I finished the 2014 Parish Walk and it went pretty much exactly to plan.
After the start I was soon walking in around 15th place with Dave Walker (2nd place) and Alex Eaton (1st place to Peel u21) and we were soon out of Glen Vine and heading to Marown.
By Marown Alex had headed off to the front of the race and Dale Farquhar drifted back to join Dave and I. We stayed together until nearly Malew when Dave decided to pick it up. Dale and I caught Tufty Nash and the three of us went through Arbory, Rushen and up the the Round Table together. At Rushen we were in around 13th place. On the way up the Sloc we passed Janette Morgan, Chris Cale, Brian Kelly and the South African Sinethemba Bono.
I used the downhill section and pushed on to Patrick. At Patrick I could see Robbie Callister and Dave Walker up ahead but didn't see them again until well after Peel.
I arrived in Peel in 6th place in 5:58:53. My pace had been constant since the access road and I was two minutes down on my schedule which was 5:56.
Climbing out of Peel I caught Robbie and we walked for a while and chatted. He passed on some great advice/wisdom and I pushed on again through Kirk Michael and Ballaugh. At Ballaugh I was up to 5th place and was only one min behind schedule of 7:44 (7:43). I saw Dave Walker had caught Phil Marshall, they walker together and actually went away from me even though I had been steadily closing on Dave.
Just before Bride I caught Phil and moved into 4th spot. At Andreas I saw Dave Walker and much to my surprise, just behind him was Dave Mapp - 2nd and 3rd places.
I caught Dave Mapp just after St Judes, he pushed on and stayed with me for a few miles and we chatted, having never met before. I pushed onto Lezayre still feeling very strong, in 3rd place. I was absolutely bang on schedule 11:32.
I arrived in Maughold and was told I was 8 mins behind Dave. I was 30 seconds up on my schedule and had a good feed going up Ballajora. I recommend this strategy, gives you something to look forward to rather than fear. Makes it very slow but you hit Hibernia with a full tank. I also changed my top for long sleeves.
At Glen Mona I put a red light on my back for safety. Dropping into Laxey I pushed on quite hard still full of energy from the feast of Ballajora. At the Tram crossing I put on a head torch and it started getting dark. There was a real party going on at Lonan. I arrived there still in 3rd place but 4 mins behind schedule. I was surprised by that, but still really happy to be going well and feeling good.
Dropping back into Laxey it is very steep and for the first time all day I allowed myself to acknowledge that my legs actually felt quite sore. this happened again at the Whitebridge and Onchan Church and Port Jack.
Going along the prom was quite surreal. I was still well fed and able to really push along. Suddenly the lights, hum of the generator and sound of applause all appeared in my vision and it was all over.
3rd place, 16:03 still 4 mins behind schedule - beaming faces from my support team, Richard G and Dave W and all my friends in the crowd. What an unbelievable feeling. It didn't seem real. I was struggling to get my head round it.
Things that went right:
Support. Number one, my support were nothing short of phenomenal. For me the Parish Walk is about two things - Pacing and Nutrition. I did my part by keeping the pace to schedule. Michelle Turner did her part by feeding and watering me and getting the nutritional balance perfect. Mike Turner kept me cool all day sponging me with ice water every half mile - riding his bike at least 60 miles to do so. Bryan Moyer was the domestique and ran back and forth with supplies all afternoon. Encouragement, energy and positivity all day long. Relentless people.
My support was what made my walk possible. No doubt at all. Tireless and technically perfect.
The Team - Mike Turner, Michelle Turner and Bryan Moyer
The crowds. The crowds are nothing short of amazing. From the very start the support from everyone all round the course was genuine, heartfelt and incredibly enthusiastic. Every step of the way they share their energy and boost you along. I still can't believe it. How do they all know your name?
Things that went wrong:
Only one thing really. I decided Janice Quirk's 15:59 2009 walk was the best walk I have seen from a pacing perspective. I wanted to see if I could match it. I tried to follow her splits church by church.
I achieved that apart from Maughold to Lonan. Janice's "ghost" effectively took 4 minutes out of me on that section. I'm a racewalker and I pushed on hard on the flat and downhill sections. Janice must have gone up Ballajora in 2009 like an absolute train!!
I can hardly classify this as things that went wrong really, but I thought you, the reader might find it interesting. 2015 I will be fitter and stronger and the schedule will be quite different.
So I am heading off to the presentation now. 3rd Place overall. Fastest Fist Time Finisher and team prize. Dale, Richard Kev and I were "Dale with two Dicks and Kev. We won the team event by 9 hours in a total time of just over 71 hours. Who could have predicted that? Still pinching myself.