The crowds urge on last year's half-marathon men's winner Chris Estwanik. *File photo.
The crowds urge on last year's half-marathon men's winner Chris Estwanik. *File photo.

It’s simple maths: the pain of running 6.6 miles in training will be — at best — doubled come Friday.

Plus, I’m told, it’s going to be hot, which for a man used to pulling on shorts at a temporary, partial break in England’s cloud cover, is a terrifying thought.

This pre-race meltdown comes down to two things — my own delusional ‘big-time’ prediction and over-heating during a final training run.

Our Run Strong team, led by  fitness instructor Colin Ayliffe — or ‘The Machine’ as I’ve found myself calling him — has now put in all the training miles and all the stretches and contortions to make us stronger, more supple, and ready to take on the Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby.

I think I straighten out an inch taller than before, to be honest. Or maybe that’s simply because I’m puffing my chest out now I can run through Hamilton with enough energy not to treat approaching kerbs like they’re two-feet hurdles? I don’t know. But back to my meltdown. For weeks I’ve been telling ‘The Machine’ I’m aiming for a time sub-two hours. The fact that the last time I bullishly told him this was at a bar reveals the foolishness of such bravado.

The other nagging horror is, as mentioned, the heat. The affable Dr Gina Tucker, president of the organizing committee, described Friday’s forecast as ‘pretty warm’ in a way that suggested water sports not water stations. There’s nine of them, by the way. One for every 1.46 miles. I expect them to be my salvation en route to a well-deserved post-finish line refreshment at Robin Hood.

My last training run, though, had me hiding in the railway trail shade after only seven miles or so. I’m hoping it’s a blip.

If it’s not, it’ll be a depressing pre-cursor to my disintegration into a shrivelled, shivering, shell of a man just before 11am (under two hours still, take note). This may all sound a little pessimistic. I guess it’s just a few pre-race nerves. Speaking to race veterans, who eulogise about how the community comes out to support the participants, I know Friday will be a special day regardless of my physical state.

So at the risk of inciting abuse or flying fruit, I’m #100. Feel free to give me a shout — or a push. I’ll probably need both. 

This is the third and final Run Strong feature leading up to May 24. For more information contact Colin at