Congratulations to our marathon running landlord!
We are pleased to confirm that our landlord has now completed her challenge for this year, which culminated in her running the Chester Marathon last weekend.
“I DID it – I actually completed the whole 26.2 miles of the Chester Marathon! I haven’t yet got an official time but it was about 6hrs 23mins and I did NOT come last but the 2011 Challenges are complete: I have run over 120k on behalf of the Finders Keepers Charity of the Year and lived!
Despite the usual dire warnings from weather forecasters of plummeting seasonal temperatures, the end of the “Indian Summer” and possibly even snow, we awoke on Sunday to the perfect day for running far too far with too little preparation: cool and slightly cloudy with a hint of drizzle in the Cheshire air.
With an hour to go, my daughter and I made our way with increasing trepidation through the eerily deserted streets already closed to traffic, to the start line at Chester Racecourse. In the picturesque setting of the Roodee (a tidal lake in Roman times but a racecourse since silting up in the middle ages) was a beautifully-laid-out start line, plenty of staff to help and direct the 5,000 runners and their support teams, free energy bars, maps, and an enthusiastic announcer who loudly tannoyed my daughter Katie and me good luck for our first-ever marathon. There was a huge communal sigh of “Aw, sweet!” as a small girl’s voice was heard to yell “Good luck to my Daddeeee” and the mood was set for a great day.
At just after 9a.m., with a salute from the 20th Legion of the Valeria Victrix and a barked command from a battle-ready Roman Centurion, we were OFF! Like departing troops cheered at every turn by waving well-wishers we snaked through the historic city walls four times, under the Chester’s Eastgate Clock (reputedly “the second most photographed clock in the world after Big Ben”, erected to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee)
before the long run in the countryside and returned slightly battered but victorous beneath the spectacular suspension bridge (seen in the opening credits of tv’s “Hollyoaks”) along the banks of the River Dee to the racecourse once more..
The Chester marathon is the only one to pass through two countries, the start and finish in Blighty flanking a long Welsh yomp. I did my best to stick to the Welsh Highway Code by going slow at “Araf nawr” although I hardly think my 4.5 mile-an-hour pace would have troubled the “camerâu cyflymder”!
As usual there was plenty of humiliation along the way, with elderly joggers threatening to lap me and one 68 year-old, a member of the “100 Marathons Club”, trundling comfortably past me on his 301st marathon!
Returning to the Roodee for the final furlong, crossing the finish line and receiving my medal was a glorious, glorious experience. My daughter who had finished in well under 5 hours had showered, changed, had a well-earned pasty and still got back in time to wave and cheer me (with my stoically supportive husband!) to my photo finish.
The whole enterprise was just a joy – knowing that with every increasingly painful step and tightening muscle I was nearing the target of raising £2,000 to fund the wonderful Air Ambulance for 2 days. Target now smashed, but welcome donations still coming in. Thank you to Finders Keepers for inspiring this ridiculous year of agony – I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
Now that it’s all over, despite finding stairs a bit of a challenge the fact I can walk at all is down to the gym staff at Bicester Golf Club who didn’t panic at my lack of training, forced me to lift weights to strengthen my legs and proved beyond doubt the value of stretching afterwards.
Thanks to everyone for reading this – there’s still time to show your support at www.justgiving.com/patricialee2011
See you next year!