I wake up before my alarm at 6.22am feeling full of energy, I know it’s going to be a good day. Stuff myself with Oatabix and banana until I want to be sick. Dad gives me a lift to race start nice and early. I’m interviewed by S4C Wales, think I do a good interview, I am pretty funny. Back to race venue and sleep for about an hour.
Very little warm up, about 5mins jog, feel great, don’t need any more, save it for the race. On the starting line I decide last minute it’s too warm for Buff and so I have to ditch it. I loved that Buff, I had only got it a week ago from a race in Italy, but “you have to suffer for your art”.
I cruise the first mile in around 5.10 which is pretty good but feels really easy. I am in front and the air is so still I can hear everyone breathing around me, I can tell I have them on the back foot already. You can see for yourself here or read here that throughout the race I am a steely faced automaton and I rumble on to victory without a sideways glance…
A few things the camera missed:
Mile 7: on the descent my stomach gets jiggled around, I realise that I’ve overdone the carb loading. I am going to need a pit stop. The cloud is so thick that I hope it shrouds me as I duck behind a rock and do a Paula Radcliffe.
Mile 13: Beddgelert, my home village, I have an amazing amount of support. Friends and family all come to cheer me on. It is such a lift. I get a high five from Jim, my little boy, and it warms my heart so much that I devour the next hill, which is 2 miles long.
Miles 15-21: Very lonely miles, just me and lead car. Rob Samuel (3 x winner of Snowdonia Marathon and good friend of mine) is driving. He is great at protecting me from any oncoming traffic and telling off anyone who gets in my way. I’m constantly trying to swallow down gels, I bloody hate gels, I keep throwing them back up. I have gel all over my right hand, it sticks all my fingers together, this is very annoying when you are running. I take water at water station and try and wash gel off, it is not water but energy drink, it makes the situation worse.
Mile 22: I have been warned by two previous winners, Rob and John Gilbert, that the last hill is very tough. This coming from 2 very tough guys. I chuck away my last gel to lighten the load, it loops halfway across the road, around the back of a spectator, and straight into the bin. The crowd cheer ‘hole in one’ (really sad the camera missed that one!)
Mile 24: This bloody hill is bloody tough. My right hamstring starts spasming like it’s about to cramp, I have to do a funny hop, skip and wiggle to get over the hill (really glad the camera missed that one!}
Mile 24/7: Although I am in a fair bit of pain right now, I remember the sacrifices my wife made to get me here, all the mornings and nights looking after the kids alone while I’m out running, no cameras, no cheering crowds, and never complaining. I have to get this done.
Mile 26.2: Across the finish line. I have missed the course record by 87 seconds. A little more than the time it took for my pitstop, grrrr. I am so tired I can barely lift the trophy.
My wife gives me my baby girl to carry at the same time. I don’t know which precious item is going to drop first, I hang on for dear life to both of them while the cameras rolls, but it doesn’t make the final cut. I have no idea why, as my baby girl is clearly the most beautiful of all baby girls.
After the race, I go and lie down and scream in pain for about 10 minutes. an improvement on my last marathon, when I screamed for 20 minutes. I am obviously getting the hang of marathon running. I can’t eat anything, so annoying, as I surely deserve anything I want. My little boy drinks all my chocolate Yazoo.
In the prize giving I nearly faint, there is nowhere to sit and I have to lean on my poor little mum. I have to lift the heavy trophy again.
We go back to Beddgelert for pizza, beer and ice cream with friends, and I am very proud of myself and my wonderful family for putting up with me. I am so tired I can’t sleep.