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Tell Your Own Story

Memories of the Vancouver Marathon by Jenny Crossley

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Article by Jenny Crossley ©.
Posted in the Magazine (Tell Your Own Story: , ).
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The Vancouver marathon is described as one of the most scenic marathons in the World. I reckoned that if I was going to slog through 26 miles and 385 yards it should be through spectacular scenery. So I signed up for the marathon described as “so beautiful you’ll wish it was longer.”
I trained hard for months in advance, running several ten miles runs in the weeks leading up to the marathon. I reckoned adrenaline and the buzz of the crowds would see me through to the finish line.

I went along to the flag raising ceremony, ( I had posted a full size Irish flag to the race organisers). I burst with pride seeing the Irish flag raised. I listened patiently to the band playing an eclectic variety of national anthems, anticipating that the next one would be Amhrán na bhFiann but it was not to be. Perhaps there were too few Irish runners participating in the race, or the band found it too difficult to play.

Race day dawned clear and bright. Perfect running conditions. The atmosphere at the starting line was electric. The horn blew and we were off! I jogged along at an even pace. After ten kilometres we ran into Stanley Park. It was a beautiful park to run through and for the next fourteen kilometres, a good distraction from my aching limbs. After that I enjoyed sea views for the rest of the race. It really was a stunning landscape but I didn’t wish the marathon was longer!

At forty one kilometres, I hit the wall. I didn’t care about my finishing time any more. I took a break from jogging and started to walk. I was reprimanded by one of the spectators. “Come on,” a middle aged man shouted to me. “You’re nearly there!”

My thoughts were blue. “You try running 42 kilometres and see how you feel” I wanted to yell at him. But his words got me going again. I started jogging again and boy was I glad I did. The clock at the finishing line loomed in front of me. I put a spurt on and finished in 3 hours 59 minutes and 21 seconds. I had broken the four hour mark.

Stanley Park was so stunning that I wanted to see more of it. The next day I went along to a bicycle rental shop in the park. I slung my handbag into the basket in front of the bicycle and set off. I descended the hill too fast and pulled the brakes. Big mistake. I fell over the handlebars of the bike and onto the pavement. My cycle was over before it had begun. I picked myself up off the ground and checked for injuries. No bones broken, but there was a large gash on my chin. I brought the bicycle back to the shop. The owner took one look at me and said, “You’re going to need stitches for that!”

He kindly drove me to a local clinic and deposited me at the door. Once inside it was all about money. I had to pay $200 up front. Luckily I had my credit card with me. I wondered what would have happened if I couldn’t pay. I guess I would have been turned away.

I was ushered into a consulting room. The doctor barely said “hello”. He opened the door and shouted out “Can someone do stitches?” There were no replies from the other consulting rooms.
It was left to him to “do stitches.” He was decidedly annoyed. He flung the equipment trolley across the room. The tears came to my eyes. Now I had an angry doctor stitching me up. Would he do a good job or make a mess of it?

The doctor started work on my chin. He saw the tears in my eyes and his manner became less aggressive. The procedure wasn’t painful and didn’t take long. I thanked the doctor and went on my way.

I was in an unknown part of the city. I consulted my map and made my way to the city centre. I needed a reviving cup of coffee. Afterwards, I visited the rest rooms. I got a shock when I looked in the mirror. There were bright blue whiskers about one inch long protruding from my chin. That darned doctor had stitched me up using a thread that was thick and bright blue. I would have to resign myself to strange looks until the stitches were taken out in a couple of weeks.

I have unfinished business with the wonderful city of Vancouver. I don’t want to run the marathon again but I do want to cycle around Stanley Park without falling off the bike!

(c) Jenny Crossley

Retired civil servant Jenny Crossley revels in her new role as children’s author. She has written a number of children’s books under the pen name Connie Jessop. You can check them out at www.conniejessop.com. As writing is not a full time job for her, she also volunteers with a Dublin charity. A former marathon runner, she now contents herself with walks near the foothills of the Dublin mountains. Her favourite way to relax is to play bluegrass music on her five-string banjo.

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Retired civil servant Jenny Crossley revels in her new role as children’s author. She has written a number of children’s books under the pen name Connie Jessop. You can check them out at www.conniejessop.com. As writing is not a full time job for her, she also volunteers with a Dublin charity. A former marathon runner, she now contents herself with walks near the foothills of the Dublin mountains. Her favourite way to relax is to play bluegrass music on her five-string banjo.