Twice the Reasons for the Old Favourite Pun

The marathon season continued on the weekend of 13th & 14th April, with some high quality performances, a handful of Harriers at the Manchester Marathon and a surprise (to me, I’m assuming not to the participants) outing for two Reasons (sorry) in an ultra in Yorkshire.

On Saturday 13th April, club legend Teresa Reason and her less well known (at least within the club) husband Chris, both took on the magnificently named, double alliterated, Punk Panther Skipton Skedaddle. According to its website, “Setting off from the beautiful  market Town of Skipton meaning  ‘Sheep Town’ in an old Northern dialect which  is recorded in the doomsday book, this new route takes  in parts of the Dales High Way, River Aire Ultra and  Pennine Way.” I’m glad I know how to say Sheep Town in an old northern dialect, I wonder what the Welsh for Sheep Town is?

 No Reason for this photo, except it was on Strava

Setting aside the history of Skipton, which was only a small part of the 50 mile route that the Reasons signed up to, there was talk on Saturday afternoon that Teresa had been annoyed by Chris entering “the same bloody ultra that I entered!”, I don’t recall exactly the details of the conversation, or Teresa’s reason for being put out, and there is a chance that Mary and Holly were slightly drunk at the time of the conversation (it was a Saturday and we were in a pub).

No Reason to run through this

Whatever the reason for her objection, it didn’t seem to do Teresa too much harm. She took on the over 50 mile course with over 2500m of elevation (equivalent to going from sea level to the top of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, almost twice over) with characteristic gusto, completing the trip in 11:39:00, finishing 10th overall and 2nd overall female.

A Reason to make Ange jealous

You wouldn’t think that Teresa’s effort could be trumped, but Chris gave the family extra reasons (don’t worry, I will stand in a corner and think about what I’ve just done) to celebrate by finishing the course in 9:40:53, in 1st position and claiming a new course record by 9 minutes. Perhaps this paragraph is why Teresa was upset about Chris joining the race she was in.

Two Reason for a photo (I’ll get my coat)

On Sunday 2 Harriers formed a tight-knit unit at the Manchester Marathon. Gary Kingsley and Simon Morris were so tight-knit, in fact, that they chose to stay not only in the same AirBnB (I heard that Simon was responsible for the booking) but in the same bed. This may have been because by the time they got round to planning the weekend, it was the only place available, or, who knows, maybe they liked it that way? 

My AI’s interpretation of “Two men in a bed” was a little odd.

Manchester doesn’t quite have the status of London or the romance of Paris, but I love the city and the marathon is about as good as it gets in the UK outside of London. There’s a chance that I’m biassed and, to be fair, my sample set isn’t massive, but it helps the narrative of love, bear with me.

The race kicked off at 9:30 and Simon Morris was in the first start pen, so he got his race underway just a minute later. The weather was dry but not hot, so the perfect conditions for a marathon. Simon was hoping for a PB and was hoping that, having joined a running club for the first time last summer, he could lower his time to under the 3½ hours mark. Whether he was loving it or feeling it at the start is not recorded, but shortly after 9:30 Simon set off on the opening stretch (my favourite part of this marathon) towards the City Centre, before looping back towards Old Trafford.

At the first timing mat, strangely near the start but going the opposite way down the road, which can make you think you haven’t really started if you’re not feeling great, Simon clocked 48:15 for the first 10k. That equates to a pace of 7:46 per mile, which would translate to a finish time of around 3:23, well inside his target. Simon continued to feel strong up the halfway mark, even increasing his pace slightly, to record 1:41:09 for 13.1 miles.

Marathons rarely go entirely smoothly, however, and Simon started to feel the fatigue and the pain from the halfway point up to the 30km (about 19 miles) checkpoint. In this third section of the race he slowed to an average pace of just under 8 minutes per mile. He gritted his teeth and dealt with the pain, managing to hold himself together well in the last stretch to record a finish time of 3:28:30 and a new PB.

When I spoke to Simon after the race he said, “It is a PB by about a minute. Not as much cut off as I wanted but I’ll take it! I paid the price for not having done enough long runs as part of the training. Everything went to plan until 20ish and then I didn’t have the push I was hoping for.” I think it is fair to say that most people would be proud of that time, hats off to Simon.

Gary started in the third wave so didn’t get his race underway until around 10:15, so I assume Simon was a couple of pints down by the time they caught up later (which could explain his later comments). As Simon had done earlier, Gary started strongly, perhaps running too fast early on as he got to the halfway stage in 1:55:13.

As Simon had earlier, so Gary found the second half of the race harder going. Having averaged an even paced 8:48 per mile for the first 13.1 miles, he slowed to 9:06 for the section to 30k, and then to 9:26 per mile for the last 7 mile section, taking him through the finish line in 3:56:54. I haven’t spoken to Gary since the Marathon, except for a brief fist bump (which I embarrassingly missed) as I jogged past him on Tuesday but I do know from a combination of Strava and searching my archive of reports, that his previous PB was 3:59:11, set at Brighton last year, so congratulations on a new PB, Gary.

A person finishing a marathon.
Photo by Pietro Rampazzo on Unsplash

Gary and Simon (is this a Gavin and Stacey tribute blog) met up after the race to celebrate their PBs and for me to bother them via Whatsapp. I asked Simon if there was anything interesting that should be noted. Perhaps he forgot to whom he was talking, maybe he just didn’t care, perhaps he was even being honest when he responded with, “Other than the fact that Gary is a very gentle lover, nothing to report.” Well done both, I hope the journey home was full of love. 

Congratulations to all who ran last weekend, and good luck to everybody who will be taking on London this coming weekend.