THE WEATHER was perfect for the Tempo Events Worcester Marathon and Half Marathon – cool and dry with no wind – and the athletes appreciated the scenic route which took in charming villages and country roads before finishing at the Worcester Warriors rugby stadium.
The sole Stratford AC runner in the marathon was the astoundingly hard-working and highly talented Chris Bacon (2nd, 2:40.39), who smashed the club record by four minutes.
Chris produced marvellous performances all throughout the winter and pleasingly he has carried his form right through the spring months, including running a fantastic PB time of 2:45.30 in the London Marathon. Chris believes his London run took the pressure off him and he approached this race in a relaxed manner, arriving at the start cool and calm but ready for action.
Refreshingly, time was not at the forefront of Chris’ mind during the race, running well was his main priority. However, Chris was pleased the clock displayed a positive message when he reached the finish line! He ran a sublime race, working hard but feeling smooth all the way, and he was delighted to see his 2:40 as he approached the home straight.
The race winner was Stuart Leaney of Chippenham Harriers in 2:39.58.
Ten Stratford AC runners took on the half marathon and each can be very proud of their performances.
After running an excellent race in the Shakespeare Half Marathon, Robin Kindersley (12th, 1:25.18) knew he was in for a severe test on this hillier course. In spite of the more testing conditions, Robin managed to run 33 seconds inside his Shakespeare time. He is in great shape over all distances at the moment and a week after his Worcester triumph he ran 38.12 in the Crowle 10k race.
Triathlon stalwart Robert Ford (18th, 1:26.10) had hoped to run the full marathon but did not wish to jeopardise the quality of his Ironman training. Instead he swam the day before the race and followed up with a 10-mile run, then on race day he cycled from Stratford to Worcester before starting his 13.1-mile race.
Partly due to the cycling warm-up, Rob set off far quicker than he had planned. He kept the pace up for 5k and felt good to the 10k point, so he thought he would see if he could maintain his speed for another four miles. Finally, after running 11 of the 13.1 miles, his hamstring tightened and he slowed slightly.
Rob was deservedly happy with his morning’s work and his overall fitness. A possible target is the Kenilworth Half Marathon in August and a time below one hour, 20 minutes.
Whenever Patrick Taylor (84th, 1:39.46) races in a Stratford AC vest he produces a solid performance. He is a master of the art of half marathon running and knows just how to pace himself to ensure he is still strong in the closing two miles.
Steve Kirk (120th, 1.42.35) was unable to get in shape to do the full marathon but believes he made the right decision in dropping down to the half marathon distance and was very pleased with his performance. More than five years since his last open road race, Steve was unsure how he would cope, “but it felt just like the old days, only a little slower”.
Steve targeted a time in the region of 1:45 while standing on the start line. He ran a consistent 7 minutes, 45 seconds per mile and, apart from blisters in the last two miles, he felt great. Steve was reassured to know that, after such a long time away from road racing, he is not as far away from his previous level of fitness and sharpness as he had thought.
Yvonne Caswell (174th, 1:47.19) used this race as part of her training for a half Ironman triathlon in June. Apart from a stitch at 2.5 miles and a slight reduction in pace at 10 miles, Yvonne was very pleased with how she felt overall.
“Hill after hill after hill” is how Emily Adams (228th, 1:50.44) summed up the course. In addition to the undulations, Emily underestimated the heat which affected her pacing. Encouragement from Yvonne helped to push Emily on as she reached the last few miles and she ran a new PB time by two minutes.
Helen Ferguson (477th, 2:11.59) ran remarkably well to be just 29 seconds outside her Shakespeare Half Marathon time and once again she demonstrated her almost unlimited supply of stamina.
Megan Johnston (520th, 2:16.10) really enjoyed her race and actually appreciated the variety provided by the ups and downs around the course. Megan kept a steady pace throughout, apart from a stunning sprint finish.
John Butler (594th, 2:24.29) and Paul Nash (595th, 2:29.30) cruised around the course and completed the final stages in style, to the obvious delight of the knowledgeable crowd along the finishing straight.
The race winner was James Bellward of the Royal Air Force in 1:15.56. Fiona Blackmore (unattached) was first lady in a time of 1:28.14.
PHIL Brennan provided a report of his run in the British Masters 10k Championships which reads as follows:
“Terribly flat, Norfolk,” said Noel Coward. Actually he said it was “tirribly flet”, but he was right either way. Miles and miles of very flat stuff with rivers in between.
“BMAF, in their laudable attempt to boost tourism and the standard of rally driving in the UK, opted to hold the 10k Championships as part of the Grand East Anglian Run in Kings Lynn. Big race, well organised mainly, through the town and along the river banks etc, flat (did I mention that?) but very twisty, traffic-free, lots of crowds. They tell me it was scenic, but I didn’t notice.
“I knew I was due for a mincing, because three of the top V70 age group had entered. As it happened, one of them didn’t show, but I ended up 5th V70+ in the open race, with 75-year-old Fred Gibbs in front of me.
“I felt lousy throughout, which might be due to the fact that I ran a of PB 45.17 and most frustratingly a time of 45.06 on my chip.”