Long Course Weekend: Run

My three medals from the Long Course Weekend

Following the sportive, Stu, Roelie and I went out for something to eat. I didn’t really have the energy to eat anything, but managed to force down a falafel as I knew I’d need the energy. We then headed back to the hotel for an early night.

Our room was much less cluttered as our bikes had been locked away in the car, so it was easier to move around and get everything ready for Sunday morning. Also as Stu’s marathon didn’t start until 10am, we knew we could sleep slightly later, which was good.

After an excellent night’s sleep, we went down for breakfast. Corinne, who I had met before the sportive, was at the table next to us and as her husband wasn’t joining her, Roelie was able to  take his place. The couple at the table on our other side were also staying for the Long Course Weekend, so there was a lot of chat about what we had done so far and what the day might bring.

After breakfast, we went back to our room to get ready. The marathon started in town, whereas Roelie and I needed to get on a coach at 11am to go to Manorbier Castle, where our 10k would start. We decided to take our stuff with us and go to watch Stu and Sergio start the marathon.

Wales 10k race number

After the horrendous weather on Saturday, the fog had lifted and we could see right across the bay again.

View of Tenby

Before the marathon started, the 5k runners were set off, so we watched the start of that and then Roelie and I walked down to the start corral with Stu and Sergio. Stu has had quite a few calf niggles recently, so he had decided to start conservatively towards the back of the pack. I was a little worried about him as it’s not long until his Ironman and I really don’t want Stu to get injured. Last year, Stu went out for a training ride a week before Ironman Dublin 70.3. He swerved to avoid a pothole, hit gravel, went over his handlebars still attached to his bike and tore his calf muscle. The injury was so bad that he was unable to even swim, so I’m keeping everything crossed for Copenhagen.

Zoe was in the start corral just ahead of Stu and Sergio, so I managed to have a quick chat with her. She’s a fantastic ultra runner, so I imagine this was the part of the event that she was looking forward to most.

Stu, Zoe and Sergio starting the marathon
Stu, Zoe and Sergio starting the marathon

After the marathoners had gone, Roelie and I decided to watch the fastest 5k runners finish. The first finisher was a young lad who just squeaked under 18 minutes, but only the top 5 finished under 20 minutes. By 10:25, Roelie and I decided that we had better go and find out coach. We crossed over the road… and heard our names being announced as finishing the 5k. Oops!

We walked up to the registration hall in the hope of sorting out the problem as we were worried that our chips would no longer work for the 10k. We were then sent back to the finish of the 5k, where we spoke to a member of staff who said that it wasn’t a problem. The minor problem meant that we then had to hurry to get our coach.

We got onto the coach, which had all of the heating on. Roelie was able to open a vent in the roof, but it didn’t make much of a difference. People were stripping off as many layers as they could.

Finally we set off. The 6 mile coach trip seemed to take a long time and we were afraid that our coach was going to break down as there were some bad smells coming form the engine.

When we got off the coach, there was a short walk to the start. After getting hot on the coach, it felt quite cold outside and it started to rain again. I felt a little grumpy, but had to keep reminding myself that it would be cooler for everyone running the marathon.

There were lots of runners milling around at Manorbier Castle, but there was nowhere else for us to go. We had over 90 minutes before the start of our event. We sat down in a gatehouse archway for a while and decided to have a snack. I had a Powerbar and some water.

It was uncomfortable on the ground, so Roelie and I had a look at the event information and realised that we would be able to see the fastest marathoners and half marathoners go past, so we went out onto the road.

After a while, the first runner went past, but there was quite a wait before we saw anyone else and even then, there were coming through singly. Roelie and I chatted to one of the other spectators and then suddenly Stu arrived. I was so excited to see him. He had hit the 20 mile point in just under 2:45 and was looking comfortable. The sun had come out again and we were feeling hot spectating, so I was worried that it would be too warm for Stu, but he didn’t look red or sweaty, which made me feel better.

Roelie and I then took our bags to the bag drop van – we were just in time as there was a final call just as we were walking away.

We lined up in the grounds of the castle and were led to the start by a band. There was a brief countdown and then we were off.

My plan had been to stick with Roelie for as long as I could. She had started at her comfortable half marathon pace, but I’ve always been bad on hills and with no warm up, I really wasn’t doing well, so just a km in, we parted our ways.

One of my aims had been to try to run the whole 10k, but it was a lot hotter than I expected. All of the rain had cleared up and there were beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine. Much of the course did not have much shade. At the first big hill, many people ahead of me started walking, so I decided to conserve some energy and join them.

For the first 3.5k, i felt a pain in my side. It wasn’t quite like a stitch – I think it was the little one making her feelings known. She didn’t mind me running uphill, but did not want me to run downhill. I felt a little depressed as I wondered whether it signalled that my running days were over, but after 3.5k the pain eased and I was able to run as normal.

I managed to pick up my pace and found that I was catching up with people who had passed me earlier, which was a good feeling. As we got towards Tenby, there was a fantastic downhill section. I started out quite cautiously, but as I was feeling good, I let rip a little bit. It was so much fun and felt the best that running has for weeks.

There was another hill heading to the finish, but I knew it wasn’t long and could see that I was nearing the end.

I heard someone shouting my name and looked up to see Stu who shouted that he would meet me at the finish.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.49.04 Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 13.49.13

I was so pleased to cross the finish line in 1:10:52. It’s the slowest 10k that I’ve ever done. I finished 212/325 overall, 113/195 female and 27/39 in my age category, so although it was slow, I definitely wasn’t last 🙂

I was presented with a 10k medal – it’s not quite as nice as the marathon medal, but it does stack with the other two medals:



I met up with Roelie on the way to find Stu. He had already got changed and was in a really good mood as he had paced his marathon really well (based on heart rate) and despite being cautious, his finish time was 3:25, which I think is amazing.

Roelie and I went to get our bags back, but the van had not made it to the collection point, so we had to wait for a short while before we could get changed. We cheered on some more runners until it arrived and then we got changed.

It was then time to head off for a panini and chocolate milkshake before Stu had to go for his 4th medal ceremony. he did really well, finishing 35th overall, 33rd male and 28th in his age category with a combined event time of 11:26:52. I’m so proud of him.

Stu receiving his 4th medal for LCW
Stu receiving his 4th medal for LCW

It was good to see that other friends did well this weekend. Gemma Marshall was 9th female and Sergio and Zoe also completed all three events.

Sergio and Stu
Sergio and Stu

After the awful day on Saturday, the weekend ended on a high. I have to admit that I felt a little bit jealous of everyone who managed to complete this gruelling event. The people of Tenby were so friendly and welcoming that although I still have no desire to take part in IM Wales, I definitely hope to return for the Long Course Weekend one day.







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