Great Bentley Half Marathon 2016 by Kelly Jogger Jones
Race Report (Kelly feels ever so official now)
So where to begin, my first Race Report; I guess I’ll start at the very beginning, I am assured it’s a very good place to start. (sung)
Way back when in 2015, I was coerced by a very enthusiastic flyer, namely Kay, (and assured by Anne it was an excellent one for the first one) (like I would be doing more than one) to enter my first half marathon. I signed up injury free with the enthusiasm of a small child when they hear the ice cream van approaching.
We were going to be fine we had a plan, a Keith Passingham plan, now you know you’re in safe hands with a Keith plan! However, my childish enthusiasm for the big day bummed out at the end of the first week of 2016 when I was struck with injury, my glutes are really not all they should be! And my plan became very non plan.
After a week of ‘rest’ and no improvement I became a regular visitor of Kieran Mote and learnt about a whole new world of pain, torture implements, quite frankly things you never thought you’d pay for…
The week before Great Bentley I had my first ‘Flyers outing’ at the London Winter 10k a fabulous fun filled day and the longest distance I had managed in 5 weeks. At this point I still wasn’t 100% sure if Great Bentley was an option for me and my niggles, but Kay and I had a planned a night away the evening before, a whole night without children! so I decided I would either be there as a supporter in full voice or a ‘runner’ lets face it I was not about to cancel my first night away without children.
The day before Great Bentley arrived and I was collected by Kay and we were off!! It seems both Kay and myself are unable to pack for a night away, with a first half marathon for us both the following day, the running clothes and accessories however didn’t take up as much room as the food! You would have thought we were travelling to a faraway island away from any civilisation, shops or people the protein bars, the energy blocks, the electrolytes, crisps and vegan cakes, (please see Kay for recipe) we had it all.
On arrival at the Premier Inn in Weeley, which we agreed was really weally rather lovely we walked in to our room and the view from our window was one of a pond with a back drop of farmland and we saw bunnies frolicking around said pond, yes I know this has absolutely nothing to do with a half marathon but I’m setting the scene ok, bear with.
So after unpacking, eating, sorting and a nice cup of tea we decided it would be rather splendid to pop into Clacton for look around, as you do. Our first problem was that we got lost leaving the Premier Inn yes we managed to get lost in a straight hallway…hmmm was this a sign of things to come, really didn’t bode too well.
Clacton was for the most part really, weally (last one) bloody windy it has similar youths to Southend who obviously feel no cold. After a pizza hut and shower (I don’t know why you need to know that) we made our plans for the morning and thought it prudent to check where exactly it was we were going and what time the race actually started (see it still is a race report)
Settling down that night I was listening to the wind whipping at the window like an evil dominatrics, I prayed that the wind would die down and wondered if I could even still run in the wind …
The morning of the race (finally yes I’m getting there)
Kay and I were dressed and ready there was much talk of ‘toilet plans’ as we headed over to the restaurant for our all you can eat breakfast, Kay took this all you can eat breakfast rather more seriously than I did, I felt sick with nerves… this was really, weally (I lied) happening.
After my nervous body made several failed attempts to throw up in the car park Kay finally let me in the car she told me she happily, yes happily, deals with poop but no vomit thanks.
Heading along the road into great Bentley, trying not to vomit, we joined a long queue of cars being excellently directed into position on the green, we fought off the desire to wave like mad women at the chap in the car behind in the ORANGE top… which turned out to be a good move as he was a ‘jaffa’ not a flyer, which is a rather unfortunate name for any man to have emblazoned across his chest.
Once parked we followed the crowds, we assumed that they must be heading towards the village hall… on the green we spotted Lucy (Wood) and chatted I actually have no recollection of the conversation as I was a bundle of pre-race nerves but I was careful not to trip across the railway tracks and we all made it safely into the hall, after a quick loo visit, portaloos perfectly placed in the village hall car park.
On entering the hall, the flyers were easy to spot; a sea of orange, a cluster of clementine’s, a can of carrots, I could go on but I won’t. The collection of race numbers was easy and we were provided with an envelope containing everything we needed chip, number, pins, and a tag for bag drop this was all going awfully well. I got myself ready and had some much needed flyer hugs then bag drop and toilets, yes again
Back into the hall everyone ‘seemed’ very calm and relaxed and I at this point I questioned whether or not I should actually be here amongst all these ‘runners’ Kelly the jogger what was I thinking? I suggested to Graham that maybe I should join him and the cheer team but no it seems I was destined to do this now.
We all made our way out of the hall and around the corner to a small industrial estate and the starting line. The flyers were in full spirits and there were group pictures taken. That start of race ‘feeling’ spread through the crowd, we all became brother and sister runners, we were all going to do this, all running our own races, but together as a team, a family. (insert arh here)
The wind was still there whipping around us and through the cacophony of chatter and sough of the wind we heard a voice through loud speaker. He spoke of the amazing record attempt taking place that day by the Stewart family, to break the world record for the fastest half marathon pushing a buggy. The fastest stood at 2:30.
Then we were off I was mindful of advice given to not get dragged along too quick at the start, I’m normally quite a chatty runner (you never knew) I don’t know if it was the wind or if it was the thought of running the furthest I’ve ever run but this run I was not my normal chatty self, well not for the first 3 miles then I found myself.
