By Stuart Nicholas
28th Jun 2015
Sunday 28th June 2015 marked the day of the Torbay Half marathon. Decided to enter this one on a whim to try and break the illustrious 75 minute barrier, to obtain na championship place at the 2016 Virgin London Marathon.
So, early on the Saturday we head off over the border to spend the morning at Paignton Zoo (which is awesome but much to my dad’s disappointment they didn’t keep me there) and to chill out before a nice Italian for tea in nearby Torquay.
Race morning – breakfast at 0600, race start at 0900 prompt. Gotta love those ‘Oats so simple’ just add water porridge pots!!
Anyway, quick warm up, up and down the seafront weaving between tourists and spotting a few familiar faces of Hayle Running club! Scott Abraham and Dan Costello, both of whom had done it a few years ago.
So lining up on the start line (the race was chip timed) I see a few ‘familiar’ faces – Jonah Chesum & Teresiah Omosg of Team Runfast and GB’s Steve Way, 10th place finisher in last year’s Commonwealth Games marathon.
0900 – Claxon sounds, the mass charge around Paignton Green and everyone has their elbows out. Fine, I can play at that game too. After the green has been lapped, it is a simple double lapped race, along the streets of Paignton and into neighbouring Torquay and back.
Trouble is, there are two hills…. twice. Nothing really bad, but enough to take the momentum away. And it started drizzling at mile 2. And now the sole of my shoe has decided to slip towards my heel….It sorted itself out eventually.
Unfortunately ascending the hills first time round, made me realise that this is not really a PB course (compared to the likes of Cardiff) though it is quite fast. Depends if there is a wind, because when it’s against you one direction, its behind you the next.
We all know running is a mental game as much as it is physical, so I commandeered the two chaps I was battling with and persuaded them to work as a group opposed to against one another, which worked wonders. Though me being over 6ft and they were quite… petit? I wonder who got the better deal. Ah well, swings and roundabouts.
Anyway, being a sole STARC runner out of county meant en route support was a bit sparse. However, us Cornishfolk get cocky when we’m up country/Over the Tamar and numbers means nothing. Anna Trehane (my other half) was head photographer and supporter and with it being a double lapper popped up in all the right places bellowing ‘GO STU!!!’ and taking a few probably unflattering snaps. That being said, Lucy Hodgson of Newquay and Par was running so her husband Graham was coaching and cheering from the sidelines, again, knowing what to say and when. Thanks guys. Lucy went on to finish in 81:25 and 2nd in her age group. Well done Lucy.
Finishing times? Didn’t quite break 75 minutes, but got pretty close with 77:46 and 13th place overall. The Winner (Chesum) finished in 69:22 and first lady home (Omog) finished in 75:13.
An ‘alright’ goody bag, T-shirt and medal for completing, but the best bit was a roast dinner in ’The Queens Arms’ in nearby Brixham, which was voted as South Devon’s Pub of the Year 2014 by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
Thanks for taking the time to read this report, and maybe see you on the start line on Paignton Pier in the future.