And relax... Another memorable Parish has been and gone and with it some amazing performances. There's no point trying to highlight them all - so I'll just mention the ones I know about. From the top... Robbie, being the wrong side of 50 (and grey, as our Dutch visitor pointed out) is an inspiration. Fantastic performance one again. Ray & Michael - pushing themselves to new levels and wonderful times. Eammon is truely Mr Consistent and ever-thoughtful of his fellow walkers (thanks Mrs Eammon). Tom Melvin was lying down with an oxygen mask on by the time I reached the finish - clearly 100% effort. A 90 minute PB saw Jock Waddington storm through the field. Sue B. yet again fastest lady, but Jane Mooney, Jane Kennaugh and Alison Brand all excelled and weren't so far behind. Martin Beismanns had a can of lager in his hand seconds after crossing the line, much the same as Terry Moffat had a smoke - both outstanding walks. Michael Shipsides finished faster than anyone I saw - another top walk. Mark Hempsall - wow - proof that a proper, serious approach reaps rewards. Fantastic. 154 finishers must represent a higher percentage of finishing entrants - well done to everyone who made it round in what were far from ideal conditions.
For my part, my support crew have told me that, unless I do some proper training, they won't support me next time. I don't blame them either. I was OK to Michael, but slowed to Bride. Walked with our Dutch friend to Andreas and then really slowed on the stretch to Lezayre. By Ramsey, I was totally spent - nothing left at all and really shuffling. I apologised to my crew for the long night ahead of them and was prepared for a sore throat from greeting the hoards that would pass me. Then a miracle! On the drop into Port Lewaigue I just got going. From there to Laxey I was storming along and was 20 minutes faster than last year at the Glen Mona. After Laxey, my second wind, which had been gale-force, was dropping to a breeze and soon after Lonan I was becalmed in the energy doldrums. The Liverpool Arms to Onchan was awful - pitch black and really dangerous. The pavement is terrible and the road is very fast. The heaven's opened again in Onchan but even the smell of the finish couldn't raise my game. The Prom was embarassingly slow. The final 300m was the worst - I knew I was going to be sick and suddenly got cold. Top marks to the finish crew - a chair, a coat and a bag to throw up in - what more could you want?
Good bits - no real blisters and I (just) beat last year's time. Bad bits - I won't bore you. An hour in the bath (Cal had to pull the plug out to get me out) was followed by more throwing up. Then seven hours sleep before getting up for a wee and another vomit! Stiff as a board, various abrasions and a bruised foot where I'd tied my laces too tight (noticed at Marown) but couldn't be bothered to loosen them.
My recovery will continue with a four day trip to Barcelona! Our first holiday 'on our own' for 17 years. So, enjoy the presentation, sorry I won't be there to applaud you all. It was a pleasure to have taken part in such a wonderfully-organised, well-supported local event. What sums it up for me is the number of little tables set out on the roadside supplying drinks and food for the walkers. It could only happen here.