By the time I reached mile seven I was feeling a bit peckish. Fellow runners had warned me that the Bridlington Half Marathon threw out a sneaky hill at this point and in my head, I was ready for it. Unfortunately my stomach, which had made quick work of the breakfast porridge, wanted a little something else and the half-cup of water I’d just snatched from the drinks station and thrown over myself in the hope that some of it may hit my mouth, just wasn’t enough.
Fortunately the jelly baby stash in my back pocket was there for that emergency sugar-rush. Now no power on earth was going to make me stop running, my legs were moving like a slow motion version of the Road Runner without the ‘beep beep’, the momentum was there and the hill was looming. So in a move worthy of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, though more like Ted Striker’s spoof in Airplane, I reached round to undo the zip.
My legs somehow kept moving as my hand jiggled in my pocket, expecting to find the five jelly babies, one of each colour for maximum flavour potential, my dry mouth producing saliva in eager anticipation and even excitement, would it be a red one? A green one? I’d even be happy with a black one in such an impending emergency.
But all I felt was a sticky mass, part pocket, part zip, part fluff, part jelly baby, part parkrun bar code, washed and reconstituted into a solid white mass. It was the confectionery version of Frankenstein’s monster. Damn. And there was still the hill, and boy did I need something to keep me going. So I did what anyone would have done, scooped the whole lot out, glad that it had that runny gelatinous consistency and sucked it from my sweaty fingers, bar code and all. Sweet, chewy and with that added carbohydrate from the bar code, it was magnificent, I’ve never tasted anything better in my life.
Before I knew it, I was up that hill and on the home run, hearing the cheers of my team mates from Eccleshill Road Runners mugging for the camera Noel was pointing at me and grabbing the medal as I crossed the finish line.
I was so proud, so happy, so thrilled to have completed my first half marathon, I just wouldn’t let go of my medal. Actually, I couldn’t let go, it was stuck to the jelly baby residue on my hands, adding more fluff from the yellow ribbon. What with my depleted blood sugar and near delirium from running further than I’ve ever run in my life, I did what anyone in that position would have done and licked my hands. Fantastic flavours that defy description. I think I’m going to have to patent that recipe.
I’d hoped to do it in 2.20, and was thrilled with the time of 2.15:57. A personal best, now there’s something to beat next time!