Monday, October 24, 2011

TR - Isle of Jersey

Isle of Jersey & Netherlands
9/30 – 10/11/11

Race Results:
Sun, Oct 2/11
St Helier, Isle of Jersey
Jersey Marathon
Marathon #348 – Country #111

I almost didn’t write this trip report! I was so frustrated and bummed out with the poor performances and health issues that I didn’t want to bore anyone with the ongoing saga. However one of my friends suggested I should still write a brief report and I do need to thank friends for their support and hospitality at both races so here goes.

If the races and trip had not been international (i.e. one new country to add to my list) and paid for I would have cancelled the trip at the last minute because of a major flare-up with the UC. I literally met with my GI doc a few hours before flight time to get some additional meds to take with me in the hopes it would help control the UC?

When I arrived in Jersey I was pleasantly surprised to find my friend Tony Hancock waiting for me in ‘Arrivals’. I met Tony during the Inca Trail Marathon (Peru) and we keep in touch. Tony lives near London and has a girl friend (Sue) in Jersey. Tony was kind enough to accompany me on the bus into the Central Bus station in St Helier. Race registration and packet pick-up were located one block from the station so I was able to pick up my race packet on the way to the hotel. The Jersey Evening Post had published a supplement for the race that included a nice article on Maddog so I was asked to sign a few autographs during packet pick-up. Later that evening I joined Tony, Sue and her daughter Jen for a lovely pasta dinner.

Sun was ‘M’ Day. The race started and finished in Liberation Square in St Helier. Europe was experiencing record temps for Oct and the forecast was for HOT temps – in the 80s! It was sunny and warm at the 9 am start. Because of injury and health issues I was forced (yet again) to adopt a run/walk race strategy with a primary goal of finishing. I started with a cycle of Run-5 min & Walk-1 min. However by mile 5 I realized I was in LAST place and that was not acceptable to Maddog so I increased the cycle to R-1 Mile & W-1 min. I passed a few runners before reaching the Half in 2:31 and that made me feel better. But I knew the 2nd Half would be even slower because it was getting hotter! There were several relay teams and the relay race started 30 min later so runners kept passing me throughout the race and that was frustrating – except when pretty young ladies ran by me and shouted “well done John/Maddog”. They recognized me from the article in the race supplement. The sad news was that I was in such bad shape that I couldn’t stay with them to chat! As I approached Mile 20 in 3:56 I was staring to wilt from the heat. Fortunately much of the course was on dirt bike trails that were shaded and the next two miles of shade provided some relief and I was able to struggle across the finish line in 5:19:55.

After a brief interview with the local paper I joined Tony, Sue & Jen for a cold beer at the finish line. Then I crawled back to the hotel for a long hot shower before returning to the finish area to join a friend, Jack Brooks, and other fellow members of the 100 Marathon Club (UK) for more beer and a celebration dinner. One member had completed his 100th marathon at the race!

The weather continued to be sunny and warm on Mon so I joined a group to tour the entire island and enjoy the typical tourist sites – the German bunkers at Noirmont Point, Corbiere Point, St Brelade’s Bay, Gorey and Mont Orgueil Castle, etc (see photos). Jersey is a pretty island and there seems to be a lot of money since the houses were huge and I didn’t see any slums?

On Tue the weather returned to normal – cloudy & cool – and I walked around St Helier to buy the required souvenirs, take more photos and enjoy a pleasant seafood dinner at the Fisherman’s Market.

On Wed I had to catch a cab to the airport for a very early morning flight back to Gatwick and on to Amsterdam. I still wasn’t feeling well and would have cancelled that portion of the trip if I had not promised a friend, Jaap, that I would join him to run his 100th marathon in his hometown of Soest, Netherlands! Maybe the UC would calm down and I would feel better by the weekend?

Stay tuned!

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