You can imagine how the conversation went when my husband aka ‘The POD Father’ said he’d signed up for a half marathon. It was a few months back now but I remember wondering why he’d decided to run 13.1 miles when it had never taken his fancy before. Aside from which, the friends running in the half marathon with him did them all the time – one completed the London Marathon two years ago in under 3 hours!
The six months in the lead up to the Bacchus marathon and half marathon sped past. Held at Denbies Wine Estate, England’s largest vineyard, there are magnificent views along the route and six wine tasting sessions. Although it wasn’t going to stay, it was sunny when we arrived and there was a great atmosphere. Six year old POD enjoyed watching people in fancy dress and it certainly added to the entertainment factor.
The team had to queue up for their running number although it didn’t take too long to get inside. As well as that, each person was given t-shirts along with a wine and hog roast voucher for afterwards. We’d not had the pre-race BBQ but there were plenty of food options available. It was decided the two friends who run regularly would go on ahead with POD Father and another friend doing the half marathon at a slower pace.
Just before the start of their wave however, we lost one of the team. Having waited a few minutes after their race had started, the remaining three got going. Unbeknown to us the team member missing in action had already started her half marathon thinking they’d gone without her. With the two quicker friends heading off together, the POD Father was left to run his first half marathon on his own. There would of course be people to talk to along the way plus there were those wine stops to keep him going too. We thought his race could go one of two ways – either he’d make it round and be absolutely fine (which would be amazing given his lack of training) or he’d injure himself. We really hoped it wasn’t the latter as I had his and the rest of the teams mobile phones so they didn’t have to run with them.
As well as the phones, I also had the teams t-shirts, fleeces and coats (plus mine and POD’s bags) so once they’d set off the small one and I headed back to the car to offload. The view of the vineyards from the field we parked in was quite magnificent. Although we live in Surrey, we’ve not been to Denbies Wine Estate before and it’s pretty special. Situated in Dorking, it is one of the largest wine producers in the UK and has been family owned since 1984. Denbies offers visitors an insight into wine production and there’s a seven mile footpath to wander around too. We’ll definitely be back to explore it more thoroughly and have a look at the wines on offer. POD has never been in a vineyard before so it was a treat for her being able to look at the vines before we headed to the Conservatory Restaurant for an early lunch.
An hour and a half after the team had started, we headed up towards the farm shop to watch the runners heading to the finish line. We knew the two fastest friends would come through around the two hour mark and we didn’t want to miss them. POD loved seeing those dressed up coming round and totally got into the spirit by cheering everyone along. She was also convinced her Daddy was going to win the race despite seeing numerous people pass by!
Sure enough we saw the two fastest come round the corner together and went down to see them. Not long afterwards we were joined by the third friend who had also finished. All of them had done really well and we all wondered how long it would take the POD Father to get round. I was worried he’d appear in the lead up to the finish line and no-one would be there so after a half an hour downpour we headed over. Just as we did so, we saw him running towards us so it’s just as well we’d moved when we did! Quite incredibly, he’d run his first ever half marathon in 2 hours and 24 minutes. POD was so proud of her Daddy, she raced over to where he collected his medal to give him a big well done hug. Who knew he’d finish in such a good time and what’s more he rather enjoyed it – aside from a steep hill that he said the majority walked. Whether he’d run this or another half marathon again will remain to be seen but he did ridiculously well.
After everyone had caught their breath, warmed down and got some extra layers back on, we had an excellent hog roast. A couple of friends and their kids arrived too which was great for POD. I suspect if the sun was shining those of us that were local could have stayed longer as there was a great atmosphere. The majority had a lengthy drive home and everyone had work on Monday. What a great day though and oh my goodness my husband did so well. We’re very proud of him.