Its summer and time has come round once again for the Lions Bridge trail running event. This year for the first time I’d been talked into holding a 50k race to go alongside the usual half and full marathons.
There was another extra element to this year’s event, I had changed the date of the event to coincide with my friend Gary’s 60th birthday. This was a very special celebration for Gary as it wasn’t just his birthday on which he wanted to run a marathon but the last day of his challenge to run 60 marathons in his 60th year. I’m sure Gary won’t mind me mentioning him and congratulating him on completing this with the Lions Bridge being his 60th marathon. I feel honoured that he wished to complete his impressive marathon challenge at my event here at the Gin Pit.
The arrangements for the event came together as normal, the extra distance presented no problem to organise and there was a handful of runners eager to take on this new distance. So as race day approached I wasn’t expecting anything usual to happen. I felt quite relaxed and in control then on the evening before the event Mrs C became unexpectedly and suddenly unwell. Sadly on the morning of the race Mrs C was much worse and had no option but to stay in bed. I had to immediately think how I could make sure I could cover everything needed for the run to go ahead. At the very last minute my local running friend Neil jumped in to help out initially to assist me getting all the water and supplies to the start as there was no way they would all fit in one car and I didn’t have time to make two trips.
Neil and Sandra kindly looked after registration for me. I had resigned to the fact I would be doing the time keeping on my own but Sandra said they could look after this and I should still run the race. I felt a bit guilty but as she insisted and I could see this was possible and kindly accepted.
I must really thank Sandra and Finty for looking after the lap counting and time keeping, they did a great job. In fact I must thank everyone who mucked in and helped in all sorts of ways, it ended up being real community effort. Everyone did a fantastic job and I was so relieved the event ran as smoothly as normal.
It was a lovely day from a Brathay 10in10 point of view, we had 16 10in10ers turn up so it was great to catch up with friends, although I didn’t get time to see everyone.
The weather was warm and dry and the course fairly dry making for good running conditions.
The winner of the first 50k was Charlie Sharpe with a time a mere 26 seconds over 4 hours. I heard Charlie started his watch a bit late and I’m sure this is the only reason why Charlie didn’t dip under 4 hours as I’m sure he is easily capable of doing this. Maybe Charlie will have to come back next year to break the 4 hour barrier on this new course. No ladies took on the distance this year so here’s a challenge for all the ladies out there.
Marathon winners were David Eyre in 3 hours 8 minutes and 50 seconds for the men and Sally Ford in 3 hours 39 minutes 12 seconds for the ladies. In the half marathon the winners were John Bampton in 1 hour 38 minutes 24 seconds for the men and Nichola D’Cruze in 1 hour 45 minutes 26 seconds for the ladies.
My admiration goes out to Carl. I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him a big man. He is both big in stature and mind. I was so impressed with his determination to complete his first 50k run. He was struggling in the latter stages of the race with heavy, tired legs and dehydration but his strong will kept him on track. He was carefully looked after by one of Astley and Tyldesley Road Runner’s coaches, Shaun who stayed with him for the whole distance. Carl’s effort was immense and I found it truly inspiring and I’m sure it was for all the others who watched. I love the way running can bring lots of different people with different abilities together for very different reasons.
This year we had a total of 65 runners.
In the week running up to the race I had pondered whether to race the run for a decent time or take it more leisurely and keep my eye on everything. I also considered whether I should have a go at the 50k. Anyhow with Mrs C being poorly I forgot all about this and was simply thankful for Sandra that I was actually running. The race ended up not being a race and hardly a run in parts. It mostly ended up with me running and chatting with different runners and catching up with friends. This lead to me having the most erratic paced run ever! I started off with the slow runners and worked my way slowly, very slowly up the field. I ended up catching up and lapping some runners and at times slowing down to chat. I was also lapped by others like Charlie and Paul and speeded up to talk with them, meaning I had one mile taking 15 minutes and others at a fairly brisk 7 and a half minute mile pace.
The whole race turned out to be anything but a race, hardly a run at times and nothing like any of the scenarios I had originally planned. It was more of a weird social affair but with my wife sadly not present. I’m not even going to mention my finishing time in this post as it was totally irrelevant.
Once I had finished my run, not that it was full of running. I took over from Sandra with the time keeping so she could put together the final preparations for Gary’s surprise 60th party in the welfare club. There was a good handful of his family and running friends to help him celebrate both his 60th birthday and his very special achievement of running 60 marathons in 1 year and of course share lots of cake.
I originally set up this race to help raise funds for the Brathay Trust, this year was no different and I’m pleased to say the event raised £865.69 for the charity. If you are wondering what this little charity does, it helpers disadvantaged young people and offers school children short breaks where they can experience an array of outdoor activities from the centres at Low Bank Ground and Hinning House in the Lake District.
The Lions Bridge is never about out and out racing but this year, simply running seemed to be second. It was all about Gary, a great friend, who I have had the pleasure run many marathons with. Happy birthday Gary and good luck with your continuing marathon running, I understand you are now attempting 100 marathons in 100 weeks so all the best over the coming 40 weeks while you continue running marathons.