Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe

The Somme Centenary Challenge

On Friday 18th November I was back at Samphire Hoe for a special event to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Somme which was one of the costliest battles (in loss of life) in British history. In my mind it was a way of remembering all those brave souls who gave their lives for us and it was especially poignant to be held there as we had sight of France across the Channel.

I wore my poppy and chose not to wear either my charity vest or my 100 club vest as a mark of respect.

Traviss made the usual announcements but there was an extra special one too. Philip had just completed his 200th marathon. Now when you move in the marathon circuit you can become blase about the massive number of marathons your fellow runners have completed but Philip is an extra special case - he has completed his 200 marathon in a record-breaking 710 days. That is going from 0 to 200 marathons!

Dee had this lovely blue plaque made for him (blue plaques are installed in public places throughout the UK to mark the homes of famous people).

We were joined by several active and ex-servicemen one of whom was Sgt Alan Urwin, whose great grandfather lost his life in the battle. He gave a very moving speech at the start, we heard the Reveille followed by the Last Post then we held a one minute's silence to remember the fallen before heading off to the sound of whistles just as our troops had done all those years ago.

The weather forecast was varied and it was quite cold at the start. Then it warmed up before turning very cold again until the sky went dark grey over France before heading over to us and giving us a soaking. There was a strong wind on the return of each lap just for good measure.

When the sky turned to this colour we were all hoping it would stay over in France - sadly it didn't!

As an aside, that photo above has helped me decide to use the beautiful dark blue yarn I bought at Ally Pally for the main body of my shawl (although I've already started another one before I start that, as you do!).

As we set off I had no finish time in mind and decided to run however I felt. For a marathon I had to complete 7 laps and for the first 5 laps my pace was metronomic as I finished them all in bang on 45 minutes even during the 2 laps with horrid rain.

I was fascinated by the way the sea changed colour in different weather conditions (the sky looked a bit better by then)

Snapped by a fellow runner as I checked one of my photos whilst running

However, as I set out on lap 6 my concentration just went out of the window for some reason and I lost all my focus as the brain gremlins made an appearance. That really annoyed me as I'd been good and not stopped to take loads of photos (OK, there were a couple) so what did I do? I took loads of photos to make up for it. By that time the weather had perked up and the sky was a beautiful blue so that perked me up but for some reason I just couldn't be bothered to push - lazy girl!

There's only 1 main incline on the route

The obligatory shot of the seawall (it was sparkly and beautiful)

The active servicemen of the 1st battalion of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (known as The Tigers) and had travelled over from Paderborn in Germany especially for the event.

I exchanged good wishes with this couple on each lap - they were running for the charity 'Help for Heroes'

This sign made me chuckle

I congratulated all the servicemen and on my last lap Alan was heading out to do an extra lap so I stopped and had a chat with him and shook his hand and thanked him and his colleagues for everything they do for us.

Considering how naughty I'd been with my photos and chatting I was quite pleased to finish in 5:43:25 - maybe next time I'm there I'll put a bit more effort into it and keep the brain gremlins in check!

This is definitely one of my favourite medals

Next I shall be entering 12 days of intense marathoning; 6 marathons to be precise starting next Wednesday, 2 days off, Saturday & Sunday, 2 days off, Wednesday & Thursday, 2 days off then Sunday. Oh crikey. Never mind, my friend has promised to make a generous donation to my fund-raising for ARUK when I've completed my 52 marathons in 52 weeks so it will be worth the pain!

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