Hereford half marathon on Sunday 12th May proved to be an excellent race, with a new base at the livestock market on Roman Road and with a somewhat different route. It is reputed to be one of the most difficult in the country because of the hills and the new route variations added to the climbing. Roads were closed, apart from one section of about 2 km near Credenhill and motorcycle marshals & first aid cars patrolled vigilantly.
It started at 10.10 AM in bright sunny weather, with the promise of the morning
heating up. Fortunately, a gentle breeze helped keep the temperatures in order,
aided by 3 water stations. Mark made his intentions clear from the start, being in the top 5 from the start, finishing 5th in 1:17:23. Not far behind was Gareth in 7th place in 1:21:06. Gemma was 24th overall in 1:31:22 and 1st female, 9 whole minutes ahead of her nearest rival! Will was 25th in 1:31:28, securing the team prize for Croft, along with Mark and Gareth. There was no separate team prize for females.
Jasper and I were close to each other throughout the race. He left me 200m behind on the first hill and that remained fairly constant until about mile 8, when I started to gradually close the gap. From 10 miles we ran together. About 1k from the end, I asked him if he wanted us to cross the line together or go for a sprint finish. “Sprint, of course”, he replied, “we’re in a race!” I knew I could beat him over the last 50m, but also knew he could wind it up and leave me floundering too far behind, so I decided to push over the last 500m. I finished 32 seconds in front of him, 66 th in a PB of 1.42.20, winning my age category. Jasper was 69 th with a massive PB of 1:42:52, 50 seconds in front of his second cousin Ieuan who was 74th in 1:43:42.
Other Croft Ambrey runners (In a field of 383 finishers) were:
Ian PRICE 109 th in 1:47:31 and 1 st V70
Roland PREECE 136 th in 1:51:35.
Lucy WILDING 174 th in 1:55:02.6
Roxy WOODFIELD 176 th in 1:55:04.1
Rob WOOD 231 st in 2:00:45.9
Flora GUNNER 292nd in 2:10:46. 3 rd in age group
Some of our runners had “interesting” preparation for the race. Gareth decided to
cycle from Knighton (and presumably back home after the race), while Flora had run an 8 mile fell race the previous day. For Roxy, this was a recovery race, just one week after finishing 6th in her age group in the long-distance triathlon World
Championships. She also kept the first-aiders busy, tripping twice over potholes and ended up with both knees bloody and dirt all over her shirt. Jasper finished with blood seeping through his shoe from a bleeding toe.
I thought the new venue was excellent in many ways. Parking was easier, the
facilities were better and more accessible (apart from the ubiquitous loo queues, for both genders). However, it seemed more cramped for spectators and also in the presentation area. As usual, Paddy Nugent did a superb job on the microphone , ably aided by Nicky Goodwin after she had finished her race.
An aside: at about mile 3, I inadvertently changed my Garmin display from km to
heart rate. I don’t quite know how, probably at the first water station and I certainly didn’t know how to change it back in the middle of a race! So apart from km splits, my race monitoring was on heart rate. It was pretty constant, varying between 150 and 156 throughout, apart from the finish where it went up to 171. Interesting? I don’t know, but it might be useful benchmark for training.
Full results available here
Ashley, Jasper and Ieuan