No Turning Back

No Turning Back – Race Day

(Sam Thompson)


3.00 am (the middle of the night) – Can’t sleep!

4.30 am (not quite the middle of the night) – Still can’t sleep!

6.00 am – tired out!

Well not really – Sunday 12th October Race Day just desperate to get going

7.00 am Off the Thompson household are heading towards York. A very foggy day might I say, good for running but not so good for driving although one positive was that there was no traffic on Skipton Road.

7.45 am The journey flew by and before I knew it I was being dropped off in York (not too sure where as there were a lot of closed roads). But it wasn’t difficult to find the race – I just followed the rest heading in the same direction. The last piece of encouragement I received from my mum and dad was something like ‘don’t get too cold whilst we are having a fry up’. (as you can tell I have very supportive parents).

8.00 am. I turned the last corner to head to the start line and in front of me was a Mount Everest sized hill. All that went through my mind was how to get up the hill using not much energy (trust me I needed it). After finally reaching the summit I saw the Startline. But because I was stupidly early (the race didn’t start until 9.30) and it was very cold, I looked for a place to stay warm. The only place that was open was York University Cafe (the race starts and finishes at the University). It was nice to get into the warm but the smell of the bacon, eggs, sausages etc was tempting but like a true pro I stuck with a banana. Time went quickly and fellow runners came to the Cafe to shelter from the cold. Lots of famous faces passed through the cafe (including the Plusnet Guy, the one on the TV advert, Howard Webb Professional Football referee and the Leeds Rhinos Rugby team).

9.20 am Warm up time! You’ve never seen so many adults doing the Cha Cha slide at the same time, trust me it’s very amusing (have a look on Youtube).

9.30 am I hear a faint noise in the distance and a massive cheer, so this is it, a year’s training boils down to the next 26.2 miles (yes don’t forget the point 2).

9.32 am Two minutes into the race and I’ve crossed the startline (yeah you’ve guessed it I start plodding the pavements again). I go past mile one and feel very good.

9.50 am. I pass mum and dad stewarding at the roundabout, (couldn’t miss them with pink high visibility jackets – definitely suits my dad (not)).

As I get further and further into the race my legs are holding out really well, a good sign. The support was amazing from a running point of view everyone cheering and clapping.

Lost track of time by now!! At about mile 4 the race goes out in to the countryside. I was really looking forward to this bit, but the weather was so foggy you couldn’t see a thing but it did help you to stay coolish. So I ploughed on mile after mile until I passed a clock that said 1hour 57 minutes. The only thing that went through my mind at this point was wow that went quick, lets hope I can keep this up (I spoke too early).

From the halfway point to mile 21 was in the countryside. Because of this, there were a lot less people cheering and supporting, (a big thing that keeps you going) and it started to get a bit harder as a result. What was even worse was that as you run one way passing the 15 mile sign, on the other side runners are heading back at the 21 mile sign. At this point it really did strike home that there was still over 11 miles to go.

It seemed ages until I got to the 21 mile sign but once past it, started a down hill section (much to my relief). However my relief did not last long as I hit the dreaded wall (in plain English I had run out of energy and felt horrific). But I was determined to carry on.

Finally we entered York where streets became increasingly lined with cheering supporters again that gave you a massive boost just at the right time although it would be fair to say the miles were passing considerably slower than when I left York at the beginning.

The crowds were really big now and I heard people shouting only a mile to go and the sign came nearer saying so. The runners in front of me turned the corner to the finish and I eventually got to the corner, but in front of me was the Mount Everest sized hill again (however this time I was not trying to preserve energy I was just trying to find some to get me up it). The thing that got me up the hill was knowing that my mum and dad were somewhere up there waiting for me at the finish (bit soft but true). The support was once again amazing. As I was just getting closer to the finish I heard a shout “GO SAM” from my mum and dad, closely followed from my dad ‘smile you’ve nearly finished’. Can’t remember what I said back – too shot!

I did it ! I finished (4 hours 53 minutes)

Having crossed the line I was told to walk another 800m to the runners’ area. (safe to say that was the hardest bit of the race) but I got to the Yorkshire Cancer Research Tent with my medal and tee shirt.

The next day! I’d love to say that I was in a fit state, but to tell the truth I was suffering (and for one or two days after that too). But all worthwhile.

Thank you to everyone who supported me in preparing, running and donating towards Yorkshire Cancer Research Charity. Currently I have raised over £600 and hope that it will be a bit more.