Some flyers took off at a sprint, I admired their gusto and soon saw them slip away into the distance, the orange glow disappearing around corners, occasionally a brief glimpse of orange was spied through a line of trees not yet in leaf. I ran alongside Kay and Diane I feel so grateful for having them there by myside, up ahead we could see Jacqui, Debbie and James which gave us something to aim for.
The route was really pretty; snow drops in bloom and naked hedges starting to burst into leaf, we enjoyed looking at the big houses and out across ploughed fields, being unfamiliar with the route we took each new twist and turn looking for the next mile marker. There were some places where the wind tried to stop you in your tracks and I don’t remember the miles but I remember thinking how hard it was to push against that wind, how difficult going it was, I thought to myself much harder though for the person pushing a buggy. The conversation with Kay and Diane kept me going and the non-flyer just behind us called Mark.
At one point we caught up to Debbie and Jacqui because they had stopped for a quick outfit change behind the wall of a grand looking drive entrance (because no one will spot them in their really bright orange tops there…)
The support along route from marshalls, fellow flyers and local residents was phenomenal, I was surprised how much it lifts your spirits and puts a spring in your step to hear a well done or someone shout your name, particularly at points where I was struggling.
On route there were photographers waiting for your approach so we kept a beady eye out for them making sure to give them our best smiles waves and whoops.
We came to a hill and I saw a man with what looked like a scaffolding pole resting on a stick, I thought perhaps the whole ‘half marathon thing’ had gotten a bit too much for me but it was in fact a man playing a didgeridoo yes that’s right folks a didgeridoo (and I had to google that) he was perfectly placed on the hill and gave us shouts of encouragement and a promise of water over the hill as we passed.
At one point we passed a tyre swing Kay suggested that we should have a go but I thought if I were to stop I might not carry on, but I understand that the draw was just too strong for some and at least one flyer had a swing or two hey Keith.
So on to mile 11, mile 11 was where things went a bit wrong for me heading along towards the bend in the road with the mile 12 just round the corner (so I was told) was where I suddenly stopped I had been fighting my brain for a good two miles the brain was saying walk the body was running just not listening, I had a full on conversation with myself, why do you want to stop, I did a full body scan feet okay legs, arms, back, well anyway there I stopped suddenly still for 10 whole seconds Kay turned and screamed at me (I shall leave out the swear words..) She shouted
“you are not **** stopping! we are nearly **** there! you will *** run now!!!!” I wasn’t aware Kay could shout this loudly, I think she even surprised herself. Diane called with encouragement and Mark the poor chap who had endured our conversation from mile 1 put a hand on my shoulder saying “you can do this” and I was back running.
From that point on I think I only passed the finish due to the verbal encouragement I received from Kay, Diane and Mark I can’t explain the joy, no the elation, no the overwhelming wowishness (there we are new word) I felt as we came around that final corner with the 13-mile marker insight I felt like my body didn’t belong to me but I was somehow powering it without a brain because while my brain said no my body kept on going. With kay by my side we headed over the gravel on to the grass, the final stretch (ON BLOODY GRASS!!)
We finished, two hours, nineteen minutes, forty five seconds.
Sweaty hugs all round I felt like crying (tears of happiness) but I think my body felt it had done enough for me. Our medals were received and I have honestly never felt like I earned something so much. Our chips were removed. We collected our Mars Bars, Bananas and water.
We had completed our first half marathon, our longest ever run.
Graham greeted us with chocolates and Anne had a new PB 1:56.40 shaving nearly 8minutes off of her Great Bentley run the year before. Kay and I wanted to wait for the people yet to cross the finish line but once we had stopped running the wind and cold proved to be too much, we headed back to the warmth of the village hall, and the promise of tea and cake, a walk which seemed so much longer than it had just a few hours before.
Several flyers achieved new PBs at Great Bentley in spite of the strong winds and because they are simply amazing human beings; Josanne 1:45.37, Ali 1:47.49, Richard 1:52.15, Phillip 1:37.03 on his first half! Matthew 1:36.13 beating his last half by a whole 6 minutes, Laura 3:10 along with the lovely Tina 3:10, Louise Y 1:47.06, Anne 1:56.40, Vicci 1:49.32, Kelly R 2:33, Debbie W 2:32 along with Jacky H 2:32.19, Diane 2:19.05, (she said she would slow down at the end… but she didn’t) Jacqui 2:11.35 on her first half, Clive 1:45, Terry 2:01.47 on his first half, Lucy2:29.42, Kay 2:19.45
(If I have missed anyone off of that PB roll call it’s not because you not awesome it’s because my phone died and that’s where I access facebook)
Amazing results for; Alex 1:47.05, Dan 1:27.42, Andie 2:13.54 Keith along with Karen 2:34,Steve 2:03.26, Mark 1:40.53 and David Miller.
I think it’s safe to say that all the Flyers really flew at Great Bentley sometimes we flew with the wind sometimes against it “Orange Army!” I believe at this point someone should burst into song…
” Orange is the colour…”
I shall end it here with a thanks having not done a race report before I’m not sure that’s the exact protocol but none the less (I don’t care)
Thanks to those who believed I could when I didn’t,
that’s all folks