Devizes Half Marathon by Gary Young

It was here! After a summer of virtual runs and about 10 medals to prove it, Sunday October 4th 2020 saw the Covid secure Devizes Half Marathon.

I’d entered the race sometime before and was really looking forward to running a race with people in a town that the race was actually supposed to be in, no more virtual Great North Run alone in the Wiltshire mecca of Melksham. My aim was sub 2 and nothing was going to stop me, not even the weather.

Arriving at the start in weather conditions that can best be described as monsoon like I made my way to the information tent and was greeted by two friendly, familiar faces, Mr Biggs and Mr Berry. After some last minute tactic talk I was ready for the off, already soaked to the skin I made my way to my starting bubble and we were off…

Having never run this half marathon before I’d heard varying reports about it and started with an open mind. Although because of Covid there were no spectators the atmosphere amongst runners and marshals was great and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was one of those runs that everything felt good in, legs, lungs and mental attitude. Checking my splits things were looking positive and on I went. (7.41/8.53/8.14/8.36 and so on).

Even being speed buzzed by Laura Midwinter and Chris Hunt as they ran past me didn’t dent my spirit and on I went.

I recall on parts of the run wading thorough water and battling driving wind but nothing was going to stop me, well nothing part from a farmer that decided to close the road to let his cows across much to the annoyance of a few hundred runners. Don’t get stressed I thought as I paused my Garmin and said to myself it won’t take long. After what seemed like an eternity a voice from nearby shouted, “move those f@#king cows or I will “. Everybody was thinking it but luckily a CRC member said it. (You know who you are).

We were off again and the weather didn’t let up, it got worse and some.
The last few miles were good, apart from a very muddy uphill off road track that I don’t recall hearing about but after conquering this I cruised to the finish line in 1:54:13.

I collected my medal and headed home, the job was done and little did I know I was about to make my first mistake of the day.
Cold, dehydrated, hot bath, hot tea = faint and blue light run to A&E in an ambulance having had your chest shaved in the process.

After 24hrs there, a Covid test and a full heart MOT by two doctors that were keen runners I was given the all clear and allowed home. Their advice to me, never stop running as you are!!
There is a bit more science involved in my collapse, I won’t send you to sleep with it now but I am willing to share it if you are remotely interested.

All joking aside my partner thought I’d had a heart attack and gave herself a nasty paper cut looking for my life Insurance policy.

Top tip – Normally after a long run if you are like me you need to eat and eat lots, imagine finding yourself in an A&E starving with no access to food. Smiling and using all the charm that you can muster = being kept in supply of as many NHS cheese and pickle sandwiches that you can physically eat. Result!!

Until the next race, stay safe and strong…