Be careful when you compete with Pete

Here is a cautionary tale.  I am writing this while recovering from running the Edinburgh marathon with my old friend Pete Goodchild on 28 May. What happened?  And what has this to do with Bergerac?


One of the few flat stretches

The point is this: if you should by any chance venture down this way, you just might run into Pete – or find yourself running/cycling/sculling alongside him. In which case there are a few things you should know about him before you set off.


Going past the Scottish Parliament

Pete and I rowed together at Auriol Kensington Rowing Club (AK) in the early nineties.  We won a few fun races together, and around this time Pete broke a lot of course records.  My only decent course/event record was set with Pete in a pair (Metropolitan Regatta – having an amazing race against Imperial  College, Cambridge, London and some other good pairs…) and this record was then broken again three years later by Leander ;-(), but Pete won cycle races, set the record for the Rower’s Revenge event in Marlow (when it was still sculling + cycling & running, rather than the current rather less skilful erg, cycle, run… oh & having broke the record … he went and broke it again some time later!).  He could run a marathon comfortably under three hours on seemingly no training & I think he won all the cycle races he entered!

BUT HE IS NO LONGER (apparently…) TRAINING!!!  And a few weeks before the Edinburgh marathon, I had run a consistent London Marathon, with the aim of doing a fast one with Pete a few weeks later and he had fractured his foot and come down with a bad cold…

My London Marathon Splits:

We drove up to Edinburgh & Pete was recovering, but this I saw was possibly my only chance to ever beat him in a long run… If I went off slightly faster he would be around 1:30 to the half-way point & then speed up… if I could manage something close to this and he blew up… or had to stop due to pain in his foot… then…

The first half went well/to plan (really comfortable in 1:34 – exactly ten minutes faster than at London & I felt I had plenty in the tank… time to speed up for the second half… and possibly…)… but then…I stopped for what I though would just be a moment… to loosen my shoes (the feet has swollen & at the start, while waiting in the build-up & in nervousness I had tied them up much tighter than normal… a big mistake!)… and then could not start again… my legs had, as Pete terms it: “Detonated”… & they had been… “obliterated” … and the legs would/could not start running again.  The London Marathon had come back to bite me…

So I walked for five km … and eventually started chatting with a guy raising money for McMillan Nurses (as was Pete), who had run a marathon the week before & was doing a third one the following week …aiming to do all of them in under four hours (three marathons in three weeks, all in three something…)…but he had also seriously hit the wall, also ‘detonated’, & was walking… We were overtaken by a relay runner who really looked as if he (for safety reasons) should not be running… we looked at each other & started running again… despite walking for a full 5km … we managed a 3:44.  Not bad.

Pete was under 3 hours again… despite also hitting the wall, also totally ‘detonating’, having a fractured foot & not having trained for three weeks…

Tant pis!

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