Running half marathons and other races
I have enjoyed jogging pretty much my whole adult life, but I never seriously considered competing in any races until I was almost 50.
In September 2011, on the advice of a friend, I entered the Tonbridge Half Marathon. I surprised myself and did quite well. I entered another half marathon, and then another and then it got addictive. In May 2012 I completed my first marathon in Vancouver, Canada.
Since then I have competed in an average of 6 races a year. I am not particularly fast, but I really enjoy the atmosphere of running a race.
In no particular order, here are 13 of my favourite races….
1. Tonbridge Half Marathon – 25th September 2011
My first ever race. I surprised myself and finished in less than 2 hours.
2. Blackpool Marathon – 7th April 2013
A nostalgic run in the place of my birth. A lovely sunny spring day for a run up and down the “prom” and the chance to finish in the Blackpool Football stadium.
3. Hemel Hempstead 20 miles – 25th March 2012
The first time I ever ran more than 13 miles. The race was routed partly along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. It was cold and icy in places but there was a free steaming hot coffee and a slice of cake waiting at the end.
4.Vancouver Marathon – 6th May 2012
My first ever 26.2 miles and to date (2017) my fastest one too. It was a wonderful race around a beautiful city although the final few miles around the picturesque sea wall were absolute agony.
5. Bedford Half Marathon – 4th December 2016
A great pre-Christmas race with the marshals dressed up as Santa and reindeer. It was a lovely crisp sunny day but gloves were an absolute necessity.
6. Stratford upon Avon Marathon – 27th April 2014
A nice atmosphere with a great flat course. I got my second best Marathon time here and my fastest ever in the UK.
7. Bisham Half Marathon – 25h October 2015
A beautiful run along the Thames in a rural setting near Henley on Thames. The race was held in aid of the African Water of Life charity (a great cause) and featured a real African band as part of the support music.
8. Chester Marathon – 6th October 2013
A very well organised race that set off from the city’s race course and headed into Wales en route. It is possibly the only marathon to take in two countries in one race.
9. Bexhill Half Marathon – 7th November 2015
Another wonderful charity-focused race, this time for the British Legion. It is nicknamed “the poppy marathon” and the run involves 3 circuits of Bexhill’s promenade. It starts off from the Art Deco – De la Warr pavilion which is also a great place for a post-race lunch.
10. Paddock Wood Half Marathon – 1st April 2012
A sunny day, a very flat course and some fantastic local support resulted in my personal best of 1h:42m.
11. Hackney Half Marathon – 22nd June 2014
It was hot as hell. It was so hot that I drank too much water and vomited just before the finish line. The course was wonderful though and took in a lot of Hackney, Victoria Park and the 2012 Olympic Park. The crowds were the biggest I have experienced for a half and they were very supportive, especially when I was sick!
12. Wimbledon Half Marathon – 15th May 2015
A sunny day and a lovely run around the famous Wimbledon Common spurred on by real live “Wombles”.
13. South Coast Half Marathon – 10th July 2015
A run in almost torrential rain along the seafront at Seaford. I found myself running at the same pace as a postman from Ealing and we chatted for the last 10 miles.
This is the only time I have had a long conversation whilst running. It was fascinating to hear all about his working at the Post Office and it took my mind off the running pain and the wet weather. We crossed the finish line together.
……..and one perhaps to forget – Milton Keynes Marathon 2013.….
(Not my finest hour, but nobody’s fault except my own)