Winchester Half Marathon write up by Tom Laessing from Winchester Fit Club
A late decision to enter the Winchester half (3 days before) meant I joined the group including Philippa, Charles, Rachel, Karen and Steve all nervously checking the forecast hoping the monsoon like conditions predicted for Sunday would magically disappear. It was chucking it down as we registered in the Guildhall and then bumped into the friendly faces of Lynn and Mr Fit Club Mike who were helping out with the finish.
As late a possible the WFC team braved the elements and made our way to the start line, pleasantly surprised the rain had eased somewhat. It was a ‘sociable’ start meaning we accidentally placed ourselves next to the 2 hr 25’ pacers, so it took nearly 3 minutes just to get over the start line. Then we were off, out of town and up the first (of a few) hills.
After 1 mile we were greeted to a good old WFC cheer on from coach James & his entourage at the top of James’s Lane. The gentle incline carried on up Romsey Road to top out after about 4km. All that hard work was then rewarded with a lovely flat cruise through Standon into Hursley and the 10km check point, at one point the sun even made a cheeky appearance! So far so good as the WFC team found their natural positions in the field.
With much needed water and jelly babies taken on board it was then time to turn for home. This did mean the wind was now full on in our faces but morale was still high. After a few more gentle miles we were then hit with the hill into Oliver’s Battery. Get over this and it’s all down hill from here – was the call from encouraging local supporters. Whilst not 100% factually correct, the support was certainly gratefully received.
Once summited we wound our way up and down through Badger Farm before flattening out into Five Bridges road and the nice level cruise past St Catherine’s Hill. Mike and Anna were cheering on at mile 12 giving a perfectly timed push for the last mile or so back to the high street and finish. Considering the weather it was brilliant to see so many people lining the final few hundred meters, all hugely encouraging.
Medals received, pictures taken, stories exchanged and bananas scoffed we left feeling happily exhausted. Having never run longer than a 10k event before, I found it a really good fun day. Absolutely yes it was a challenge (perhaps a bit more preparation next time wouldn’t go a miss) but the atmosphere both on and off the course really helps you through.
A massive thank-you to everyone who turned out in support, well done to Charles for an amazing top 50 finish and to all the gang for such a great effort. I’ll be back next year…fancy it?!