Learning to Windsurf, Half Moon Bay 1980
Throughout the cooler winter months, the running club would put on a variety of races, typically of five and ten kilometres, in addition to half and full marathons. Barely three months after I had started running, a ten kilometre run seemed nothing out of the ordinary and was completed with relative ease. I was never particularly fast and although my times were respectable, I knew that I could never beat any of the good runners over shorter distances. Endurance however was another matter and, in my late twenties, I felt as though I could run forever.
Start of 5K Fun Run, Kings Road, Dhahran 1983
I would put this theory to the test when I completed my first half marathon. Aching, but elated, I was persuaded by one of my friends that I should enter the full Dhahran marathon which was to take place in a few weeks time. The twenty six mile course would start from the company’s private beach at Half Moon Bay, up to Dhahran and back again.
And they're off! Kings Road, Dhahran 1983
Setting off in darkness, I completed the outward thirteen mile section in reasonably good order, but the return to the beach was an altogether different proposition. As I passed the twenty mile marker, my legs increasingly felt like lead and my pace already slow, began to get even slower. Just six miles to go I told myself, but it might as well have been sixty miles.
Running along East Perimeter Road, Dhahran 1983
At the twenty two mile marker, my legs stopped functioning completely and I was unable to put one foot in front of the other. I sat down in the road, tears of anger and frustration welling up as the realisation dawned that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Rather than vowing never to do it again, I decided that I would complete a marathon, but that next time I would prepare properly. Never again would I have to sit down in the middle of the road in tears. It’s not a pretty sight to see a grown man cry.
About the Author
Stuart Crocker was born in Yorkshire in 1952. Graduating from university in 1975, he began a career in England, but in 1979, looking for greater adventure, took up an opportunity to work in Saudi Arabia. He spent the remainder of his career within the oil industry and travelled extensively throughout the region. Now retired, his memoir reflects his intimate contact with the many aspects of Arab culture.