Last year we fielded 2 teams and came in at something like 29th and 34th......This year we had 3 teams and 2 aims.....to get a top 10 finish and not to finish last with our mixed teams. (note.....Chris thought we could top 10 and I seriously did not think that we would have done badly if we came top 15!)
Something else happened....the mixed teams had opened up a gap between themselves and the last team. Amazing work! Sterling efforts!
Smiffy had done well to come in 14th on the tough tough Lullingstone to Tatsfield leg and then it was my turn. time to exorcise the demons of last year. I started off sitting on the back of about 18th place. There were some wiley runners on this leg and I didn't want to blow it for the team. I came in 30th last year with 1.31 but this was a red course, hilly and easy to get lost......and off I went up the hill and onto the North Downs. I was 7.15s for the first 2 miles and then a couple of undulations saw a 6.52 and a 6.40. I overtook a couple of chaps and picked a Ranelagh runner to hang onto. Then it got really hilly. I could barely breath going up the Downs at 6 miles, the hill was steep enough to have me slipping back down as it was muddy. I had run this part of the Downs about 2 months ago so I didn;t think there was much chance of getting lost. Then, I went for it.......On the top of the Downs from 7.5-8 I hammered it, missing the place where I went wrong last year and hoofed it down the chalk hill towards Merstham. A couple more miles and I would be home. A glance round behind confirmed to me that the Ranelagh, Sussex and the ultra running Golden were not behind. Bang! And the last mile, all downhill, from the top of the downs to the bottom was run in 4.39s.....
I had to have a sit down at the finish....I was bombed. But 21 mins faster than last year and sub 7s for the leg. Not bad!
But, the end goal was the more important! It was no rest for the wicked and onto the next stage. I wanted to wait for Linda but we needed to get JP to the next point and see Richard.
Bring home the bacon.......the roar from my hoarse gob as the final leg ensued.....
Tappo was ready for this last leg, with JP in tow, and Sue and Glen bringing in Taidgh...who was now 2nd claim Golden Joggers!
JP overtook a nun from Olsgobosco Runners and did himself justice on the glory leg. Here he is flying along for DPR!
Tappo, the legend......coming into the finish at the Hawker Centre...no doubt as fast as he could to get hold of a good bottle of cider, but with 5th place for the stage he did not hold back at all and we were hoping......just hoping that we had done enough to secure a top 10 spot with 26.2, Stragglers and Clapham all breathing down our necks!
And so the party started! Amazing...........and thanks to Linda and Di and Chris and Tom P for organising, all the runners and supporters and marshals and drivers..........
DPR....ON THE MAP!
The irony is that my legs hurt more than they did 2 weeks ago when I ran the double marathon weekend! Obviously I need to run harder!