For me, the weekend of the clocks going forward is synonymous with a race I’ve completed 8 times – the Wilmslow 1/2M and with an excellent race package Wilmslow is an event I like to target annually.
So being ‘a Wilmslow old hand’, I know that very early arrival is key, given the congestion caused by an influx of 5,000 runners and the limited parking, so despite the 1030 start, I always look to arrive by 9 o’clock in order to avoid traffic troubles and stress!
But my 2012 event turned out slightly differently . . .
On Saturday night I packed up my gear and reset my watch an hour ahead in readiness for the ‘lost hour’ on Sunday. Even more efficiently, I didn’t need to adjust my alarm clock, having invested in a ‘fancy dan’ radio controlled model which constantly adjusts the time according to the signal from Greenwich and importantly for this weekend, automatically adds the hour for the start of British Summer Time. So I fell asleep with no concerns about my pre-race organisation.
On Sunday morning my alarm duly woke me and after a few minutes snoozing, I was up and enjoying a leisurely breakfast – in fact everything I did was leisurely because of course I was SO efficient with my pre-race organisation. I planned to leave at 0815 which would easily see me parking at Wilmslow by 0900. So you can imagine my shock on checking my race watch to see the time registering 0910! Surely I couldn’t have made a mistake, not with all my efficient planning?
I had no idea what had happened but thereafter panic ensued! Realising that I was now in a 2 races, one a 1/2M and the other to get to the start line on time, I hastily gathered my gear and raced out of the house at breakneck speed, leaving at 0915. Wilmslow is a mere 30 minutes drive away but today I knew that the ‘nose-to-tail’ traffic would double that time and sadly I wasn’t mistaken. After 30 minutes of frustrating crawling into Wilmslow, I managed to park up at 1020 – about a mile from the start! No time to visit the toilet, check my laces, Vaseline up or prepare in any sensible way; my warm-up consisted of a decent speed mile to the start where I just managed to get into the pack before the gun fired!
Well despite my highly stressed pre-race ‘routine’, a beautiful sunny day ensued and with my goal of completing a long run as opposed to racing, the event went well. Of even greater interest was being applauded by Emmerdale actor (and very good standard runner) Tony Audenshaw at the 11 mile point who had come out in support and he gave me a cheery ‘well done Helsby’ as I laboured by. I’m afraid that my reply of ‘thanks Bob’ was not going to endear me to him but I couldn’t for the life of me remember his real name and in my fatigued state, I genuinely thought that his TV character name was actually his true name!
So against the odds, I can now add another Wilmslow to my tally and on investigating the problem alarm clock, it seems that the radio control element is no more. Typical. In our digital age you just can’t trust analogue signals any more these days! So I’m off to Argos now to buy one of those double bell, wind-up models that you can hear ticking from every room in the house. Whilst I may not get much sleep between now and next March, I can guarantee that I won’t miss Wilmslow in 2013!
Mike Searle, disorganised runner and failed name-checker.
Mike Searle, Training Director, body4life Health & Fitness
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