Well, my running shoes (Reeboks if you’re interested) were hung up in 1989 in disgust after my second half marathon at Wycombe proved to be a pale follow up to the previous year’s success in which a whole bunch of us – marathon novices – ran as a team and enjoyed a long afternoon’s post race analysis over a Sunday roast in that posh old hotel in Amersham, y’know the one in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (or was it ‘Truly Madly Deeply’? … whatever …) I raised buckets of cash and was generally left with a warm, cosy feeling inside.
Now let’s see …
The Wycombe half begins with a dash from the start to a large, dense and immovable object. No! not John Prescott – but ‘The Hill’ (If you’ve ever wondered why it’s called ‘High Wycombe’ here’s your answer)
A particularly mean and spiteful thing to do, methinks … put a big hill right at the start of a 13 ½ mile race (or I suppose, more correctly put a race start right next to a big hill). So, anyway the Wycombe half starts like this and goes downhill. Well, what I mean is it goes uphill, but for yours truly at least, the race starts badly and from there goes to worse. I’m soon regretting the 4 pints of Guinness and curry the night before and my similarly cavalier attitude to training over recent weeks. Looking at my watch I realise that to beat last year’s time, I have a mountain to climb. What?! Another one? I find the final section: crossing the M40 and the descent into Wycombe an uphill struggle.
Anyway, the upshot is that I find it a thoroughly disagreeable day. Even the photo the Wycombe Gazette took of me (in fact, of all competitors) was spectacularly bad. I appeared gaunt, haggard stumbling across the finish line. Well over the hill … truly, metaphorically and deeply … I swore I would never get involved again, and I haven’t.
© Andy Daly 2010