8 club members lined up for this years Windsor Half Marathon on a warm September Sunday afternoon in the beautiful surroundings of Windsor Great Park. There was lots of talk about the hills and how some had described this course as undulating. I for one am in agreement with Matthew Pritchard who wishes that people wouldn’t use this term to describe a race, in his words “Say it how it is, it’s bloody hilly”
6 of the 8 that ran, Matthew Pritchard, Grant Davison, Zoe Wingfield, Derrick Wilkie, Peter Grecian and myself all slotted ourselves into the 2 hour starting position, the anticipation waiting for the start of the race lookng along the Long Walk was quite evident with the all the noise going on around us, it came with a big fanfare and off we didn’t go, with the amount of runners running this event (4063 finishers) it took around 3 1/2 minutes just to cross the start line, quite evident in the difference between the gun and chip timimgs. However running along Long Walk steadily heading uphill into the first loop it was nice to be cheered by the huge crowd supporting the race. Setting off on a nice slow pace due to the crowds, it was rather difficult in the first mile or so to get around those in front which kept us to a steady first mile, with the exception of Peter Grecan who went bounding off through the crowd and disappeared in no time at all.
By the end of the first mile we had all settled into our paces and so started the game of pass and be passed. The heat of the afternoon was causing some problems, I myself totally buggered up my hydration with the expectation of a drinks station between 3 and 4 miles which didn’t appear, quite where I got the idea there would be one I don’t know but suffice to say by 5 miles I was struggling and the lead I had taken over Matthew, Grant and Zoe soon went out the window as all 3 of them sailed by. Then enter Krystal and the Parker brothers who could be heard I’m sure on the other side of Windsor as they appeared at the side of the course cheering us all on with what can only be described as the kind of cheer you would hear at Selhurst Park when Palace finally score a goal after a long time waiting. Seriously though it was just what was needed and something that spurred us all on and was very welcome, thanks guys. Their cheers definitely woke me up and soon I was back past Zoe and then very sneakily crept past Grant at around 7 miles much to his disgust as he hadn’t realised I’d passed him before it was too late, Matthew however had pushed on and looked once again to be running very strong, the Sunday morning marathon training runs obviously paying dividends, I’m sure Amsterdam will be a breeze come October.
At 8 miles having come down a long downhill stretch we were greeted by a beast of an uphill section which although only around half a mile long see a lot of runners having to walk, but all the hill training really paid off and once up, the worst was over and from around 10 miles it was mostly downhill with the last mile and half to the finish seeming to appear quite quickly. I have to say this race has one of the best finishes I think I have ever run in any race I have taken part in. The downhill straight with the crowds cheering you on really gives you a boost and although tired even I managed to run my quickest mile along this stretch by around 45 seconds. The only problem is that you can see the finish gantry but it feels like it never gets any closer until you suddenly cross the finish line. Once again Kevin, Neil and Krystal were on hand to give us the encouragement we needed to push onto the finish and then it was time for a well earned beer and ice cream. Added to the 6 already mentioned club members Richard Llewelyn and Jakub Mysona were also amongst the huge crowds of runners, and all 8 club members crossed the finish line.
All in all it was a very nice event and the marshalls and St Johns Ambulance were kept fairly busy with many runners falling by the wayside due to the heat, but definitley a race I will be looking to do again as the scenery itself makes it an extremely enjoyable course.
Results as follows: (apologies if have missed anyone)
|Position||Name||Gun Time||Chip Time|