So rather than lining up in the Edinburgh Marathon this morning I instead made my way to L’Etacq to see if I could find work. This race – being organised for the 22nd and final time by the Jersey HHH – is so well put together that there is never any question of a shortage of manpower. It runs to perfection and is a template for anyone wishing to organise a road race.
I’m not a good spectator. If I’m not competing I want to be coaching, officiating or helping. Luckily I found a vacancy with the finish team, keeping the area immediately beyond the finishing gantry clear and helping with runner identification where race numbers had come adrift. First was the two-mile junior race with an excellent entry of well over 100, followed by half a dozen wheelchair racers. The final youngster reached the line a few minutes ahead of James Cunningham who took the main title in around 77 minutes. Some way outside Paul Freary’s course record of 68 minutes but respectable nonetheless on a very breezy morning, especially up there on the north west heights in the latter stages of the race.
There is most definitely a mini running boom on right now and 61 entries were taken before the race up at St John bring the total to something like 570. You can generally count on a ‘no-show’ level of around 15% so it was going to be interesting to see if the record number of finishers – 507 in the very first race in 1989, was going to be beaten.
Jo Gorrod was, almost inevitably, the first woman home and not so very far away from the men. Kathryn Bailey’s course record of 1:17.22 survived however. It’s a great finish to the race that straight stretch of about 300 metres and it became a little chaotic at peak time (around two hours) especially when a five-or six-man (I’m not sure we ever found out) caterpillar trotted through. After that it quietened down but it’s nonetheless always good to see the slower runners and first-timers come through with delighted smiles, arms in the air, to be greeted as winners by their loved ones. I can empathise – my first half marathon finish was at the same spot and it was a great feeling.
But what about that mark of 507? Sadly we ran out of finishers at 505. But another great job by Paul Raimbault and the HHH. They now hand over to the Run Jersey boys who have a class act to follow.
The results will appear shortly on the race website