All the dramas of last year's start at the Seville Marathon have really had an impact on my psyche. I've been too scared of another trampling to enter another big race with a mass start (hence my withdrawal from Comrades and my hiding away at the side on the barriers in the Glasgow half). The Seville race organisers knew this and so kindly invited me back to try to slay my demons.
I cannot remember much about the 2014 start, but I'd spotted myself in the centre of the road in some photos, so this time I made sure that I was right at the edge, almost completely tucked in behind the start gantry. It seemed to me that they were never going to get the race under way, but then I did know that I was going to expend most of my energy with startline nerves. Several guys tried to be "kind" and urged me to start ahead if them, but I tried to politely refuse and kept hanging onto the gantry as if my life depended on it (well it felt like it did!), despite some marshals trying to push the gantry in to actually narrow the funnel.
All of a sudden we were off......and even though I was right at the edge and headed as wide as I could immediately, I still felt some hands on my back and shoulder pushing me on. I really fail to understand this - everyone has to run at least 26.2 miles, so why the urge to push, shove and sprint those first few yards. Fear really kicked in, and so I'm ashamed to say that I wasn't as gentle as I could have been as I semi-turned and slapped those hands away.....but it seemed to work as I suddenly realised that I'd covered the first 100yards and was still on my feet and running! Happy Days!
|My favourite bit of road - not!|
|Course hazards in town|
Luckily the widening coincided with a rise for a bridge over the river so I could move away from them, and I knew that when I got to the other side, I only had 2km to run!
What a long 2km it seemed, especially as you wind around with the stadium in sight but don't seem to enter it for ages. Thinking back, it was actually a lot better in 2015 as the added portion in the park, meant that some of the winding round on hot sunny roads with the stadium in sight had been removed. I did make a "school boy" error with just over a mile to go - which makes me laugh when I think about it now (but not at the time). There was an aidstation with marshals handing out cups. I'd not been the best at getting much water from these cups to my mouth at previous stations so this time I thought that the most benefit would be gained by pouring it over my head. I headed to a guy that I thought was shouting "Agua" and poured the cup of clear fluid over my hair and then realised, as it dripped down my face, that I'd actually picked up a cup of the clear isotonic drink which is called something that sounds very similar to "Agua" - yukkkk!!!
Finally, I rounded the last turn and could see those ahead entering the stadium. This is a cheeky bit of the course as it's quite a steep downhill slope under the stands, and the contrast from bright sunlight to the darkness under the building makes many people stumble. It would've been just my luck to fall and break myself here, but luckily I was soon through and into my last 200m round the track.
|What other finish pose could I adopt?!!|
|Wes joins the sub 2:45 club!|