Ramathon Half Marathon

This was the second year of the Ramathon, last year I raced the event, this year I was pacing my friend Becky around the course. However it was almost like a different race as the course had changed, rather than starting at Elvaston Castle it started at the home of the Ram’s – outside the iPro stadium. Advertised as one of the flattest half marathons (59ft of climb), it was bound to be popular amongst all.

I was injured, (one, two, three – wahhhhhh!!) So why did I run? Because I couldn’t work out how injured I was. I had a pain in my left leg and was tossing between shin splints and a stress fracture and hadn’t properly ran since early / mid May. I only had myself to blame, don’t go and run up Kinder Scout in the Peak District the week after a 53 mile race. Lesson learned.

I should stop running until that pain goes away – said no runner ever

So there we were outside the home of the Rams but with no Rams insight. Becky wanted a sub 2.10 and I knew she was on for it, I had the faith and confidence she would do this. It was a gorgeous sunny Sunday. Not too hot unlike the previous year but warm enough for shorts and tee. Lovely. We chatted to Becky’s friend, Mikey Moomoo who wanted around the same time. After talking hokas we were off. A 2.10 pacer was near us but we did our own thing.

I don’t find time to run I make time to run

The first mile beeped in just over 9 minutes, Becky and Mikey Moomoo knew they were going a bit fast but they were setting the pace and were content with that in order to ‘settle’ into the race. My leg was already causing me issues, at times a sharp pain shooting up towards the knee. I was chatting away trying to distract myself from the stupidity of the painful leg.

The route so far was laboriously flat, 2 miles, 3 miles, we were well under 9.30 minute miling, at this rate Becky would not only smash her target time but shatter it to bits. She was still chatting away. Now if I put myself in a race situation and I was ‘racing’ I wouldn’t be chatting ‘chatting’ even 3 or 4 or 5 miles in, yet both Becky and Mikey Moomoo were chatting away like it was a mid morning coffee break.

I would stay just a little way in-front of them both, glancing at my watch at times, chatting away to them, allowing them to reply if they wanted. Around 5 miles in I recognised the road from last year, leading around the picturesque Elvaston Castle. ‘Oh look that’s the car park we parked in last year’ I spurted out – interesting fact of the day. Then I proceeded to notice not a lot else, my worries of life were running away.

Worry less, run more

The route was now on last years’ ‘ground’. Still main roads (all shut to traffic) as streams of runners pounded the concrete tarmac in-front and behind. Becky and Mikey Moomoo looking strong all the way, overtaking their surrounding competitors.

Onto country lanes the three of us ran. The leg had eased by now, I had a bad spot around 5 miles in yet once on the country lanes I had all but forgotten about the pain. Becky’s bottle had leaked. As pacer, my job was to ensure she got the time she so well deserved so I was the annoying runner who ran up to the water stations, stopped in the side to fill up her bottle, grab 2 bottles of water (one for me I may add) and then overtook other runners to catch Becky up and hand her the water bottle and added water. Yes annoying for other runners but I had a job to do.

Run in places you love with people you love.

Around Elvaston Castle grounds, I remember this from last year. The soft squidgy trails beneath my feet felt wonderful, I was smiling surrounded by smiling runners. 8 miles in, someone was handing over pink pigs, perhaps I should have ran with a massive box of Haribos? I would have been rather popular I reckon.

The trails were alive with the sound of runners, lush bouncy wide trails full of happy runners. The next water stop had some sort of ‘poweraid’ type drink. I took a bottle of water and a bottle of the orangey stuff. The sun was gleaming down, not too hot, not too cold, realisitcally just right.

Big cheers erupted from the supporters through the water station and then back on the road we went. 9 miles in and Becky was well in target. This was going well and she was still chatting. I began chatting to Mikey Moomoo about 10 mile PB’s, both were just about to smash them. My watch was a little ‘out’ some 2/10ths of a mile I found out at the end. So it beeped in at the 10 mile mark in under 1 hr and 35 minutes. Even when we reached the 10 mile marker we were only just over 1 hour 35. We were going good and my worries were all but gone.

Sometimes I get stuck in a figurative place and can’t find my way out, utnli running leads me in a better direction. Whenever life turns angry, running presents something beautiful, Whenever I feel weak, it gives me strength. – Deave Griffin

At this point, mentally or not; Mikey Moomoo sped up a little and did his own thing, whilst Becky began to feel the toll of the last 10 miles. Yet still going strong at 10 miles, stronger than most of her surrounding runners, we were still passing a-many.

I was determined to ensure she held it in there. The sun was getting stronger as we ran on the canal chalkways, against the Derwent River. An easy going path, delightful to run on. I would still be running a little way in-front, Mikey Moomoo was a distance figure though I could just make him out. A good target to keep him almost in sight. I would glance round my shoulder at regular intervals to ensure Becky was still with me, giving her words of support. 11 miles in, I would say, come on 2 miles left that’s nothing, don’t slow down, come on you are doing great.

