It was the earliest start to a marathon day – 05.15 hrs – ridiculous, I know. A quick departure from the hostel in Buffalo and a short walk to the Niagara Conference Centre. The number pick up was a very easy affair; just gave my number and the number and shirt were handed out. There was then a forty minute wait to the start time of 06.30. I chatted to a local, asking if he had any sun cream I could borrow as I had left mine in Yorkshire (it later transpired it was tucked away in my bag), he hadn’t any. So to the start – I always try to get to near the start line and this was no exception. The national anthem was sung as I walked slowly forwards. Then on time, we all set off along a straight, wide road. The pace was good, well within a four-hour finish which was my main goal; it was strange not worrying about being over an eight mile an hour pace. With well supported local support, we spread out onto a loop. I remember seeing a 15-mile marker and wondering how my mindset would be when we pass that later in the run. A steady pace was maintained as we ran parallel to Canada, from where I had come the night before. Soon after this time, the 3.40 pacer overtook me: that was fine as my maths was telling me I was well within the desired time.
As the miles trudged along the heat and blisters started to hinder the run – the heat continued to the end but somehow crunching my toes helped alleviate the blisters. Much of the run was in well-groomed residential areas with the occasional water sprinkler coming our way. Water – there were water stations every 2 miles and that’s about all they provided. I took on water at most of them to keep hydrated and I think filling up like a camel over the previous twenty-four hours helped me through the run. The 3.50 pacer passed me and again, I wasn’t too fussed by this. Eventually, the centre of Buffalo town was in sight, the crowds cheering on either side of the wide streets. A bit of a sprint (if one could call it a sprint) saw me overtake a woman in her 20’s, which was quite good for a 57-year-old, and onto the finish line. It was a nice run on a fairly flat route but this is offset by the midday heat.
Next is Huddersfield (four miles away) – that rare occasion when one can get out of bed at a reasonable time and be at the start fed, watered and refreshed and (dare I say) raring to go.
(Terry’s finishing time was 3:55:35, Ed.)