Sunday, 25 June 2017
Boy.... Was it Hot
Well the dust has now settled on the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk and what an event it was weather wise. Last year’s event was hot, but this year, wow was it hot. Standing at the NSC last Saturday before the start it was already known it was going to be a warm one as the early sun already had warmth in it as we stood on the start line. Once underway in the race I walked with Mike Bonney and we were afforded some shelter from the sun on the way up past the plantation after Braid roundabout thanks to some cloud cover. Unfortunately it did not last and by Santon we were back in the sunlight and the temperature had risen significantly. My plan to walk at a pace that would see me reach the first checkpoint at Santon Church just under 2 hours was already gone as I arrived around 2mins over. Mike had moved ahead by this point and the event from here on for me was quite a lonely one apart from Christine's company every mile, she had turned up on the Oatlands road to start her support car duties. As I walked over the Orrisdale road Mike George and his wife Irene, who were spectating, claimed he had ordered Fog for the Sloc, from my position I could see it was indeed starting to roll in. By the time I reached Rushen however it was evident that the Sloc was going to be an uncomfortable trek as the fog Mike had ordered had all but gone and the sun was burning up the recently laid tarmac. I accepted a Beer this year at the Roundtable before starting the decent into Dalby and Glen Maye I was a little conservative dropping down as I cramped quite bad at Dalby last year, it took me till Kirk Michael to recover, so a drop in pace was my way of trying to prevent a repeat, in turn, this made me slower than last year into Peel but I was 7th albeit already 40 minutes behind the leading duo of Richard Gerrard and Liam Parker. As you know Peel is my home town so walking up the main street and onto Derby Road to the Town Hall check point was again this year met with great support from family and friends, however from experience, I know this support is deservedly given to all that pass through or choose to stop at St Germans 32.5miles into the event.
Peel to Bride is the section I least look forward to. I think because the Firefighters Charity Walk takes the same route only 8 weeks before the parish, this is the reasoning, in my mind anyway. The crowd outside the Mitre in Kirk Michael were spot on as always, I think the Fancy Dress costumes stayed in the box this year or at least I did not see anyone dressed up like last year. I passed Mike Bonney going into Ballaugh who was struggling with the temperature, something he will admit himself is his nemesis, a couple of degrees cooler or at least a good covering of cloud I doubt I would of seen Mike as he would have been well gone. On the way back down the lane that leads up to Jurby Church, 45 miles in, Mike told me he was retiring as we passed one another. My focus now was to try and reel in Pete Miller who had passed me on the return road leading to Jurby. I thought by now the heat may have started to go out of the sun and it would be a more pleasant walk to Bride given I was now near 10 hours in, the high hedges gave little shade and the lack of tree cover was also evident. Christine had started soaking my cap with cold water and as it dried swapped it with a spare also soaked in water, she continued to do this until the run into Maughold just before 2200hrs when the sun was at last setting but the temperature remained. I passed Pete heading towards Andreas as he stopped alongside his support car and seen him again at Andreas church. From here on myself and Pete passed one another several times, one to mention was whilst I was in a port-a-loo that Christine had spotted near the Silly Moos in Lezayre. Pete walked past as Christine stood outside prepared with Vaseline, Baby wipes and a can of Freeze Spray and shouted "it’s not that bad is it" and "are you doing the parish log" it clearly was that bad and I apologise to the driver of the Hiab wagon for more likely changing the centre of gravity of the said loo. The Freeze Spray was for my legs, I must hasten to add, not for any other sensitive area of the body. Parliament Square was chocker with people supporting from the Pubs either side of the road who had starting cheering long before my arrival at the junction and continued to shout, clap and cheer as I headed out toward the turning towards maughold. I caught Pete again as we started are climb towards Maughold church so we walked into the checkpoint together and stayed together till a mile or so after Ballajora. I had put a jacket on by now believing it would get cooler as it started to darken, it hadn't, but I left the jacket on until the finish. The walk through Glen Mona and Bulgham was again a lonely one. My daughter had turned up to help support for the last 12 or so miles so it was good to see her, although Christine seemed to be still doing most of the running as Annalise sat in the car. Karen Lawrie past me as I walked into the top of Laxey, this had the effect of me picking up my own pace to try and keep up with her. On the return road to Lonan church I wished her well for the remaining 7 miles in thinking I would not see her again until the end. The walk through Baldrine and along the LA straight seemed to fly by and it wasn't long before I was dropping down the Whitebridge into Onchan. My head torch was not the best by now (cheap batteries) so making out the hedge and gutter was difficult in the pitch darkness. I was surprised I had managed to Keep Karen insight from Lonan so we did indeed see each other again at the up and down of Onchan Church. We both knew at this point we had all but finished so congratulated each other a little prematurely, with 2 miles to go of an 85 mile race, I think we were both confident at this point. Christine and Annalise had gone ahead to the finish, after supporting me one last time on Royal Avenue, so it was good to know they were going to be at the end. Like last year there were one or two drunken supporters on the Promenade which is always entertaining. The prom itself, for me anyway, always seems to go on for ever, the lights of the finish are clearly insight from the old swimming pool site but never seem to get any closer. Sure enough though, after what seemed like an age, I crossed the finish line of the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk in 5th Position overall and 3rd Male in a time of 17:52.03.
Sundays won’t be the same now as I will not have this blog to write, and, as this will be my last chance to say some Thankyou's, here goes
Thankyou to the organisers, sponsors, marshal’s, medical teams and supporters for a great event
Thankyou to Christine and Annalise for all the support on the day.
Thankyou to The Caff race walking team for all the help and advice
Thankyou to Bridget Kaneen for all her support
Thankyou to Richard and Kyley Gerrard for putting my name forward for the Blog last year
Thankyou Murray for giving me the opportunity. You are, and will continue to be missed by all.
And Thanks for reading ……….