Kielder was my first marathon and from 2011 it became a special place to me. 2013 was to be my third Kielder marathon and I had set my sights on a sub 430 time (last year being 4.36). Those of you who read my last blog may remember that my training ground to a halt due to a problem with my leg and disappointingly this ongoing problem meant that I had to withdraw from the race. Now I could have sat and sulked and decided to steer clear of the place. OR I could do the next best thing and go and massage there! Decision made if I couldn’t run it I would work it.
Kielder weekend events consist of the 10K and Run-Bike-Run on the Saturday followed by the marathon on the Sunday. My husband, Pete, had entered the Run-Bike-Run for the first time so I could support him too. The weather on the Saturday morning was perfect and Kielder looked stunning in the sunshine. Pete nervously set off to the start line and me and the boys (yes the kids came too!) headed off to catch the spectator bus which would take us to the first transition point….or so we thought. Now Kielder has a history with buses – im sure you all know the tale…but my experience of the organisation has always been excellent. The bus came along and there were a few people waiting with us all with the same idea of following their partner/son/friend etc. However the bus driver has different ideas, he knew nothing of the service that had been offered to us!! He did, after a bit of chatting on his walkie talkie, offer to drop us off anyway. Alarm bells started to ring as the bus pulled off and turned left onto the road. Knowing the route as I do, I know it goes clockwise round the lake, we were going in the wrong direction!!! We were dropped off at the dam and told ‘at least you’ll see the bikes go past’ and off he went. Knowing we were miles from where we needed to be we jumped on the next bus that fortunately came along. This guy seemed to know what he was talking about and assured us he would drop us at transition 2. At least we would get to see Pete at this one. Again we were dropped off only to very soon discover we weren’t at transition 2 either!! I couldn’t believe it. We had no choice but to start walking on the route…..2 and a half miles later we finally arrived at transition 2. And there was Mr Steve Cram himself working very hands on.
Pete arrived a while after looking, shall we say, worse for wear and cramping up, dumped his bike and set off for the final 4 mile run. We jumped on a minibus and beat him to the finish line. He got a very respectable time of 3 hours 14 mins and 58 secs.
Marathon day was not quite so lucky weather wise as in it was wet and miserable. Luckily I was in a nice warm dry marquee with plenty of food within easy reach. To fill the time while the runners are running, Paul from Physio and Therapy who organises the massage, does a bit of a masterclass session which is really interesting and its great to pick up a few tips. Also if you ask him nicely, he will give you a bit of physio which I promptly did.
The runners started to trickle in for their post event massage, most of them covered in mud from the wet off road route. Soon the tent was packed and for a couple of hours a constant stream of runners kept us busy. Finally the last runner to come to my couch was my Kielder buddy Alison. I met Alison through the Kielder Facebook page back in 2011 where we got chatting. I was a nervous first timer and Alison had been there, done it and got the t shirt. To say she is Kielders’ number one fan is an understatement. So it was great to now be able to help her with her recovery and be able to give her a massage.
The flow of runners stopped and it was time to pack up. We were offered lots of left over goodies like chocolate bars, flap jacks and cakes. I was very lucky to also be given a finishers t shirt and goody bag. Whether I will wear it or not I don’t know, but it’s a souvenir of my first time massaging at my favourite marathon. Next year im determined to be the one laid on a couch receiving a post race massage after smashing my sub 4.30 goal!!