I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but it rained pretty much continuously yesterday, and was cold to boot. As a result, at least 500 people who were expected, didn’t bother with the Wokingham half, but not a 26.2 runner was amongst them, with all 8 turning out and in a day to grit it out, all finishing within 30 minutes of each other.
It really was filthy weather, with the only redeeming feature to my mind the fact that turning up for a race saved me from a day of looking out and thinking “in a minute it’ll be better, I’ll have a run then”. Wokingham is billed as being flat, with just two motorway bridges to provide an incline, but it felt tougher than that. The first few miles seemed to have a few bumps upward, and yet on the way in there was nary a down to be seen, just slight rises stretching off into the distance. It must have been a mirage, but not a good one.
The start is narrow. Very narrow, which meant that the carefully prepared “sub 1:15, 1:20, 1:25” etc signs soon became the only ones people could actually get to – unable to pass the bulk of runners queueing for the start. Announcements of a car on the course and potentially delayed start had also lulled us into a false sense of relaxation, with the rain fairly gentle at that point, so I was standing by the 1:25 sign with Mark and Mark, chatting to some other bloke and facing the wrong way when the start was announced. Turning onto the path I started my watch and broke into…a walk. Didn’t stop my watch, though, which meant I thought and felt like I was struggling but couldn’t really work out how much time to take off, so the watch time was also discouraging, if falsely so. Up ahead, Luke was also not quite hitting the pace he wanted, but was closer than I’d managed, within 30 seconds of his pb and must have passed Jack at some point. Tucked in behind were the two Marks, who had started together and finished within 15 seconds of each other. Libby, meanwhile, was having a stormer. Two of the Belgrave ladies had missed their cross country in order to chase times here but not Libby, who completed both and picked up a HM pb for good measure. Julie Chasin, throwing in a half marathon on a whim, finished ahead of Sarah Pettefer, but the latter had waited even longer to cross the start line – nearly 7 minutes! – and dipped under 1:50 in a very strong run.
I saw Luke at the end but by then was soaked through and cold, so apologies for not staying to cheer anyone else on. Instead I did a lap of Wokingham trying to find the right car park, which was sort of funny and sort of a complete pain. Good gritty running on a shocking day everyone.
Chip time Gun time Name Cat No AG
129 01:21:57 01:22:14 Luke McDonagh Senior Men 20 72.53
146 01:22:59 01:23:07 Jack Holland Senior Men 12 71.77
184 01:24:04 01:25:06 John Matthews Vet Men 40-44 149 71.87
255 01:27:08 01:28:15 Mark Weight Vet Men 40-44 717 71.34
259 01:27:21 01:28:29 Mark La Frenais Senior Men 2146 67.41
688 01:38:08 01:41:14 Elizabeth Marchant Senior Ladies 3832 65
1223 01:50:30 01:55:31 Julie Chasin Senior Ladies 3012 56.96
1262 01:49:55 01:56:34 Sarah Pettefer Vet Ladies 40-49 3932 62.01