In Which I Have A Great Race and a Great Weekend
Sarah – The Wife
Rob – …..Rob
Claire – Mrs Rob
Ironman – Tony, Sarahs Dad
Susan – Sarahs Mum
Hannah – Sarahs Sister
Indy – Our Cat
The run was on Sunday 10th February, but as it was in Southport and we live in Bradford, decided to stay over night on Saturday the 9th so we didn’t have to travel early.
We met Rob and Claire in the train station on the Saturday morning where we needed to catch a train to Manchester, then onto Southport. Myself and Sarah got there about 15 minutes before the train left, Rob and Claire got there with about 10 minutes to spare. Claire went for a coffee but the girl in the coffee kiosk was VERY slow at making coffee, so me and Sarah ended up convincing the train driver not to set off yet, with Rob stood in sight of us and sight of Claire shouting in both directions, and Claire waiting on her coffee. All worked out fine though, and a few minutes later we were off.
An hour later we got to Manchester, changed trains and went onto Southport on a train that was about as old as the first ever train. Another hour passed and we arrived at Southport train station with a rough idea of which direction to head for the hotel. GPS on Robs phone came to the rescue and after a LONG walk on a COLD pier we got to the Premier Inn. Because we booked about two months in advance, our rooms were only £29 per night. Excellent.
A short while later, after two lovely bottles of non-alcoholic beer, we hit the amusements and played on 2p pusher machines, Rob won Claire a teddy (I wasted about £10 trying to get one for Sarah, no joy…) and we had a very nice meal in an all-you-can-eat world food buffet restaurant place. It was then an early night.
On the Sunday morning myself and Sarah went down to breakfast and met Rob and Claire, and I had some porridge, a slice of bacon, a bit of fruit and a yoghurt.
We then walked the mile and a bit walk along the seafront to where the race organisers had arranged for free buses to take all the runners and their supporters to the start of the run. We met up with Ironman, Susan and Hannah who had driven over that morning for Tony to take part in the race.
There was a queue for the buses but within ten minutes or so we were on our way, and ten minutes after that we were at the start. You could get your race t-shirt either before or after the race and decided to get them before to save time afterwards. There were girls giving out pens and shower gel and energy lemonade so we got a bit of everything, along with our t-shirts. The race was delayed by half an hour, but the hall where the t-shirts were collected from was nice and warm. (Also, where a bloke was giving his two kids energy drinks. Bet they’re still awake now.)
The race is called Mad Dog as it was named after a member of Southport Hesketh Round Table, who died suddenly (Tony McWade, whose nickname was “Mad Dog”). This is only the third year it has been run, but both the previous races have been voted the best in the country and it’s easy to see why.
The start line was a few minutes around the corner so went to the toilet on the way (for the second time since arriving) and then lined up with everyone else. (Obviously, the music blarring out was ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’) Didn’t take too long before the race was under way, and Ironman shot off. Rob started a bit behind me but within a few seconds he pealed off too. I had Rob in my sights the whole way around, but never caught him. I got within about 50 metres at one point but no closer.
It was a very flat course, but due to the time of year, a very cold one. We ran down the seafront that we had walked up an hour earlier, then past a band of drummers and passed the staff of Chiquitos who were cheering from under their own tent. With my marathon plan in mind (run 5k then walk through each water station in the marathon) I decided to run 5k, then walk through the water station. Reaching the 5k point, there was no water station, but it turned up at about 5.5k so I didn’t cry or anything.
I had a steady run back, but stopped at 7k and also 9k for a drink of water due to my head over-heating a bit. When I was having a drink at 7k, a lad ran passed me and slapped me on the back saying ‘Coming on mate, you’re almost there.’ But he said it really smuggly so when I ran by him after my drink at 9k I slapped him on his back and said ‘Come on mate, you’re almost there.’ Bit petty, but served him right.
As I mentioned earlier, I had sight of Rob for the whole way and so I saw him cross the line, and it helped me find everyone after I finished. On our race numbers there was a QR Barcode thing to scan, and it turns out I got a brand new PB of 56:50! That’s over three minutes knocked off my best time! VERY chuffed with that.
With Ironman setting off ahead of Rob, Rob knew that he was close to Ironmans finishing time. I scanned Rob’s code first, and it came back as 55:32. (A new PB too!) I scanned Tony’s and his came back as… 55:15. Rob was gutted, 17 seconds away from beating the Ironman! (The trash talk started straight away, and didn’t stop for the rest of the day.)
The organisers were giving out medals, goody bags and fruit so I got one of each. (I had an apple.) I put on my medal and had a look through the fantastic goody bag.
Money off vouchers for the restaurants opposite our hotel.
A can of Mad Dog Energy Lemonade
A bottle of Recovery Gatorade
A pack of sweets (Lovehearts, fruit salad, blackjacks and more)
Some Rice Biscuits
Some shaving gel
Few other bits!
Afterwards we waited less than five minutes and got the bus back, then everyone got in the car to the hotel but as there were 7 of us, me and Rob walked back and talked tactics.
After a shower, we all met in the hotel bar/restaurant and had some food and a few beers. (No beer for Rob, being too healthy.) Tony, Susan and Hannah drove back and the rest of us used our return tickets and went for the train. (After visiting a few clothes shops and stuff for Sarah and Claire.)
It was a fantastically well organised run and everything ran smoothly. The crowds were brilliant along the route, as were the entertainment. I didn’t even mention the female singer on the way back, or the Elvis on the way out!
Already looking forward to next years ‘Mad Dog 4: The Good, The Bad and The Pugly.’