Friday, 22 June 2012

Final Thoughts with 12 hours to go!

Well one thing is for sure  - we are going to see rain at some point tomorrow. Latest weather forecast from the Met Office is:

Patchy rain is likely to develop tomorrow morning but more widespread outbreaks of rain are expected during the afternoon, possibly turning quite heavy at times and then more persistent in the evening with lowering hill fog. Top temperature 14C / 57F, with fresh southwest winds

With the above in mind I thought it might be worthwhile investing in some waterproof gloves to keep my hands warm. Unfortunately, other people must have had the same idea as Charlie Turner at Intersport said they had sold out earlier in the day! I have two waterproof jackets ready for tomorrow and numerous changes of clothing.

All the preparation is now done and I plan to put my feet up for the rest of the evening. I registered last night just after 8pm and it was really quiet, so I was straight in and out. However, I was told that earlier in the evening it had been packed with people queueing well before 5.30pm, so I missed the bedlam. This morning I packed all my spare clothes and other items and a box for food and drink -  can't believe I have so much, but better to be safe than sorry (see photos below). Made some sweet potato soup this morning, which will be ideal for nourishment and also keeping warm, if it is cold and wet tomorrow. My support drivers are all well briefed and know what to give me when and where, but with the changeable weather it may not quite go to plan.

At lunchtime today I met up with some of my fellow walkers for what has become a traditional pre-race get together. Lots of pasta, last minute tips, mind games and generally a good laugh before getting down to the serious business. Some final thoughts before tomorrow and apologies if I have covered some of them before, but here goes:
  • Eat your normal breakfast. Have what you would normally eat before going on a long training walk, rather than trying something new like power muesli or a bowl of pasta.
  • Make sure you are hydrated before the race, but start drinking a couple of hours before and take regular sips, rather than drink gallons just before the start, as all you will succeed in doing is increasing the number of toilet breaks during the first couple of hours.
  • Don't go too fast at the start, you can always speed up later. Conserve your energy, you might get a burst of adrenalin and decide to push hard, but try and keep a steady pace.
  • Don't count the miles, as if you do you are in for a very long day. Break the 85 miles down into chunks, so you feel like you have achieved something as you pass each target. For me the race is in 3 parts - firstly to Peel, when the pace is quick and there is a lot of support. Second section is from Peel to Lezayre, where I just try and focus on maintaining a decent pace and keeping it together and finally from Lezayre to the finish. This final section is both the most difficult and the most rewarding, as you have the difficult section out of Maughold, but for me one I reach Hibernia I know it is a fairly easy run in.
  • Ensure you have warm and waterproof clothing. I didn't think we would see another day like the Parish Walk in 2008, in terms of how wet, windy and cold it was, but if it had been held today it would certainly have rivalled it. Tomorrow won't be much better, so don't get caught out on the Sloc and end up with hypothermia, like some people did in 2008.
  • Avoid blisters - not always possible, but trying to keep your feet as dry as possible will help.
  • Thank the marshalls and everyone helping out around the course, as they have given up their own time and will also have to put up with the same weather as the competitors, but won't be moving around keeping warm.
  • Push through the wall. You will have a bad patch, but try and remain positive and it will pass.
  • Most of all enjoy it. This is something you will have been training for and thinking about for months and it really is an amazing event. The support on the day is magnificent, with thousands getting raised for charity, so don't miss out on the great atmosphere.
All that is left for me to say is have a good night's rest and good luck to everyone taking part tomorrow. Whatever your objective; whether you are a first timer and just aiming for as far as you can go, or your target is a first-time finish, or you want a top ten finish, I hope you achieve your objective and again make sure you enjoy the day.

I'll be back after the race with my take on how things panned out.


  1. Good luck Rich, hope you have a great day and the right result!

  2. Looking good in Kirk Michael

  3. You certainly DID have a good day! Congratulations Richard (and Vinny and Michael). Superb race. I said to several people on the way around that I suspected a titanic battle between yourself and Vinny and could see you still being neck and neck past Maughold. It never occurred to me that you'd still be together at the finish though!

  4. Fantastic Rich, all that hard work paid off. Thoroughly deserved.