a (slightly unusual) birthday present from my elder daughter
This was a totally different experience, running on a large (and totally unfamiliar) scale, and with over 17,000 finishers. I guess this was a pretty good experience for me, assuming that I manage to make it to the start line in London next year. Just the logistics of it were a challenge – getting to the start on time; waiting around for best part of an hour ready to start; leaving a bag and picking it up afterwards; the crowds (got so wrapped up “high fiving” children that I missed the second drinks station) and portaloos!
Starting off near the back, I spent the whole ten miles overtaking people. It would appear that many people are pretty economical with the truth when stating their expected finish times. It was hellishly windy and the last two or so miles along the seafront were quite brutal. For the record my time was 1:30:02 – this was slower than I hoped for but given the conditions and the crowds (see above) I guess that this was destined to be a slower run than hoped for.
Thinking about this further, I suppose there really are two things going on. For some people this is a very serious run. But this is also a very serious fund-raising opportunity for a plethora of most worthy causes. And (inevitably) many of the people running on behalf of charities are less serious runners. I think I start to see (some of) the attraction of running around in a chicken suit. The important thing is to get around, and maybe the time it takes is not so important.
I was made most welcome in the CLIC Sargent tent after the run. I wrote a blog entry entitled (a bit tongue in cheek) “Grumpy Middle Aged Man Runs The Great South Run“. But the thing is I really didn’t feel at all grumpy. Which makes it even more difficult to explain the above photo 🙁