Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Day of (Bad) Judgment

I think it's fair to say the weekend did not go to plan. After four hours and nearly 20 miles into the race I was advised to turn back as I was going too slowly to finish inside the cut-off time of five-and-a-half hours. So the dream of crossing that finish line with Diane evaporated.
It was a shame. There were thousands of us who were prevented from finishing by a cut-off time so harsh it seemed to suggest the organisers cared only about the elite runners and were embarrassed by the slow ones.
The people of Rotterdam were not so discriminatory. My race was one of the most magical experiences I have had. The people lining the route loved the way runners like me who were defying the odds rose up to the challenge as best they could.
While the organisers were having their precious pictures taken with the winners, people like me were still out there, responding to the fantastic crowds, joining in the fun with the bands along the route and high-fiving scores of joyful kids and their mums and dads along the route who were still cheering me on at 20 miles just before I was told to stop. The people of Rotterdam loved the fact that us tryers had come to their city to give it a go and do our best.
It is a pity some of their incredible generosity didn't rub off on the organisers.
Yes, I am slow and yes, the unusual heat that morning made me a bit slower still. But I had just over 10k to go and was feeling very capable of finishing - to be stopped at that point was devastating.
When I got back to the hotel, people were still being allowed to finish in London and they started half an hour before us in Rotterdam. So there is a message there.
It is lucky the people of this great city made it a weekend I will never forget.
And next year, I will be back. And I am determined the organisers won't get the satisfaction of thwarting me again.

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