Before writing race reports I find that it is useful to view the event ratings on Premier Marathons. I try not to be to phased by the reviews of the runners as ultimately they are entitled to their opinions and it is only the support of the many hundreds that attend races that make them viable for those that take up their own time to organize the events.
A couple of these made me chuckle this morning. The usual complaints about the hills made an appearance along with the old favorite that some runners were late for the start as they got lost.
I did find myself nodding I agreement at the mention of the lack of toilet facilities. Arriving as I did with Chris we did immediately make the decision to take our warm up across to the Viceroy and beat the rush. OK for us but I can see the frustration that other encountered in providing this basic facility. The only other mention on organization is the finishing area, this was a little chaotic and having to search for someone to award your finishing medal is a little frustrating. For a race this big it would make sense to cordon off this area to stop all and sundry from getting n and helping themselves to medals, goodie bags, runner refreshments etc.
As a club we nearly made double figures in terms of official Milers that attended the event. Nine Milers hit the start line. I was expected a tenth but for some reason, despite registering as a Miler, Jeremy Curran, for reasons know only to himself, could not bring himself to wear a Milers shirt for the race. I know it’s a little bright but I notice that even the Abu Dhabi Striders have tried to adopt the color in their own club kit!
Pre-race the normal banter was interrupted by the arrival of Ross. When I say arrival what I mean is that he was spotted several hundred meters away and was in danger of redirecting the passing aircraft heading into Abu Dhabi airport. Ross was sporting the most splendid pair of bright orange shorts which perfectly complemented the yellow Milers vest and made a fashion statement that screamed “I am Elton John”. The reason, as Ross explained was that he and Elaine were staying at the hotel for two days and he had forgotten his suitcase but had packed these shorts so it was all he had.
Don’t worry Ross, in my youth I had a pair of Ron Hill Union Jack shorts that I was very proud of and took a battering from my old running team-mates whenever they were given an airing. The difference here is I had a choice and still continued to proudly wear them. Eventually they were taken from my kit-bag by an unnamed runner and displayed at a race after being converted into makeshift flag and are still maybe hanging in Bolton to this day. I do miss them.
Chris McCann’s week did not start well. He thought he had entered the 21.1 KM only to find on number collection that he had pressed the wrong button and entered the 10 KM. A final check before the race reconfirmed this. Despite this setback Chris started the race but things did not improve. Somehow, at the turning point for the 10 Km runners, Chris was directed along with the half marathon runners and missed the turning. It was not for some time that the mistake was realized and he ended up running around 13 KM, hence the finishing time and position.
On the racing front it was another good day from the Milers with Ben leading the way with a 1st place in his category. Ben has now won his category in all five of his races so far and is clearly the stand-out runner in his category in the UAE.
Rob has, in matter of a few short weeks, has seen his race paces reduce dramatically. The way he is flying around Mushrif and his dedication to the Wednesday intervals is impressive.
Anne Danson-Scaddon produced a top five category performance and looked very comfortable as she crossed the finishing lie and continues her journey back to full fitness.
Anne Hubert completed the 10 KM in a faster time than her race at the ABRaS a couple of weeks back.
Elaine and Ross both completed the longer distance with Elaine just a shade slower than last year but Ross, spurred on by those shorts, running a P.B. and three minutes faster than the same race last year.
Dorian was unlucky to finish just outside the podium placing’s in his first outing at the half marathon distance since his infamous RAK excursion when he sampled the delights of the local medical facility. Dorian has been flying around Mushrif and is well on the way to the levels of fitness he had prior to the summer.
My own race was always going to be a little unpredictable. After picking up an injury doing intervals three weeks back, a lesson learned to make sure you warm up before running! This was my first serious run since the ABRaS when the injury went from bad to worse. I had decided to treat this as a good training run and listened to the advice to take it easy. I came out of the run unscathed and with the injury feeling OK and as a bonus a surprise podium placing.
I will give a quick mention to a regular attendee of our Monday runs, Graham Rafferty, who despite wearing a Road Runners vest, ran a P.B. in his recent running time. Those Mushrif hills, coupled with sensible interval sessions and a steady long run have contributed to resurgence in his performances.
Next stop, the Donut 10 on 23rd November. If you have not entered then it’s time to do it. Hopefully we will see more than 9 Milers sporting the vests.
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