My UK-based friend Kathakoli has just sent me THE most hilarious/agonising/nerve-wracking account of her race last night in the northern seaside town of Blackpool.
It is a real cliff-hanger, and I won’t spoil the fun by telling you what happened in the end, but suffice it to say, it’s one of the most gripping running stories I’ve read in ages.
Enjoy 🙂 🙂
Here is Katha’s story, in her own words.
“We were due to do the Bay Cycle Way with our friend Ruth this weekend. But had to cancel it due to personal reasons.
So when we got an email saying a few places were available for 5 & 10k races for Run the Lights, Blackpool, Ruth & I decided to sign up for it.
A night run on the promenade with the illuminations on. It seemed fun. We even purchased accessories to add to the fun!
It was all pretty amusing. I did the ‘I am a disco dancer’ moves after I got ready last evening. Dave who participated in a half marathon in over 25mph winds last weekend, only rolled his eyes.
Then Ruth and I posed for photos before we head out.
We reached the promenade (the race location). Not knowing exactly which way to head for registration/start, we asked the marshals. We were sent in the opposite direction.
After a good walk/jog, it didn’t seem right, so we asked another Marshal who put his hands up saying he had no clue.
So we turned back, now breaking into a run (and sweat!) as the start time was only a few minutes away and there was no sight of the start line or any participants. Luckily, we remembered that the organisers had offered a mass start at 9 pm and a 9:15 pm start for those who were not comfortable with a crowd at the start line. We had about 10 minutes to make it by 9:15.
But the problem was that we didn’t know how far we were from it!
We found another participant running like a headless chicken as he didn’t know where to go either. So the three of us ran and ran, then we saw the fast runners approaching. I must say at that point I wanted to cry out of frustration!
Soon we saw more and more runners, but still no sign of the start line/registration. With nobody to direct us, we asked the participants who bless ‘em told us exactly where to go (it was a level below the promenade, hence not visible).
We reached, only to find that race numbers and bibs were packed away. After sifting through the stack, one of the organisers found them.
We could see the finish line just there, and some of the really quick runners were already crossing it! We ran back up, looking for the start line.
A spectator (slightly tipsy probably) told us it was the same place as the finish line—and he said he would be rooting for us and would wait until we finished the race. Anyway, we got there and finally started our race (that was the fourth time we crossed the timing strip!) over 20 minutes after the official start.
Our heart rate was already up, not to mention the utter frustration. What was going to be a fun run in our fairy light-fitted outfits was turning into a nightmare!
Our only consolation was that because the course was for 5 & 10k both, we would have company beyond a point.
After a few minutes—and thanks to loud cheering from spectators, pub goers, clubbers, hen & stag doers, our nerves settled and we started to enjoy the run.
By this time it had stopped drizzling, the wind had died and the conditions were perfect. The atmosphere was charged. It was my first experience of a night out (if you can call it that) in Blackpool. The town was in its elements—fully charged! And the illuminations made it seem like an Indian wedding!
Since the route was out & back, we saw fellow participants who were heading to the finish line. A few recognised us from our ‘headless chicken behaviour’ earlier and cheered us on. By the time we turned at the half way mark, we were running with other participants, which made it seem like a race finally. Soon we had the finish line in sight. Ruth who was a little ahead of me, slowed down so I could catch up and we could finish together. We gave the final push for a strong finish. And crossed the finish line—5th time that night!
True to his word, the stranger was there to congratulate us. That was truly touching.
All in all, it turned out to be a fun run, if more adventurous, but that makes for a good story!
The bonus? Finishing the race without walking breaks and in good time—our best since we got back to running again. Ruth and I have been struggling to run non stop. We have been exercising regularly so the fitness is coming back, but it’s our mind that is still playing all kinds of games! So we have been trying to find new ways of tricking it.
Crazy accessories could well be the answer!”
Now isn’t that quite the epic adventure? Victory snatched from the jaws of poor race management and all that.
Well done, ladies, and I think disco accessories may just be the way to go 🙂
Katha, as ever, thanks a ton & #keeprunning #keepinspiring