Jackie Davis reports: Whilst those of you running at the weekend were getting absolutely soaked to the skin, I was basking in glorious sunshine … sounds wonderful … until you include that I was at the starting line for a half marathon!
Last year a good friend of mine died of lymphoma, my best friend Karen ( his partner) and myself decided to run the Oberelbe Half Marathon in his name virtually a year to the day following his death. The route follows the River Elbe from Pirna into Dresden, which is a route he used to cycle regularly.
We lined up at 9:15am on Sunday (29th April) where the temperature had already reached 25 degrees. We were one of 5700 runners on the day – split between a full marathon, the half and a 10k walk, how I wish I had signed up for the latter! I have to admit this is the hardest race I have competed in (not being the strongest of club runners) – scenery and route were amazing, it was a virtually flat course, on a cycle path next to the river, through glorious parks and passing historical old buildings … the issue was the heat and the humidity.
The first 5km seemed tough, the second even tougher. By the time I got to the second water station just over 10km in I have to admit to really struggling. My legs felt ok but I knew I was getting dehydrated and the heat was really getting to me. I was so tempted to throw in the towel, but as I was also doing this to raise money, I was determined to finish even if I had to crawl!! I therefore took the drastic action to walk the next kilometre – and took on board plenty of water. My strategy was then to run a km, walk a km. The field by this point had really spread out, and by 17km mark there was no one in front that I could see and no one behind, I had sent my friends on a head whilst they where still strong. However, the marshals and supporters along the way were fantastic and still cheered me along. The plus was I only had 6 marathon runners overtake me before the finish!!
On the last 2km you came into Dresden and followed the road into the athletics’ stadium, at this point the crowds where much bigger and clapping all the way. When I turned the corner into the stadium my last 500m was along the running track, and being the only one on it at the time, and people all around I was determined to put in a final running finish – my worst time ever for a half but hey I finished – and temperature at this point was hitting 30C. Yes it was tough, no I don’t want to do another half marathon, but it was a wonderful course to run and I would definitely recommend it.