While Adrian was trying (and failing) at a sub 20 attempt, I found myself running in the extremely difficult, but picturesque Ashton Court parkrun. 2.5km uphill, turn around, 2.5km downhill. One of the good points of a simplistic course like that, is that it makes for interesting split times: a glance of the stopwatch at halfway revealed I’d taken 13.20 to get to the top of the hill. My finishing time? 23.16.
So with that knowledge, it should be immediately clear to the reader that I had abandoned much hope of winning this bet long ago. Bar some long term injury, or horrific mid-race attack involving a dangerous escapee from London Zoo, both my competitors were too far ahead for me to ever mount a competitive challenge. I could point to my prolonged absence from exercise as an excuse, and there is some truth in that (in the parkrun directly before my operation I was only 20 seconds behind Adrian), but that only tells a small part of the story. In truth, Adrian’s dedication had been his biggest asset; probably putting in more effort than Tommy and I put together. He deserved to win the pot for that alone.
In addition, he’d conducted himself with good grace (with the exception of his shenanigans at Peckham). I’ll admit to being disappointed when I saw he had missed the mark by just 10 seconds.
So it was with some excitement that I joined him on the start line of Fulham Palace parkun. Adrian was planning another assault on the sub 20 barrier, and had extended this invite to Tommy and I.
Both of us had accepted, but Tommy admitted to “being nervous that Adrian was going to win the pot all week.” So sure was he that he’d brought along a mini bottle of Prosecco as a surprise to celebrate Adrian’s achievement.
There was a reason he chose that particular venue. That corner of west London is particularly flat, and rumour had it that the course is fast.
The rumours are true.
I kept on Adrian's heels for as long as I could (roughly 1km) but eventually I had to surrender ground and run my own race.
So the second attempt at a sub 20 time was well underway, and Adrian had settled into his pace. Infact that is incorrect: Adrian had settled into a pace he couldn't maintain. I crossed the line to see him lying breathless in the morning sun. "I detonated" he exclaimed, pointing to his time of 20.10.
So that was that...Except it wasn't.
Next to Adrian was an even more breathless Tommy. It turns out that the threat of Adrian winning was enough to spur him on to an outstanding performance, surprising everyone with a stellar time of 19.40.
Tommy hadn't so much broken the 20 minute barrier, but had flamboyantly smashed it into pieces, and rebuilt it in his own form.
|Tommy celebrating in front of some bags...obviously
So after exactly 40 weeks the pot is won, in a most surprising fashion. Or maybe it's not surprising...Tommy was the fastest when we started the bet. Perhaps, after all this we've learnt nothing?
I'm being flippant of course. I can only speak personally, but the past 40 weeks have changed the way I think about my health, from how much exercise I do, to what I eat. I thought I was in reasonable shape before; it turns out I was wrong
Now, the question moves on to 'What next?' All three of us have decided it's easier (and more inspiring), to think of a new challenge rather than cancel the direct debit.
This Friday, we take to the pub to discuss how we can structure our new challenge. All ideas welcome.
The sun doesn't set on #RoadtoSub20, like all amateur athletes, we just move on to the next target.
|The #RoadtoSub20 athletes, with a couple of partners. All except Adrian ran a PB