Friday, January 20, 2012

Crossbay Half Marathon 2011

Yes, this is a half marathon, across a tidal estuary, when the tide is out.

Morcambe Bay is famously one of the largest tidal estuaries in the UK.  There is a royally appointed guide that takes people on walks over the sands due to the dangers of the moving quicksand, changing course of the river Kent and the speed of the tide.  People still get stuck or stranded on the sands and occasionally, lives are lost.  The most well known loss of lives was in 2004 when 23 people, working as Cockle Pickers, were drowned as they were caught out by the incoming tide.

Historically, this was an important route, cutting out many miles of the alternative journeys around the bay on land.  It was originally used by the monks of Furness Abbey.  These days, it is a tourist attraction and the journey across the sands is something many people accomplish each year.

Cancer Care UK put on a half-marathon across the bay and in 2011, my wife and I took part:

Warming up.

Hanging about at the start.
Bay Search and Rescue, not your average Lag Wagon.

Crossing the River Kent.  No matter how hard you try, and how much you ignore that everyone else is walking, you cannot run through a river once it gets past your knees.

It was a gorgeous hot day, but in the open bay, the wind made a real difference.

ok, time to start running again.

Second river crossing.  Look at the line of people behind.

My wife, waving (obviously)

I may have posed slightly for this photo

near the end.  Although it was really flat, the mixture of terrain was challenging.  Sand saps your energy, hard sand has ripples which hurt your ankles and then there's the river crossings...

Route map from Garmin Connect.  Obviously Bing made their maps when the tide was in.

Splits: I was very happy with my times.  Note that the course was about a half a mile short.  I guess this is inevitable when nature dictates the course, better than a half-mile long.  I would guess that the first river was at mile 6.

91st place out of 559 finishers.  Official time 1.42.15

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