Saturday dawned clear and sunny and it was already rather hot when the 124 international athletes were mustered in the Eisteddfod Stone Circle at Llanwryst. We knew that keeping hydrated and adequately fuelled was going to be the main priority of the day. I had been trying to drink all morning, and so by the time we had been walked to the startline I felt that I already needed to find a toilet (but I guess that was mainly nerves.......though it didn't help that a film camera was pointed at me when I mentioned it to my teammates)!
|Hot, Hot, Hot.....|
With 2 laps to go, I heard that Ricky had a decent lead and had less than 1.5 laps left, so I really hoped that he wouldn't lap me. In fact, although there were 10 of us out there running for GB, and a couple of 2 way points, I didn't see any of the others after the first feed station.
I wanted to start to push on in the second half of the 4th lap, but unfortunately my body told me otherwise. I had a niggle in my left groin which seemed to hurt more when I tried to pick up the pace, so I settled back into my run and decided to see what I could do on the last lap. I had worked out (from lap 4) that when I hit the final water point, I only had 3 miles left to run, so hoped my groin would withstand pushing then.
As I passed the marshal (and her dog) at the sharp corner of the last wet, shaley, slippery descent, I commented "No offence, but I'm glad I don't have to see you any more times" and then tried to drive myself on. It didn't seem to happen as all I succeeded in doing was make myself limp slightly. I hadn't ever seen the lady in front and the last update I had had was that she was 2 mins ahead of me. A quick talking to and I did pick up the pace slightly, so that by the time I headed into Saw Bench for the final time, I was told that it was possible to catch her as the deficit was only 70seconds.
You don't really compute what people are saying at a time like that, but all I could do was kick as hard as possible. The distance to the finish was about 1km, half of which was down a really steep hill, up which a car was driving (causing me to shout and swerve). Hitting the final straight I finally caught sight of the Italian lady and although I didn't think it was humanly possible to catch her, I kept sprinting, as the team event is worked out on cumulative times, so every second counts.