The 2009 Barry 40 Mile Race
It has been a long road to Jenner Park for me and this year Mark Collinson mentioned that he would be going and we could make some arrangement together. So fresh from my Hypothermic Half Marathon in Ottawa, I agreed that it would be a great opportunity.
However my training wasn’t so good over the following weeks and a Sunday run to Bath and back along the cycle completely wrecked me so much so that the last 2.5 miles I had to walk home and took me 4 days before I was able to make it out again.
So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I made my way to Barry. Mark was ready and up for the challenge of his first ultra and we arrived at the stadium early to set up our table and get our race packet. Race Director Mick McGeogh was there to welcome us and it was nice to meet the man behind the Les Croupiers running club website after all these years.
With the shout “Go” echoing across the stand we took off amid overcast skies and the lead quickly took on a four man lead and these would dominate the race until its finish with Mark Shepherd pulling out early on.
The weather rolled in with regular showers and cold winds, occasional hail interspersed with milder periods and even warm sun at times. Mark seemed to be maintaining a fairly consistent pace while I having started at the back of the back remained in that position for the next few hours gradually realising I wouldn’t make the 40 in 6 hours. Nevertheless I kept going and as usual there are all kinds of aches and pains that surface only to leave again but I could feel this was a race I had to hang on to. Meanwhile the leader, George Dayantis, was gradually pulling away from Chris Finhil and Paul Fernandez who remained a close for a long time. I was lapped frequently by Mark who looked like he was having a good time. Gradually I slowed… hard to imagine but I just had to turn my mind off and concentrate on staying relaxed and keep moving. Eventually I could see what was probably going to happen and I accepted it and kept going until 6 pm when my long suffering counter had to go and was replaced for 1 or two laps until I hit 130 laps and called it a day. Mark finished his 40 miles just before 6 and he was very happy.
Ultrarunners are nice people and I would like to thank Phil Adams for his constant encouragement – every time he passed me he would say “Come on Pooler”. A real gentleman.
Also Mick McGeoch is a man in the true tradition of race directors and if you ever need to put on a race I am sure he would kindly offer any advice you may need. Long live the Barry 40.