I suppose I need to thank my mum for getting me in to running and sticking with it.
As I am from West Hull I joined City of Hull AC when I was 10 years old and had a great few years track running (800M) and cross country. Years later when I came to Leeds to start my nurse training I wanted to start running again so I looked up the local running club and I have been a member of Kippax Harriers for 23 years! Many races later and 3 marathons I thought I needed a challenge so I entered Hull marathon in January.
It had been 19 years since the last marathon ( 2 London and Nottingham) so it was definitely going to be a challenge! Training was going well getting the miles in but then a couple of holidays got in the way so not the best planning but I was not going to worry. The week before I was getting very excited just by all the messages of support and the fantastic fundraising for Sunshine and Smiles so this spurred me on and I had a very positive attitude about the race.
Race day came and we set off for Hull about 06.30, all organised not even that nervous and arrived at the KC stadium in West Park all very civilised and no queues for the toilets! Time to race, I got in my starting pen just behind the 4hr 30 pacer ( I wish) and set off, not too fast I kept saying to myself, just enjoy it and take in the atmosphere which I did. The course took me out past the Deep, and out towards East Hull, and the support was good most people were still in dressing gowns and slippers at this time and some looked bewildered at what we were doing! I was feeling good and a nice steady pace when we came back towards the Old town and the docks at about 9 miles and it became very lonely no supporters allowed on the docks and it wasn’t a pleasant smell either!
I knew I was soon to be coming to a drinks station at 11 miles on the same street as the family fish business so this helped me along and as I turned the corner of Havelock Street I saw Roach Bros and there was Richard and Eleanor waiting for me. Well I was so happy to see them and we had a few photos ( for the company website) and off I went again, we did get a few funny looks taking photos outside a fish factory!
I continued on until we got to the half way point at Pickering park and there were a lot of excited runners who had finished their leg of the relay( there were 2 person and 4 person relays going on too which was a bit hard mentally as they had their numbers on the back so it was obvious who was only running 6 miles or 12 miles)!
Mile 15-17 was a bit of a struggle going slightly uphill on a long stretch of road and it was an out and back section so all the front runners coming back and the 4hr 30 pacer passed me! The support was great and I had to focus as we were approaching the Humber Bridge and I had more family there to support so I needed to look fresh. My brother and sister were shouting and cheering so that was a great boost and I was smiling when I reached the bridge and there was a lovely breeze and I reached mile 20 yeah!
The next few miles were tough and I had to dig in, I saw my family again as I was coming back across the bridge and I thought it is not far now and the gels, bananas and water station was just what I needed to give me the momentum to keep going back down the same stretch of road but it still seemed hard!
The next few miles got harder but I was determined not to let the 5hr pacer get near me which he didn’t.
Another boost at 24 miles was entering the Costello Stadium, the athletics track I trained on when I was 10 and there was a timed 100 meter sprint for anyone who was up for it so I thought as least make an effort ( 26 seconds on my results, but I was never a sprinter)!
Only 2 miles to go and into another park ( 5 in total) Peter Pan Park and towards the finish at the KC Stadium.
We passed a few pubs and Hulls finest were out in force being a very sunny day not slightly interested in the runners! I could see the stadium and a big camera so I gave a big wave and smile and started to relax and enjoy the finish. As I entered the stadium at one side the spectators were on the other side near the finish so was madly looking for Richard and Eleanor and then I heard Eleanor shouting. I spotted them as I rounded the bend and this is when I felt like a star with everyone cheering and shouting for me, I knew Richard would be videoing so waving and smiling was a must and the crowd was brilliant, I had to finish with a little sprint.
4hrs 51mins 06, over an hour slower than my last marathon but 19 years older! I had done it and a lovely medal and teeshirt too. The end.
Written by Alison Hunter.