Preston Guilds have been happening once every 20 years for over 800 years - hence the saying for something that happens rarely: "Once in a Preston Guild". Well - it's a saying in Preston at any rate.
So with 2012 seeing a marathon to celebrate the Guild I thought I'd better enter - I'll be getting on a bit next time round. Everything around the race was rather over-organised: you had to pick up your number the day before and see the great Expo; race instrtuctions were pages long including at least two reminders to go to the loo before the race; you had to produce photo ID to get your number etc etc- the dead hand of local authority bureaucracy!
And all a bit of a nuisance as living only 1 1/2 hours away I'd like to have travelled on race morning as most of us do to most races. And the great Expo? All cleared away by 5.30 - nothing to see at all. And I'm informed by those that did see it that it was far from scintillating.
All of which meant I spent the evening of my wedding anniversary sharing a room at the Premier Inn with Jim Meta. All very Morecambe & Wise!
Race day dawned cold, wet and windy. The benefit of local authority organisation was that the race itself was also very organised and superb as a result. Most roads shut completely, excellent marshalling across so much of the course, great drink stations with options including gels, good finish, nice medal and excellent goody bag. The course itself was undulating in parts but nothing of any consequence - the main difficulties being caused by wind, rain, and hail for one bit.
I ran consistently throughout to clock a 4:01 which is an excellent time for me - and most importantly I was still okay at the end and fine after finishing without ever having over-pushed myself.
When 2032 comes round - ditch the compulsory Expo but keep the race the same! You can't control the weather but every other aspect of race day was excellent, including some astonishing support given the conditions. The support driven I suspect by many sons and daughters of Preston giving their home run a go. Well done indeed!
Alas no film - when it's raining I can't spend the time cleaning the lens and it soon gets too wet. I'm hoping for some clement weather on Friday, Saturday or Sunday along the Pembroke Coast.