…Mr Consistency! Five hours of running (or trying to) and I’m within 50 seconds of last year’s time. I’ve always said that I’ve only got one speed and this proves it. I haven’t gotten any quicker of slower over 25 years of running. Maybe I need to review my training techniques! I was 1 minute behind a 71 year old Swiss guy and 30 minutes in front of a 73 year old. There’s hope for me yet.
Anyway, as you can see I managed to finish. Interestingly although my time was the same my position was much better than last year. 1478th compared to 1641st. My official splits (roughly every 10k) were all within a minute or so of last year. The winner was a lot slower at 3:03 so I don't know if it was a slower day. The results are out already, as are some photos. I thought the crowds were slightly down on last year too. Maybe with the weather not being as perfect.
Talking of splits, they added a new feature this year to try and prevent the bottleneck just after Wixi. They split to course into two alternative routes for a couple of kilometers. I took the new route which is probably a tad slower because of the running surface. It would be nice to compare the times of people on the different routes.
The biggest difference this year was that my fan club (aka Rosie, Vicky, Lucy and Polly) were missing. It was quite sad as I passed the 5 points where they cheered me on last year.
I can make one claim to fame: the greatest ascent of any runner. The weather was fine (largely sunny with a few clouds) until we reached Lauterbrunnen when I could see clouds forming ahead up above Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg so I peeled off and nipped into my hotel (conveniently situated right on the route) and grabbed my pertex jacket, a swig of Rivella and a banana. As my room was on the third floor I claim an extra 10m of ascent. I didn't use the jacket in the end but it gave me some reassurance having been on the top section of the route in August in 4 inches of snow. The detour might have cost me a few minutes but what the hell.
One strange thing happended around that point though. I was following the 4:30 pacemaker all the way to Lauterbrunnen but after then climbing up to Wengen I spotted the 5 hour pacemaker in front of me. Not sure how he got in front, as you couldn't miss the big green balloon he was towing, unless it was while I was in the hotel.
As with last year I took full advantage of all the water/food stations. I reckon I had enough energy products to kill an elephant but it seemed to work. I don't know what my stomach thought of energy bars, gels and banana washed down with isotonic drink, energy drink, boullion, coke and water every few miles.
All the bands, cowbell ringers, swiss horn players and steel bands were out in force. Those bells make a right racket. The bagpiper was at the top of the morraine as usual but it was a younger piper this year. Not sure what's happened to the old one.
By the time I got up to the morraine the cloud was down and nothing was to be seen of the mountains or glaciers. I'd been chatting to a few Brits on the way up who were doing it for the first time. It must have seemed pretty crap doing all that climbing and not being rewarded by the views at the end. Glad I'd seen it all before.
At the start I meet my friend Thanh from last year's training week and at the end in the shower tent I meet Danni. A few others from the training week were also there but I didn't see them. Later I was sat on a crowded train in KS waiting to go down to Lauterbrunnen when I saw Thanh struggling and failing to get on the next train down. Hope he got down OK.
So, what about the calf muscles I hear you say. Well I bought a pair of those natty compression socks at the marathon exhibition (photos coming soon)and apart from the odd twinge they seemed to do the trick. I got to the end without crippling myself which is a big bonus. I ache a bit but not enough to stop me running.
I went into Interlaken the evening after the race to watch the prize giving and the Jungfrau Mile. It was tipping it down by then so I, and everyone else, stayed in the marquee which is where the finish line was. I was about six feet from the finish line when the runners came in. It was shocking how fast they were. The winner, an Ethiopian, came in at 4:03. They must have handicapped the women as the rest of the runners all came in together behind the winner.
Another strange thing I noticed. Last year Interlaken was full of Koreans but this year you couldn't get away from the Brits. Three out of four tourists seemed to be British. Hardly saw any last year.
Oh and one last thing. On Friday I started coming down with a sore throat. Fortunately didn't seem to bother me during the run on Saturday but now I've got a full blown man-cold so I'm to bed to feel sorry for myself.
Photos should be coming soon. Watch the birdie.