After 9 days of pretty much the same routine which was a marathon version of Groundhog Day, day 10 had a lot of differences to our routine not to mention a thousand other marathon runners that had descended on Brathay Hall for the main ASICS Windermere Marathon. Lots of family and friends were also around to cheer all us 10in10ers on our final lap and to help celebrate our achievement afterwards. The whole morning before the run was so emotional, I’m not usually an emotional person but every time I’ve got to this point in the event it has got to me.
We were all brought together in the bar in the main hall and then led to the main front door of Brathay Hall where we were marched on to the front lawn in race number order one by one to be cheered by hundreds of family, friends and other runners. We got in a circle under the finish banner for a huddle whilst Rexy said a few words about what we had achieved. It is just so emotional that I don’t think any one of us had a dry eye. It is a lovely moment but I hate getting emotional and wish I could just slip down the drive, quickly dib my chip and get on with the last lap. After the huddle it was off down the drive to the start for the 10th time. Lots of people followed us, many photos being taken and then it was dib and run.
After rounding the first bend and out on the course it didn’t feel much different to any other day. There were traffic control vehicles hanging around at junctions ready to stop traffic for the main race but they were just quietly waiting. There were also manned water stations at regular intervals with people kindly offering me a drink. Each time I kindly declined as I wanted to continue to use the usual boxes with my own drinks in which I’d used for the past 9 days. I zoomed past the last one at mile 23 and I think the marshals wondered how I could run so fast without taking a drink, I presume they didn’t know how we had been operating over the passed 9 days.
At mile 16 is box 8, it is in a quiet woodland section of the course. I picked up my bottle as normal but found a little hand written note attached to it from Aly our race organiser. It only had a single sentence on it, congratulating me and saying how inspirational we had all been. Funny how Aly can get you emotional when she isn’t even there and I’m all alone in the middle of nowhere. I really wanted to keep the note as a memory of the event but couldn’t put in my shorts pocket or my sweat would ruin it so I held it in my left hand. I kept thinking about the note as I passed two more boxes and for 6 miles carefully held on to it, not too hard as to ruin it or make it too sweaty but firm enough not to drop it. I past the last box at mile 24 and glanced at my left hand and to my horror the note was gone. I felt like I had lost something very precious but there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t go back the clock was ticking. Sorry Aly, I lost it!
With it being the last day I didn’t have to save any energy for another run so pressed on over the last few miles. I ran hard up the steep drive, I wasn’t letting that beat me on the last day. As I got onto the lawn and could see the finish gantry I had a little panic, my chip was still in my short’s pocket, I quickly fiddled to get it out before charging down the finish line to the wonderful loud cheers from the hundreds of spectators. I crossed the finish line, dibbed my chip and lay on the grass. It was a wonderful relief to have complete it this year and have my family and friends all around me. As I got up they all started putting medals round my neck one at a time. It was fantastic that each one of my family were able to present me with a medal, one for each of the 10 days. I wasn’t really bothered about getting 10 medals but being present with them in this way was very special. I’ve got to admit I didn’t leave them on very long, they were far too heavy and made too much noise jangling against each other.
It was a lovely sunny afternoon and pleasant to hang around the finish watching all the other 10in10ers finish. There were lots of friends to catch up with and family to spend time with. I do love the presentation at the end of the afternoon on the lawn where all the 10in10ers come up on the stage, have a word with Joss while he presented us with our fabulous stone trophies. They are all different shapes and unique, I cherish all 5 of mine so much.