it was going to be hard to compare to the stunning Torquay route from the previous Sunday, but my personal take on it was that there wasn't much scenery to take in and not such a large event meaning there weren't half as many supporters to cheer you on or throw sweet treats your direction when your feet started to ache from the pounding of tarmac.
However, this said, taking part in a community event miles from home with a large group of strangers who all pull together to do battle against themselves is a tremendous experience in itself, and proudly wearing your T shirt and medal as you trudge your way back home makes all the travelling and preparation well worth while. You meet people who you otherwise would never have got the chance to and hear inspirational tales from ordinary heroes, running for all sorts of different causes, even just for a new PB.
A 350 yard dark tunnel alongside the canal is worth warning you about if you ever decide to venture onto this particular course, as causing a 6-man pile up had to be one of my more memorable experiences of this race. There is no external light inside the tunnel, and although marshals had done their best to offer some guidance lining the canal rails with fairy lights, I'm afraid my clumsy (yes ballet dancers can be clumsy too) feet managed to slip their way out from under me and reek havoc on those approaching behind.
Even though 6 days had passed since my first race, my legs were still not fully recovered so I found myself in quite a lot of pain fro the last 5 miles. Attempting to slow down and walk for the last mile, having fought the urge to do so for a good half hour, a voice from behind picked me back up with ''Come on love, you're almost there now. One mile to go'' and I'm proud to say his neon yellow dazzling trainers kept steady in front of me keeping me going those last ten minutes all the way to the finish line, and I made a point of thanking him for this small act of kindness.
Finding our way to the goody bags, my father and I soaked in the post race atmosphere in the back yard of a nearby pub along with the rest of the competitors. Hearing the laughter and cheers of families come together did wonders fro my exhaustion, as did the large plate of chips arriving at our table.
Please comment with your tips on pre-race nerves, I could do with the advice!!