Another day, another year and it was time yet again for me to tackle my nemesis 10k race which I have struggled with every year for the last 4 years. It has always been at a time when for one reason or another I have been unfit or carrying a niggle and thus have never been able to give this a good shot. So this year I got my ass together and have followed a training plan to get me to the church on time. In the last couple of weeks before this big one everything was coming to plan. I had just got a park run PB, had a great WSFR run over the hills and managed to watch a whole series of Family Guy all within a week, oh yeah life is good and coming into this race I was feeling ready to take it by the scruff of the neck, fling it around a little and swallow it whole like Trevor Day devouring a bag of jam doughnuts.
The day of reckoning had arrived and I was up early (about 3am by my watch and 3.01am by the clock) in anticipation of this momentous day. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of oysters and champagne, even managed to squeeze out a whole thimble full of wee, oh yes those little nerves were playing footsie with my tummy but today was my day and no one and nothing was going to take away my moment of glory.
I put on my running gear along with my new pair of Zoot running shoes purchased the day before. Never change anything on the day of a race is the rule of thumb so I made sure to comb my hair into its usual wide parting, it looked like a solar panel for a sex machine. My new trainers were the dogs, all clean and bluey colour with neat ironed laces, I think they fitted ok but I just liked the colour of them. With number adorned over my chest, it was time for this Gladiator to take his chariot to the battle ground. As we drove closer to the meeting place at the Hove Lawns I could see many other runners making their way to the battle ground. They came in all shapes and sizes and ages, there must have been at least a couple of thousand like-minded runners for this biggy and the sun god was shining down on us today although there was a very cool steady breeze blowing through. I made my way to the start pen and somehow found myself at the very front of the pack on the start line, so I took a few cheeky selfies just for good measure but as I turned my head I caught in my eye line Steve Booker and Michelle Cartwright , it was too late at that point to say I hadn’t seen them so I made a hasty retreat from the front and jiggled my way back to them, and again took some more cheeky selfies with them. The anticipation rose amongst the crowd and it was almost time for the off. Michelle said she was possibly going for a PB and I knew Steve was in good form so I was in two minds as to whether to stick to my race plan or stick in behind the guys (if you’ll excuse the expression).
The horn hooted and the 1500 other super heroes all went surging forward. There I was dressed as Beer belly man along with Michelle as Super woman and Steve as, well I still haven’t worked it out. Before I knew it I was over taken by ninja man and the incredible hulk, this was a race of epic proportions and one not for the feint hearted. I decided to go with Steve and Michelle so my race plan went out of the window and my first mile was some 25 seconds faster than I had planned for. Mile 1 came and Michelle was already flexing her cape and starting to pull away from Steve and myself. Ok ok no panic just keep popeye in my sights and who’s that with the long black tail, no I must stop looking and concentrate on the race, although I have to say cat woman did look rather fetching dangling her tail along behind her. Mile 2 came and I had long lost Michelle and Steve so I was on my own now, just me and my big belly to lug around the course. I checked the watch and I was 10 seconds up on the 2nd mile and then mile 3 came ad again I was another 10 seconds up on my race plan so giving me 45 seconds up on where I hoped to be and I was looking good along with er some bloke who was dressed as a dominatrix gimp kind of style and the man who really hadn’t bothered too much and wore a t-shirt with a super hero emblem on it, why do these people turn up if there not going to take the race seriously. Mile 4 came and I had dropped my pace but I was still in with a shot of my 10k PB. The 5k super heroes had dropped out of the race now and there was now daylight and running space along the beach. It was a spectacular sight seeing so many runners playing dress up and the public was lapping up this festival of costumes parading themselves like the grand national horses on race day. Mile 5 came and disaster struck, my gremlin from so many races before had raised its ugly head again and decided that today was playtime, CRAMP. I don’t know why it likes to always come out on race days coz it sure doesn’t bother on training days. I pulled up to stretch it out and I could see martial arts man, the hulk and crazy doctor with blood stained white coat (super hero???) all passing by me. I couldn’t believe it was happening again as I lay my belly on the bench and stretched out my calf. I checked the watch and there was still hope on the horizon. I saw the saucy cat tail in the distance and hoped that might spur me on, so I soldiered on with a mile to go. I could see Steve Booker up ahead and though that maybe that mask was one mask too many for him, how was he meant to breathe through that thing. Again I had to pull up and stretch the calves out but I still thought that by this time there might just be a glimmer of hope that I could make my PB.
With about 600 mtrs to go I was over taken by two dudes so it was game on, if you have the costume to overtake at this point then I hope you have the super hero power to take you to the finish line ahead of me. Now I’m not very competitive when it comes to a finish but these dudes had seriously ruffled my cape. So I poised myself for a finish, hair – check, belly in place – check, sweaty head band away from eyes – check, ok this was it, time to show the full force of super belly man in full effect. 300 mtrs to go and I made my move, I got along side of said two dudes and glanced across at them. I could see one of them had been hit hard by Kryptonite so he was going to be no threat but the other dude still had some spirit left in him. 200 mtrs to go and Kryptonite man was out of it and it was just me and spirited dude left. I made my move and spirited dude came with me, aarrgghh no this wasn’t in the script, so again I pushed on and my cape was flying behind me, again spirited dude tried to go with me but it was all over as I powered my way through to the finishing line, well when I say powered I use the term very loosely here of course, not so much powered erm more like a giddy up like school kids do in the playground. I looked down at my watch but alas today was not to be my day 48.42 and a minute and 20 seconds outside of my PB. Maybe if I hadn’t have purred over cat womans tail so much or maybe if I had stuck to my race plan or maybe of the weather had been kinder or etc etc can I add any more excuses? This however is a great family day out and is a real spectacle for the general public. This just engages youngsters and fun-runners to participate and all for a great cause as well. As for Steve and Michelle, Steve said he didn’t have his greatest run and I think the mask may have had something to do with that and Michelle, well she got herself a new PB. Thank you Super heroes run and I’ll see you again next year then. Thanks Marc Bonaldi.