Thanks for all the wishes before the trip. You see the 'comment' thingy does work after all!
After quite a rough start to our journey, the swell died down half way across the Irish Sea and we were on our way to the race with only a couple of sickbags coming into use.
Having landed in Heysham, Stockton proved very easy to get to and even after a break for lunch in Kirkby Steven, we were there in less than three hours.
The weather had really improved and we wandered around Yarm, a very pleasant village nearby in shirt sleeves, even stopping for a drink outside by the river. Sparkling water and orange juice for Marie Jackson and me while I jealously observed Paul and Irene quaffing their beer.
Marie doesn't change her diet too much but tries to eat well, on this occasion plumping for the fish and I had a nearly vegetarian pasta meal as we had our pre race dinner in a local italian restaurant.
After a fitful sleep, breakfast at nine for me consisted of cornflakes with milk and porridge with muesli and yoghurt. Apparently, porridge is a slow burning carbo-hydrate and therefore ideal before long distance walks.
The race was at eleven o'clock that morning and the rain was falling quite steadily in the lead up to the race, so we didn't want to get to the venue too early and they had arranged for the signing-on to be done at a local sports club, meaning at least we'd stay dry before the start.
It was held at Ropner Park which was originally donated to the town by a german who had settled locally. It was neglected in the past but has been beautifully restored in recent years and is a fine place to hold a racewalk.
The lap chosen was 1.17k in length which I know would drive some people crazy circulating 42 times but it meant that the feed stations came around quite quickly.
There were a couple of areas where the walking surface was a little rough and the hill that had been mentioned beforehand was a little more testing than we'd thought, it would be but surely no obstacle to seasoned Parish Walkers.