By Ross Lawry
22nd Nov 2015
So it’s the morning of the race and I wake really early, this is the third night in a row I haven’t slept well due to worry, nerves and head full of doubt. “Had I trained enough”, “Had I eaten the right food the days before”, “Had I put enough energy tablets in my water backpack”, “Had I plucked that one hair that grows out my left ear”. So why am I so nervous, just the small matter of trying to complete 26.2 miles lay ahead, the furthest distance I will have ever run. It’s only 26.2 miles I kept telling myself. But throw the word Marathon in there, and those miles take on a complete different meaning!!!!
I arrive at Millennium house in Pensilva and fight my way through the doors to the main room, Claire Todd greets me with a reassuring smile and hands me my racing number 320. I try to settle myself and pin my number on my STARC t-shirt hardly speaking at all, just showing signs of nerves and worry. Before I knew it we were all outside in the spitting rain making our way to the the start line. After a minute’s silence to remember all the people effected in the Paris terrorist attacks, we were off.
It’s 2 laps around the Village, Darren McColl and Neil Truscott tell me, my training partners for the last few weeks. Everyone is trying to jostle for their place as we complete them. Helen Struthridge is stood on the corner for both laps cheering everyone on and shouting “come on boys”, if only she could be on every corner for the whole race with that amount of encouragement I thought to myself. After the 2 laps we make our way out the village and up the first of many, many, many hills that lay ahead that day, it kicks in, this is real, I’m trying to complete my goal of running a marathon, still not believing in myself.
As we reach the top of that first hill, Gemma Pateman can be seen up ahead powering along, then whoosh Geoff Bazeley flies pass, “can’t stop guys I’m in a rhythm” he shouts out. I smile to myself as I can see his yellow gloves powering through the air like a well controlled mime artist. It’s at this point Neil Truscott starts to drop behind, he is suffering with his knee and you could see he was in pain. Then from behind a familiar voice can be heard, I think I could hear it a mile before she caught up with me, Claire Budge. “how you doing” she asks as she overtakes me dropping down into Golitha Falls.
We are now heading out to Jamaica Inn, and Darren McColl is encouraging me all the way, look it’s just behind the trees, once we are there that’s the hard part done and we will be making our way back. Trying to dig in and keep going I look ahead, those tree’s seeming to get further away with ever step, the doubt kicks in again, “Why am I doing this to myself”, “What am I trying to prove here”, “Is that hair in my left ear slowing me down”. Then ahead the Marshall’s can be seen, that’s Nigel and Debbie Marshall with a tub of sugary sweets, I take 2 as they ask how I’m doing. I could not answer so did a silly jig to show I was still alive at this point.
Finally, we hit Jamaica Inn, and run pass a crowd of supporters, I see and hear Geraldine shout out “Well done Ross” as we run pass, then straight into a photo shoot as Steve Covus and Melissa Rowe are snapping away. I was struggling at this point, my body was saying you have done over 13 miles now why are you still going. A little walk was required to take on some drink and an energy gel, “now the fun has arrived” I can hear from behind. Georgina Speake had caught us up, after taking some of my drink and asking how I’m doing she is off, never to be seen again until the end.
We started off running again in to Draynes Valley, a flat section for the next 5 miles, we hit mile 16 and I came alive. I think it was to do with the fact that I figured out in my head I had ten more miles to go and I could count these, on my hands with my fingers. As we picked up the pace on these flat miles, Darren started to struggle with his hip, “go ahead” he kept saying. Could I, I thought, complete the last miles all alone. “come on Lawry you don’t need your hand held” I said to myself. Slowly pulling away from Darren I kept going, Before I knew it the miles slipped away and the flat section was over. I was at 21 miles and the climbs back up those hills started. Once again I dug deep and keep myself going, then in the distance a few flashes of yellow could be seen, really was it I thought, that’s Geoff Bazeley gloves, this drove me on, could I catch him. Determined and focused I made my way up those hills. Overtaking Geoff and shouting “move over trainee marathon runner coming through” to him. I can not tell you his reply as some ladies will be reading this.
Half way up the last hill after mile 24, I had to walk again. A car pulled along beside me, it was Terry Wyatt, “brilliant Ross, you’re doing really well” his encouraging words from behind his steering wheel. He drove along with me for a few minutes, I asked if I had passed mile 25 yet, for some reason I had completely missed that marker. Just to the top of this hill then it is all down hill to to finish he stated. Really I thought, could it be. I reached the top and felt relief, I could see the downhill, I think I found my smile again, I must have left it there on the way out.
As I ran down the hill into the Village, I could see the 26mile marker. My throat went dry and my eyes welled up, this was the first time in all the weeks of my training and that day it hit me, I can do it, I can complete this. I lifted my head and opened my stride, “well in my head I did this”. And ran up to Millennium house, I crossed the finish line and they placed the medal round my neck, I wiped the tears from my cheeks hoping no one could see, “I am a bloke after all”. I had got back just in time for the presentations, as I leaned against the door frame for support with my pasty and a hot cup of tea in my hands, I was able to watch the amazing speedy people of the club collect their prizes.
3rd overall & 1st 50-54 Emma Murray
2nd Ladies team Emma Murray, Jessica Buscombe, Jodie-May Gauld, Carly Kendall
Overall- 2nd Stuart Nicholas
3rd Paul Maskell
Men under 35- 1st Stuart Nicholas 2nd Jamie Masters
35-39- 1st Paul Maskell
40-44 1st Phil Montgomery-smith
45-49 3rd Tim Adams
50-54 1st Duncan Oakes
1st Mens Team- Stuart Nicholas, Paul Maskell, Duncan Oakes, Phil Montgomery-Smith.
I felt proud, proud to be apart of an amazing club, proud of all the guys who won awards and ran that day and proud that I completed my goal of sub 5 hours and can finally say “Yes I have completed a marathon”
Well done to everyone who ran and also to each and everyone of the supporters, it was an amazing day and a brilliant end to the GP race season.