Monday 13 March 2023

Two tunnels half marathon

It's been a sporty weekend, although it started very slowly. I volunteered as a park walker at Pomphrey Hill parkrun, so along with two other ladies I put on my blue park walker jacket and hung around at the back of the start looking out for other potential walkers.

Our job was to walk (obviously), encourage and chat to any other walkers and finish behind all of them so that they did not come last.

We only found one lady walker but she dropped out after one lap of the three lap course. Actually I didn't get to chat to her so I can't be blamed for boring her too much. The most exciting thing that happened in what seemed a very long time was that the tail runners, who had to stay behind us disappeared after a while. They thought that we had missed two walkers so were staying a discreet distance behind them, but it turned out that it was just two chaps going for a walk and nothing to do with us!

Sunday morning was a different kettle of fish. We got our bikes out and cycled to the start of the Two Tunnels half marathon. It was billed as a flat and fast course, and after running it I would say that both things were completely untrue. 

The course was out and back twice mostly along a disused railway line, and as it says, through two tunnels.

So we had to run through the two tunnels a total of four times each, one of which was a quarter of a mile long, and the other over a mile. Fives miles in total out of 13, in case you are skim reading this. 

The first mile was an uphill drag then we hit the first short tunnel. I was shocked by how dark it was, you couldn't see the ground a lot of the time and other people were just dark shadows and thumping footsteps. I got through it fairly quickly, then five minutes of daylight and then into the long tunnel. 

I couldn't see the end, and occasionally bikes went past in either direction with blindingly bright lights, but I started to enjoy it. The temperature was lovely, there was no wind and strange violin music was being played through speakers, so it was really interesting. 

Out the other end and along to a turn around point and then  through the tunnels again and back to the start point. At this stage I was having a good time and all of the marshalls were really friendly as I started out on the second lap. I noticed that I was too hot and getting tired but the trip through the tunnels restored me a bit. I saw Darren coming in the opposite direction and he took a photo. 

Still looking cheerful and heading for the final turnaround at about ten miles. After that I was suddenly exhausted and it was a huge slog to the final mile. Finally I tried to pick up the pace and just finish. It was mostly downhill before a steep incline with lots of people cheering. I wanted to walk but felt obliged to sort of run and then I was on the field and only 100 metres to go. 

I briefly thought that I couldn't make it after all and was going to stop and maybe cry, but I chugged along and then jumped over the finish line. 

Maybe I should have jumped higher because I am only just in the photo. 

Fast forward a few minutes and a couple of chocolate bars, and it's all looking and feeling much better. 

My target was to finish in less than 2 hours ten minutes, I did it in 2 hours nine minutes, got a lovely big medal so it was all worthwhile in the end. 

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