10 Aug 2015
The Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 is a well established event over distances from 10K to 50K in the countryside around Salisbury. The event name is derived from the route taking in 5 rivers, 4 hills, 3 large country estates, 2 castles and 1 cathedral.
My day started at 6 am – WTF – its Sunday Neil don’t ya know! A quick shower was followed by peanut butter on toast for breakfast, and then the last few bits were packed in my bag. Now I was ready. My daughter Stacey and her other half Jon arrived promptly on time and we set off on our way to Salisbury. We arrived early, but as it was absolutely lashing it down, it meant I registered quickly and we waited in the shelter of a hangar as we watched others que in the rain to register. Bonus! I made a last minute snap decision to change out of my road shoes and into my trail shoes – it proved to be a wise move. The recent and current heavy rain had turned some of the tracks a bit muddy. Aggressive soles Jonny!! The race started at 9 am prompt and we legged it – so to speak. It was somewhat congested to begin with but things settled relatively quickly and space was found. The rain also stopped quite quickly too. Alas, I had prepped for a full day of rain and maybe even some thunder and lightning. Thank you Mr Weatherman. I wore a long sleeve compression top, a t shirt, and waterproof jacket. The resulting ceaseation of water falling from the skies lead to my jacket being removed and tied around my waste, where it remained for the next 29 miles or so! There was sporadic rain for the next few hours – but not enough to make me put the jacket back on! Things bumbled along well and I got to the 3 hour point before I realised. Now….. those that know – know, but for those that don’t know – I have had a double hernia since Dec 2013 and have been waiting for an operation since (it is now 2015………and i am still waiting!!!) I am genuinely undecided if what follows is a result of the hernias or not. It was at this point that I began to get a sudden and sharp shooting pain in my left groin (I have had this before on long runs) that intermittently visited me for the remainder of the run. At the 4 and a half hour point my right groin thought to itself “Actually I want some of that too” and decided to join in, although with much less frequency or intensity than its left sided sibling. I found if I stuck my hands deep into my groin and gently massaged the muscle there that I got some relief. Thankfully it is school holiday time and I don’t recall running past any schools when we returned into the city. I fear that had the opposite been true then I could of found myself generating some interest from the local police as I ran past a playground of school children, with both hands deep inside my shorts, and an obvious relieved impression on my face!! I ran from the 5 hour point with a lady from London who’s name I didn’t ask. With about 1/2 mile until the finish I told her I was cramping up really bad and for her to go on ahead, which she dulely did. I just didn’t fancy telling her about my groin issues! I crossed the finishing line after 6 hours 10 mins having met a lot of nice people and chatted to many of them on the way around which added to the overall ambience of the event.The organisers did an absolutley amazing job and the flapjack and bread n butter pudding at the check points were outstanding!! Will I go back again? Definitely!! A huge thank you to Donna Mounty for paying the entry fee and staying at home with lil lady whilst I was off sauntering around the Wiltshire countryside. Likewise a massive thanks to Stacey Turnbull and Jonathan Hoare for chauffeuring there and back, for staying and supporting me, and for the big fat burger n chips when I finished.