Remember that girl who gave up? Neither does anyone else

I almost thought we were on for a sub 2.05 but Becky was slowing down somewhat. My leg troubles had been forgotten about and left on the trail section, just a minor twinge would shoot up every so often. I certainty wouldn’t have been so stupid as to race this myself, 13.1 miles with a dodgy leg is not something I would encourage anyone to do, not even myself but I had a friend who needed a half marathon PB and deserved a half marathon PB and I wanted to be there to share that achievement with her.

Challenges you win today will be strength you feel tomorrow – 6am club

11 miles into 12 miles, still on the pathway still pushing. We (Becky) could do this. I had lost sight of the Moomoo by now. Yet even 11 into 12 miles we were still overtaking some decrepid looking runners, both male and female alike. Come with me, stay with me, come, the end is in sight. With just over a mile to go, I glanced at my watch and knew unless we dropped completely a sub 2.10 was a given, as the watch showed something like 1 hr 58 minutes.

We run because we are runners, we are runners because we run – Adapted from Paula Radcliffe

The stadium was soon in view, yet we needed to  meander around the cycle pathways and pass a few more runners. Ok so a few passed us too, those that were putting in a bit of a sprint, yet Becky was still going, was still going strong, placing every effort into every step. I was still encouraging her. ‘Come on’ I would say ‘Stay with me’, ‘we’re not far now’, ‘visualise that finish line’.

800 metres to go said the little sign, that’s nothing, we were nearly there and the time was looking plentiful. Yet there was no time to slow down, Becky would do her uttermost best as I ran just a few steps in-front of her. Round the outside of the stadium we ran through a blow up arch which was not the finish, round the corner and into a mass of cheering. The finish was now beeming up ahead. ‘Come on’ I shouted encouragingly as Becky gave everything she could to make that finish line. I was beginning to well up, I don’t know why but I could feel the tears in the back of my eyes.

We crossed the finish line together, announced by Mr Tanoy Man together. Just perfect. A humongous hug was on offer from me. I was rather overwhelmed beyond anything, so much so that my emotions ran riot and I started crying. Emotionally proud of my best friend knocking a good 7 minutes off her half marathon time, and being part of that special experience.

Running is an excellent mood shifter and runners chase that high, you go into a run feeling one way and come out of the other end feeling completely different renewed

This was not about me, about my race, about my running, but about someone elses’ running, someone elses’ success, someone elses’ achievement, and I can say that I don’t think I have ever been so overwhelmed with emotion at the end of a race. The last time I felt emotional had to be the Ring O’Fire Ultramarathon last year, a very special event for me, something I never thought I would achieve. It brought back those special memories, understanding that for Becky this was her ‘Ring O’Fire’ moment. What a fantastic and well deserved achievement.

Mikey Moomoo had come in just a minute or so in-front of us, he too had a cracking race. This was something special. A flat road race and here I was so emotional. Wonders will never cease.

Running of any type is stimulating, it pulls me out of my repetitive and ull yet crazy routine. – Emily Gaudet

Bottles of water were handed over, banana’s plentiful, t-shirt and endless flyers for local races and services.

The Ramathon is certainly a fantastical organised flat half marathon. Although the first few miles are a little dull to say the least, it evolves into pretty country lanes and then trails, just before heading onto pathways alongside the Derwent River. Such a lovely variety of terrain with only 60ft of ascent it makes this event one of the faster half marathons in the country.

The leg had bared up but I could feel it pulling and screaming underneath its layer of skin. Two days later I would go to the Minor Injurys Unit to get it checked out. It had been a good 4 weeks since the pain first emerged and it needed medical expertise to tell me if it was a stress fracture or shin splits. There was no sign of stress fracturness in the Xrays so nurse blaa suggested it was shin splints and told me the inevitable, the words that any runner does not want to hear – ‘rest’. I knew this anyway for I had been ‘resting’ in my own little way but to be told to ‘rest’ from running from a medical expert brought it home that I must ‘rest’.

Strangely though I am OK about it, more than OK about it as it is giving me a chance to recuperate from wear and tear of the body. Accepting and pulling out of all my summer events, including a little event in France and TR24 (Thunder Run) in a pair. By taking this break, I will no longer be just running blindly through life.  It is allowing me financially and timeically to take in some changes, and the time will soon be right to make these changes. There is more to life than glaring at a computer screen for 9 hours a day suffering from Edema, tension headaches and silent migraines on a daily basis. My health is more important than money, and running backs up that statement every step of the way.


Time: 2:07:23

Position: 1918 and 1919 out of 2775



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