Saturday, 14 August 2010

Haddington Half Marathon

There are more photos - not so partisan - at this link although you might have to join facebook to access it, I'm not sure. And there are more photos than the ones that are there - if you emailed me your number I might be able to find one!

Anyway. Funny old day. I had a chat with my plumber (yes we speak every day now) and he mentioned about the possibility of our ceilings having to come down, becoming more likely by the day as Scottish Water don't fix the stopcock in the street for the mains water and the  leak from the mains water in the roof drips into our flat...remember? He reminded me I better phone my insurance. So I did. Not something I do everyday. I rang the number and a Sussex voice rang out, "Who is your insurer?" "I thought you were," I limply told her - "Wot is the telephone number of your insurer?" "This is the number it says on the policy to ring." She clearly wasn't feeling helpful. Maybe its a claims help-line for a few different insurances. We got nowhere and we both agreed that I'd be better talking to someone else on Monday.

You can only brood about your ceiling coming down for so long so I took my bike downstairs in the hope I'd be able to jam it somehow into the Berlingo, and go and spectate at Haddington. The day started to feel better. The seats folded down very nicely and I soon had my bike in its entirety neatly jammed into the back of the van and stabilised with some bungies. I put on the radio and listened to a bit of the proms. They were doing Bach. I don't mind a bit of Bach, except it does make you think of funeral homes.

Pretty soon and minutes before race start I was in Haddington, so I got myself down to the start with the plan of following the route. As it was I went wrong almost immediately and was soon standing at the side of the road looking quizzically at a map of the race that I'd brought along, wondering if I was going to miss the whole thing. A nice old bloke with white hair came over the road and asked if he could help - and he could - he pointed my in the right direction and I set off again.

There were a couple of guys in red vests (who I failed to photograph every single time) out front and then quite soon a fair pack of Porties came galloping down the hill. I let everyone go by and then set out once again to get past the leaders. The course was a good deal hillier than I had remembered - and I cringed a bit realising I'd told everyone not to worry about the hills, worry about the heat. On the bike it was a deal cooler and very comfortable but I could see from the runners' faces that they were cooking.

I finally managed to pass the leaders just before 7 miles and stopped to speak to Willie Jarvie (Willie Jar Superstar), but he was also taking photos so I thought it made more sense to press on and find a different vantage point. I went a bit past the 9 mile marker and leaned my bike up against a gate and enjoyed the rustling wheat and the sunshine.

Pretty soon number 1 runner came through (sorry I don't know his name) - looking quite happy - he was working hard, but was cheerful with it. He was miles ahead of everyone else and won in a time of 71 minutes I think.

Runners came by in one and twos and then there were more clumps of them. It was really enjoyable Porty spotting and getting as many pics of people I knew (and others) as I could. I was busily focusing on Ann Hay wen I realised the guy running near her was acting a bit strangely. He seemed to run almost towards me, and staggered, and fell on his bum and then got up and fell over backwards. I put the camera down...

This was Chris, originally from Kinross and now from Manchester. He thought that we should get back to the road. "Where do you think we are?" I asked him. "We're behind the wall, but there's a road over there, I saw it."

I tried to take his pulse but it was quick and weak, he was sweating profusely and feeling sick and not making much sense so I called an ambulance and sat with him at the side of the road. It was a bit of a challenge telling the ambulance where we were - but my map saved the day for the 2nd time, and I was able to tell them the number of the road and that I was 4 miles from Haddington.

Chris was a bit gutted to leave the race and he tried a couple of times to join in again, but couldn't stand up so fell over into a patch of nettles and then got on his hands and knees to be sick. I had to be quite stern with him to stop him shuffling around. You could see how his determination had got him into trouble. His main concern was that his mates would take the piss because he'd told them he was going to run sub 1.40 and he'd been laughing at them for not being able to run a half marathon. He hadn't run more than 10 miles himself before. He asked me what age I was and told me I had a nice voice. He was a bit shocked to find out I was 43. (He was 25). "Just as well your husband's not here!" he said.

He was a nice chap. After a while the ambulance arrived and they got him on a stretcher and he started to vomit in earnest. I'm sure he will be alright.

After all that excitement I made my way to the end of the race where everyone was flopped on the grass. The Porties took male and female team prizes and Emily was 3rd "Masters" lady. She was a bit unsure about being a master but was willing to go with it...

I quizzed Claire Gilchrist - who is running very well indeed, about what her secret is and she told me its higher mileage. She's consistently running between 50 and 60 miles a week and not letting anything get in the way. Hmmm....

Tomorrow, all being well, is the Lomonds of Fife Hill race. My knee is a bit dodgy but I think its just grumbling rather than injured. If I think about it too much I make it worse, so I might just not think about it...

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