As well as being Fathers Day, June 18th was also the date of Guernsey’s only half marathon of the year, the Dairy Milk run half marathon. Not to be confused with the Cadbury’s chocolate bar, there is a comma in the middle making it the Guernsey Dairy, milk run half marathon, as in sponsored by the dairy! Or something like that. Anyway, there was no chocolate involved but there was milk…
I have friends who live in Guernsey and I try to visit them once or twice a year. I’ve been saying for a few years that I should combine it with the half marathon, so this year, since they were staying at home and not visiting family for Father’s Day I got myself organised, booked a flight and entered the race! It’s one of the cheapest I’ve done at just £17. The first 500 entrants also got a free technical t-shirt included but as I waited until my weekend was confirmed and flights booked before entering, I just missed out with number 510.
After a busy sunny day with my friends on the Saturday, the race promised to be a hot one on the Sunday. The start was at 9am so I got dropped off around 8:30am. This was a low key, relaxed and friendly race. No chip timing and a very relaxed bag drop (“I forgot to write my number on my bag” “It won’t matter, just help yourself to it at the end”).
The start line was about 100m up the road from the meeting point so once the road was closed we all walked there together. There were about 650 runners which I believe was one of the highest entries. Despite the lack of chip timing there was no jostling for a place in the pack at the start. The gun went and we all set off. The race started on the west coast, ran around the north coast and finished on the east side in St Peter Port. We followed the coast line all the way but were on the road not the coastal paths, so on occasions we were a little bit inland.
Being on holiday and with it being over 20 degrees C at the start of the race, I opted for the tourist approach, forgot about times and I planned to stop to take photos. However, I have run stretches of the route before on previous visits so didn’t stop for photos there as I already have lots. Further round, due to the position of the sun there was a long stretch where it wasn’t worth taking pictures with my phone, so I didn’t stop as much as I thought I might. I did however stop to get someone to take a picture of me at around mile seven, and again to message my friend as I realised I had forgotten to pack my sandals in my bag for afterwards!
At 1.3 miles the route took us right past my friends house and it was lovely to get a wave and a shout out from them. The organisers had claimed the route was flat, however, knowing the area, I had wondered if it actually was flat or if it was Guernsey’s version of ‘flat in comparison to everything else’. It turned out I was right to question the route description as there were a few hilly bits to contend with.
The sun continued to blaze down and I’m sure the temperature was a few degrees above my phone’s prediction of 23 degrees C. I saw one runner almost at the point of collapse. He was being assisted by two runners who had sacrificed their own race times to help him and they seemed to have things under control, so I gave them the half full water bottle I was carrying and ran on, alerting the next marshal that I saw to their predicament. By mile ten I’d had enough really. The temperature was uncomfortably hot and there was no shade to get out of the sun. I was sweating a lot more than usual and my sunscreen was running into my eyes and making them sting! However, I pushed on along the long straight stretch to the finish. My friends had come out to see the end of the race so I stopped briefly to ‘high five’ their two year old twins, who clearly had no idea what a high five was all about.
400m after that I crossed the finish line in 1:57:10. We were given medals, water and a pint of Guernsey milk from the dairy. I’m not normally a fan of full cream milk and I rarely drink milk on it’s own, but I have to say that at that moment I had never tasted anything nicer. It was perfect. I went and retrieved my bag from the baggage van (climbing in took some effort but it was cool inside the van, I was tempted to just stay there for a bit!) and met up with my friends. After a stretch and a not-so-quick change of clothes, we went into town in search of ice cream. All in all, it was a lovely event which I would love to do again in the future.