February 2020

Naseby 1645

*race place gifted

A 16.45 mile race you say? Sounds a strange distance but has total relevance to the local area. And for those (like me) who don’t have the first clue about history…

The Battle of Naseby was a decisive engagement of the First English Civil War, fought on 14 June 1645 between the main Royalist army of King Charles I and the Parliamentarian New Model Army, commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. It was fought near the village of Naseby in Northamptonshire. From trusty Wikipedia.

So 16.45 was the distance and lucky for me it fit in perfectly with my training plan for Manchester Marathon.

As the week’s gone we’ve seen Storm Ciara come-and-go, not without making way for Storm Dennis. We’ve seen many races cancelled so it was all eyes on Facebook to keep up to date with the will-it-won’t-it go ahead. Storm or not storm I had to get the miles in so I was actually (dare I say it) relieved that they were going ahead, though there were still high-winds and rain predicted.

Race morning and I’d had the best night’s sleep (I was in bed by 8.15), woken up with plenty of time to have my pre-run bagel, a banana an hour before and picked up my race number. I felt a little sick with I put down to nerves as well as a very slight niggle in my quad but thought it’d sort itself out after the first mile or so.

Off we set, the first three miles a nice downhill stretch. Not even a mile in and I had the awful pain in my stomach. Fobbing it off as a stitch I carried on a further, until the pain moved and I ended up feeling so very sick. I took a mile four hill as an opportunity to walk to see if it eased off.

It didn’t. And after a near miss vomit-in-a-bush (TMI, sorry) I was very very close to calling it a day. So this was how the next 10 miles went. Run a little, stomach in agony, walk a little. All I had in my head was get to the next mile, see how I feel and decide.

I normally don’t mind a little pain and when it’s in the legs I can cope with it – expect it. But I’ve not EVER had this before. All I wanted to do was curl over. All I had to do was carry on.

Putting my stomach drama to one side, the weather wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It certainly picked up after mile 10 (where coincidentally the hills also kick-in), especially at the top of the dreaded dick’s hill where it was so windy, I ended up with brain freeze!

Thankfully I was able to pick up the pace in the final mile, mostly because I knew the end was in sight, finishing in 3 hours and 48 seconds.  

Photo Credit: Mahul Vaitha

Though personally it wasn’t my day, the actual race was great! The distance is so unique, the course is set right out in the countryside so there’s views a plenty. The marshals were really encouraging and there was plenty of water, electrolyte and gels around the course.

Finally, HUGE thanks go out to the marshals. I thought I was cold running, they were out for 3+ hours ensuring we were safe, watered and cheered on. I also heard there was a lot of pushing cars out of the field so an amazing effort by all!

Next year? Ask me later!  

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