Foot races in England give no consideration at all to public transport options so when I find one that is going to be somewhere pleasant and that a bus or train is scheduled to arrive with enough time to reach the start I jump at the chance. The first train to Stroud on Sunday was scheduled to arrive at 9:38 leaving me a little over 20 minutes to make the mile long trek to the Stroud Half Marathon start and drop off my backpack but with a 20 minute signaling delay in Swindon I actually arrived at the station at 9:59 — I shot the photo at the platform to at least give myself a starting time in the event the timing mats were gone before I could run down there.
The weather was supposed to be dreadful but it was only a bit windy with a few light showers and much sunshine…a gorgeous fall day. Running along alone I still was cheered on by some leftover spectators and bemused Race Marshalls who I called out to with, “Network Rail fucked me,” and so on. I started passing the DFL’s just after the 1 mile marker and settled into a steady canter with plans to stop at the Whitminster Inn for a quick pint. However, the proprietor seemed confused and stated, “we don’t open till 12.” A few hundred meters up the road the Old Forge was likewise closed and later, at the race’s 10 mile mark (about 11 for me), another pub wasn’t yet open. Who planned this debacle?
As I approached the finish I took another photo and it seems from the time data on the photo that the gun must have gone off just as I reached the station. My net finish (the timing mats were still down when I crossed the Start) was just over 1:41 so I was about 8 minutes and 210 places behind others at my slow pace and in the meantime I passed 687 others on the route.
Post-race recovery was meant to include a kebab and a couple of beers but none of the kebab stands in Stroud are open before 4pm; this left more time and belly room for beverages so I had some nice visits to the Old Nelson, the Lord John, the Queen Victoria and the Imperial Hotel before the heavens finally opened.