The 2016 Cardiff World Half Marathon Championships was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and will likely remain that way indefinitely. 22000 amateur athletes lined behind the worlds elite to race the 21.1km to the finish. I was right at the front, watching as the pro's filtered onto the start line. The Kenyans looking to put the great Mo Farah under pressure, something which they did successfully. Most of the race was run in tepid temperatures and grey skies, but in the final 4km of my race the weather took a vicious turn.
Fierce winds hounded the competitors and everyones paced slowed considerably as the rain lashed exposed shoulders and tired legs. I achieved my personal best of 1:15:03, some 16 minutes behind the winner, but missed my 75 minute goal by a cruel 3 seconds. The weather cost me at least 3 seconds but thats racing and I had lost out, better luck next time.
Standing at the finish clutching a finishers bag and sizeable medal I waited for the arrival of my girlfriend. Unbeknownst to me there were several exists and she, having smashed her personal best to achieve 1:37:54 had left the one I was not standing at. The cold began to run deep and a fellow athlete clad in more than just a vest and shorts took me to the first aid tent. My core body temperature had dropped significantly and so I was smothered in blankets and had an industrial heater poked between my feet until the attending physician deemed me suitably fit to leave. I jogged back to the house feeling grateful but confused and was reunited with a concerned girlfriend and her family.
The next day we drove off into the countryside to visit some family friends and took a walk up to the castle ruins that make up the surroundings of this photograph. Though we had both raced so well, the panic that had ensued brought an abrupt end to any feelings of elation. Sometimes, taking time to relax and focus on what is important (people not PBs) can be most important and a walk with family and friends provided just that.