Gower coast half marathon

2010-11-13, Comments

I ran the Gower coast half marathon today. It’s a cracking route, heading past Fall Bay, round Worms Head, over the top of Rhossili Down, through Hillend, around Broughton Burrows, over Llanmadoc Hill, down to Llangennith, back along the soggy side of Rhossili Down to Mewslade, and then up and down the coast path to the finish.

The wind had dropped and the sun was out. It was wet and muddy underfoot after all the recent rainfall.

Unexpectedly I found myself up with the leaders coming over Rhossili Down. Slowing up would probably be a good idea but running along Llangennith beach in the sunshine felt wonderful. The sand was firm and the waves were high and white. By Llanmadoc Hill I even had a small lead but by now my legs felt leaden. Running through the marshland below Rhossili Down was nasty. I wanted it to end.

Last time I ran a half marathon (2007) it took 1 hour and 22 minutes. Although the Gower course was a mile or two longer, and despite the challenging terrain, I reckoned I’d be able to finish it in 1:40. Just keep going until 1:40, I told myself. I kept checking my watch. 1:40 passed. I slipped and stumbled along one of those rocky rural lanes which becomes a stream at this time of year. 1:45. I was on the coast path above Mewslade, my favourite beach. 1:50.

I eventually finished with a time of 1:52:51. That’s about twice as long as any of my training runs. I failed to spot the very last route marker and ended up going a few extra metres along a lane to the finish line rather than directly through a field — which sadly meant Gail, Isobel and Alex didn’t get to see me running. They did see me awarded my prize, though. A medal and some tokens to future Endurance Life events. Yes, I won!

Thanks for the tokens, and thanks too for organising such a great event, but I think I shall retire unbeaten.