A ‘TYPICAL’ RACING WEEKEND?
Wednesday evening was an early start perhaps for a weekend race but quite necessary under the circumstances. The race was the Vodafone Malta Marathon and I was using the race as a build up for the Virgin Money London Marathon and my part in “Men’s Running” magazine and the Big Marathon Challenge.
My partner and I live in Glamis but our flight left from Manchester airport early on Thursday morning. We needed to be at the airport about 5 o’clock in the morning so there was no sleep for us with a 6 hour drive coming up.
To make matters worse we were both suffering badly with bad coughs and colds. I was the only one racing but, cold or not, everything was paid for and arranged and I couldn’t miss out on the race. Heading towards Glasgow the first problem arose with a diversion off the road I knew. We missed any other diversion sign and were soon heading towards Edinburgh and miles off course. Nevertheless we managed to get to the airport after lots of panicking and caught the flight.
Everything at the Malta end was handled brilliantly by “Running Crazy”, a travel company that specialises in foreign races. We were met at the airport in Malta and ferried to our hotel on the seafront in Sliema (100 yards from the finish line). All Running Crazy customers had already been entered in whichever race they had opted for (marathon, half marathon or the walk/run half) and the race numbers and ‘goody bags’ were collected from the race headquarters for us. Spectators travelling with us were equally well catered for.
Maps and information leaflets, also provided, made sightseeing on the Friday and Saturday much easier. I was still suffering from my cold and a short run along the front on Saturday morning was not too enjoyable despite the warm sun making a pleasant change from the freezing weather of Scotland. Saturday night a pasta party was arranged for those wishing to attend, before an early night.
Breakfast was at 5 the following morning for the marathoners, followed by a bus ride to the start of the race outside the bastions of the ancient capital of Mdina. Although not traffic free the route was well marshalled and policed. It needed to be as it was a very complicated and twisting route for the first 17 miles. It was a hot and windy day (wind against for most of the route, the opposite of the day before). Undulating and often going over the same roads again, the marathon course then joined the half marathon runners, making it quite crowded for the rest of the race, only splitting right at the end to record the correct times for each set of runners.
I managed to finish in 3hrs. 45mins. 39secs. Thanks to High5 gels for getting me through. Running Crazy picked up the trophy on my behalf for coming in second in my age group (65-69) and their customers managed a total of 6 trophies in the races.
A celebration party was organized that night in a local restaurant where Running Crazy presented me with another trophy just from them. A lunch time flight back for us on the Monday and yet another 6 hour drive to get home again.
Yet another typical race weekend and still suffering from the cough and cold a week after the race.