The Torbay Half Marathon 23rd June 2013 Race Review

I am sitting, writing this, in a great deal of discomfort. That, in itself, is not a bad thing. I have been without discomfort after a race for a while, probably Paris, that I ran a week after Tunbridge Wells. It reminds me of the early days, back in the Spring of last year when I was just starting to run and a 10K would leave me walking like the Tin Man for a week. Oddly it makes me feel like I earned this weekend’s bling on the Devon coast.

And so, my Mum lives in Devon and, in a wild attempt to reconnect with the maternal unit, I booked a trip down to the south west coast to a seaside run around the bay from Paignton to Torquay and back again. The bling from the prior year was pretty attractive, the t-shirt looked good and I do so love to run by the sea.

I booked myself into what was supposedly the best hotel in town, but was, in fact, a pretty expensive shit hole. The beds were small. There was no shampoo. The staff were rude. In fact, whilst racing I missed 3 calls from a progressively agitated front desk “person” (and I used that term in it’s loosest sense) demanding that I let them in the room to clean it, as someone was waiting to check in. This, of course, was a lie, as check in is not until after noon, and I was only running until 11.

That aside, I was there to see my Mum, get my fill of Devon clotted cream fudge and seafood, and race.

There was a good crowd, it was a decent sized race, and a well organised bunch of hundreds of volunteers that made it one of my personal favourites.

Fellow Twitterati were there too, including @KelsG7 and @heidis787 who I saw on all the turns until she past me at the end when the cramp stopped me in my tracks, but we will come to that later.

The Route

The course was great. It started by Paignton Pier (conveniently right by the hotel), then twice around the Green before heading to Torquay, right to the end of Torquay seafront, then back again, then back again for a second lap.

Now, two laps up and down what is effectively an esplanade sounds great. Add, now, to your mental image, several bastard hills that you now, given two laps, have to climb four times.

And this is what really did me in.

The Race

There were a lot of charity runners, a guy dressed as a chicken I did beat, I also beat Spiderman. I did not, however, beat Garfield, and thus saluted him on the way out.

There was a good sized field, with a good bunch of runners of all abilities enjoying what was a pretty overcast day. Still, the rain held off, and the sun did too, which was probably fortunate.

I had a new playlist, and it was needed.

I also planned to wear my new Ryders (sunglasses) although there was no need, and my new Camelbak, although a paranoid moment when I thought I had overheard a bunch of guys from my hotel making a snide comment about it, forced me to run back to the room and dump it off.

I therefore relied on the able, and numerous volunteers to hydrate me at the ample water tables throughout.

You can just about make me out wincing.

I also wore new shoes again! I know, I know. I am an idiot. This is the third time I have done this. And worse still, I was wearing the new shoes to go down to Paignton the day before wearing new ultra padded Balega socks, that absolutely bruised the hell out of my feet even before the race.

The Nike+ Result

Cramp Ahoy!

Unbeknownst to all, both calves had completely cramped up at this point.

Yes, that title read right. As I reached the 12 1/2 mile mark I felt a knot in my left calf. It got worse and worse then I had to stop. I limped and walked, then started running again and then the right started to hurt. I was getting cramp, the sort of cramp footballers are suffering from at the end of a game. Proper honest to goodness cramp. Those hills had done me in.

And this is the weird thing. I loved it. I had taken recent races far too lightly. I had barely trained, I had finished and then didn’t think much about it. The Torbay Marathon tore me a new one so to speak. It hurt. And it was great.

The Bling!

Superb bling from the organisers. A very summery, unique medal that already brightens up the collection on my second rack since taking up running. I cherish it already.

I feel like I earned this.

In Summary

Would I run the Torbay half again? Probably not, but I highly recommend it to others, just don’t stay at the hotel I did, and take plenty of water.

And finally, I need to talk about the race shirt. It is awesome, by far the best I have received in the last 2 years of racing. Very well made, excellent logo, and pattern, and a good colour.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Daniel W says:

    Good write up mate… May start referring to my Mum as 'the maternal unit' too.


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