Monday, 30 May 2011

Stornoway Half Marathon

The weather forecast was predicting heavy rain and wind all weekend. With the prospect of a ferry crossing, 2 nights in a tent, and a half marathon, we were undecided whether or not to go. I'm glad we did, as an awesome weekend was had!!

We drove up to Ullapool on the Friday and met with the others to head over on the ferry. High winds were forecast, but we were pleasantly surprised by how calm it felt. After tucking into our pre-race dinner and Caribbean tea cake, it wasn't long at all until we docked at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. We registered for the race and bought out post race ceilidh tickets and then it was off to the Laxdale campsite to set up our tents. We were lucky to get them up in time before the rain started.

The next morning we had our pre-race breakfast and headed down to the start of the race. Just 5 minutes before the start the rain came pouring down and was so heavy and cold that it took your breath away!! I felt sorry for Neil, who at this point, was starting to question my / his sanity. I reminded him of the post race buffet and curry we'd be having later on to try and make him feel better?! Not sure how much it worked! The on and off rain and sunshine was to be the theme of the day. We set off at 10am and the first mile was downhill so was good to get the legs turning. I actually felt quite good and went through the first mile in 6:50, much quicker than I normally do for a half marathon. Dean and Gillian headed off into the distance (I didn't even see Keith). I really enjoyed the course, it was a mixture of running through the town, and along the coast and through the grounds of Lews Castle. Some parts were trail and slightly undulating, so it was tough in places, but I really enjoyed it. I knew I must be fairly high up the field but not sure where. I had a lady from Helensburgh not far behind me, so once I'd heard from a marshal I was 3rd woman, I was determined to keep pushing the pace and maintain my position. I had a tough time through mile 9 and 10, but an energy gel perked me up a little and I just crossed off the miles to the finish. I came in at 1:33:49, a PB, really pleased. Keith had some in first male, Dean 11th, and Gillian 2nd lady! A good result for all. We jogged back to cheer on Neil. He'd unfortunately had problems with his ITB band which was causing him a lot of pain. He completed the race though and was smiling as he crossed the line! A very much deserved medal!!

With the race completed, it was time for the post race buffet and cake extravaganza, prizegiving (possibly the best prizes ever, Lewis Chessmen, and a black pudding spot prize!), pool and jacuzzi, curry, pub and ceilidh!! As always the island hospitality it second to none, with the race organisers taking us on a mini-bus tour of the island on the Sunday before the ferry home. It was pouring with rain, but that didn't stop them showing us their island with pride.

A great weekend, and I look forward to going back there again, maybe one day when the sun is shining :-).

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