on a clean sweep of Gin Pit trophies.
For the Ladies, day 1 was won by Alexandra Royden in the respectable time of 3:51. Day 2 was won by Fiona Gibson, who had left her family and come all the way from Scotland on her own to take part. As she was also a 2 day runner, Fiona clinched the Gin Pit Double award for the ladies as well as producing a PB for day 1.
In Sunday’s Gin Pit Half marathon, the victors were Simon Ford and Josie Maley-Jones both Astley & Tyldesley runners with winning times of 1:27 & 1:33 respectively.
A few other noteable performances are from Kevin Day who is an ever present for the event, along with myself and for the ladies, Carole Reed having completed 13 out of the 14 races. Lastly it was a pleasure to watch Jonathan Carter complete his 99th and 100th marathons over the weekend and it was my honour to be able to present him with his 100 Marathon Club Shirt.
This year saw 61 runners complete day 1, 53 runners complete day 2 of which 29 managed the double. 39 runners completed the Gin Pit Half Marathon.
I have totted up the money from the event and I’m pleased to announce the Gin Pit marathon proceeds for 2017 are £2157.39. This money will be donated to my nominated Charity, the Brathay Trust who work with disadvantaged young people by supporting them and helping them into permanent employment. They also run Wigan council’s outward bound centres, Low Bank Ground and Hinning House where school children from across the North West get a chance to enjoy the Lake District and experience some outdoor activities.
On the Sunday the Gin Pit Half raised £552.00 to help fund Astley & Tyldesley Road Runners and I wish the thank the many members who have helped me with this event over the last 7 years, I couldn’t keep doing this event without you all.