News Bruges 21 October 2018 TRACCIES Invade Chocolate City Bruges 21 October 2018 TRACCIES Invade Chocolate City

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Report by Pauline Petitt
2018-11-04 21:42:39

Bruges 21 October 2018 TRACCIES Invade Chocolate City

Belgium, and Bruges in particular, is famous for turning chocolate into a national obsession, brewing insanely strong beer in approximately 5000 different varieties, and consuming a diet that seems to revolve around Waffles and/or chips. The landscape is about as challenging as a game of Mastermind against Donald Trump…. And yet the populace of this fine Medieval City seem devoid of any outward signs of an unhealthy lifestyle/diet. The answer would appear, judging by the millions of them flying around every street, to be bicycles.  Cycling rules in these parts, so it’s no great surprise that 2018 saw only the second running of the Bruges Marathon.  What it lacks in history, however, it makes up for in charm, convenience and a pancake flat course, made for PB’s.

With that in mind, and having a pathological hatred of hills, I decided that Bruges should be my other marathon of the year. A place was booked, and I set about finding accommodation.  Bruges is quite limited in accommodation, but the place I found, (more by luck than judgement) turned out to be a mere 200 yards or so from the main square where the race hq and finish was located. This would prove very handy on race day!!

There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing filling the 4 bedrooms but eventually a definitive Bruges line up was arrived at. The party consisted of me, Steve Forshaw, Debbie Hatt, plus Steve and Ginny Clarke – Ginny coming along to support and make sure Steve didn’t drink too much beer (Haha!! Failed I’m afraid). Later additions saw our young couple Andrew and Abigail join the throng as half marathon speed merchants. Spencer Hoult also booked, and sorted a swanky hotel room and Pete Gough decided to bring the entire Gough clan so they colonised a whole house on the edge of town.

We travelled on the Friday to make a good weekend of things. Our apartment was pretty palatial with an open plan living room big enough to party the night away. (We didn’t of course as we’re all toned dedicated athletes) So if anyone is contemplating following in our footsteps next year I can highly recommend this place.

Bruges is a delightful medieval town, and I’d love to report that we painted the town red, but – being the dedicated athletes that we are, sadly the town remained unpainted on the Friday and Saturday night.

We collected our numbers on the Saturday afternoon from the large clock tower in the centre of town, filled up with Pasta on the Saturday night – and went to bed at a ridiculously early hour. Race day was as calm and clear as the previous two days had been so we were able to dispense with the usual bag drop and head for the start in full race mode. The marathon had only 1800 or so entrants, so the start was nothing like the mayhem of much larger events. We met up with Pete Gough, who was ably assisted by Sharon, and before you could say boo to a goose (which were plentiful in the canal opposite) we were off and soon out into the Belgium countryside. Sadly Spencer had been ill all week and was considering dropping out. Debbie managed to persuade him to give it a shot at the start (who could refuse!!) so he came along, but clearly the effects of little sleep and a lot of coughing took its toll and he had to call it a day at 16 miles. Pete Gough was determined to get a pb so he hared off at the start, while the rest of us ambled off in our normal marathon pace.

The next few hours went by in the usual blur of confidence, overconfidence, followed by some fatigue and a fair bit of pain. We all made it back to the market square to a pretty packed finishing straight. Our intrepid half marathon couple, despite starting an hour behind, had long since finished their race, gone back and changed and come back to the square to lend some support. 

After a slow afternoon recovering we toasted the day, and then went out on the beer. Sunday afternoon drifted into Sunday night in the square, sampling many of the local brews on offer, before fatigue kicked in and we retired to bed.

Monday was the usual travelling back experience, we’ve all been there so I’ll say no more about that.

The results for TRAC were as follows:-

Marathon

1: Pete Gough - 288th – 3.23.39 – 73rd in category

2: Steve Forshaw - 872nd – 3.52.56 – 123rd in category

3: Pete Heath - 1221st – 4.09.02 – 26th in category

4: Debbie Hatt - 1431st – 4.22.21 – 37th in category

5: Steve Clarke - 1550th – 4.30.32 – 72nd in category

Spencer Hoult DNF

Half-Marathon

1: Andrew Richardson - 207th – 1.34.32 – 86th in category

2: Abigail Cardwell – 371st – 1.39.39 – 11th in category

 

 

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