Neil Pollard makes the podium in Sandringham Half Marathon

Sandringham Half Marathon, Sunday 20th June: Three Joggers were competing in this race. Neil Pollard was bang in form in his first half marathon race since 2019. He finished 3rd of 898 runners overall in his best ever time of 1:13:23, 1st of 70 in the M40 category. That beat his previous best time of 1:14:43 at Bedford in 2018. Next for the Joggers came Jamie Rule (1:22:50, 16th overall), his best time by over 11 minutes. He has been making extraordinary progress in virtual club races over the last year, with a string of PBs over 5k. Hard working Clive Purbrook pulled out his best half marathon time this year of 1:53:09, finishing 270th overall and 2nd of 17 in M65+.

To the delight of the runners and supporters, the Sandringham race was started by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, with son George and daughter Charlotte by his side.

Prince William starting the Sandringham HM with Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Thanks to Jamie Rule for this great Strava photo.

The course was extremely twisting and turning with a large number of different loops. It is only fair to mention that, unfortunately, the leading runners appear to have been sent the wrong way near the finish, missing out a loop and recording around 12.3 miles on GPS, a directional mistake that seems to have been corrected later in the race for finishers not involved in the top places. This was not the fault of the runners, and the podium finishers all fully deserved their leading positions as the fastest runners. It’s just one of those unfortunate things that can happen and an error that any one of us could have made. The event was superbly organised by a friendly and dedicated band of volunteers.

The good news is that the times of our runners are exactly what you would have expected them to achieve in a flattish half marathon road race (e.g. the Cambridge HM, or Perkin’s Great Eastern HM) going on current form this year. In fact, Neil Pollard’s age grade is very slightly down on what he has already achieved this year. In other words, the high difficulty of this off-road, multi-loop, twisting, turning course has offset any advantage from an apparent shorter distance. Jamie Rule increased his age grade by about 3%, but has been improving rapidly in virtual club races over the past year. This was also his first real road race since before the pandemic, so a good improvement was expected.

Jamie Rule with medal after the Sandringham HM Thanks for Strava photo.

Thetford Trail Half Marathon, Sunday 20th June: Five club members took on this race, organised by Inspire Races at High Lodge in Thetford Forest. First Jogger to finish was Jason Beeton in 1:40:00, 58th of 437 runners overall, a good preparation for his upcoming MK Marathon on Sunday 27th June. Then came Dylan Cunha (1:46:14, 97th), Jeremy Reader (1:54:51, 163rd), Lisa Jennings (2:22:14, 134th F of 194) and Lisa Garrand (2:30:09, 160th F). It was Lisa Jennings’s best half marathon time since she clocked 2:14:04 at Cambridge in 2016. She has been making solid progress over the last year or two. Dylan and Lisa Garrand both did well in their first half marathons for the club.

Dylan Cunha in the Thetford Trail HM, a great moving photo of the route behind him. Thanks for Strava photo

Flaming June Half Marathon, Sunday 20th June: Richard Groom chose this ‘not so flaming’ June race for his Grand Prix double points wild card, and it was a wise decision. He clocked 1:46:59, which is a PB by 56 seconds on his Perkins Great Eastern HM effort in 2018. He finished 69th of 184 runners overall, so a great result.

Hampshire Hoppit Trail Half Marathon & Marathon, Saturday 19th June: Nicole and Jimmy Smith took on one of their favourite trail routes, extremely hilly and very scenic, passing through Watership Down country. For all finishers there was a half or full pint of Loddon’s Hoppit Ale (3.5% ABV), including an engraved glass as a memento. In the Half Marathon, there were 527 runners overall. Nicole clocked 2:27:21 and finished a very respectable 106th of 260 F. Jimmy came a masterly 7th of 429 runners in the Marathon, clocking 3:16:04, even though he admitted not being in full race mode. They appeared to enjoy the beer at the finish most of all.

Nicole and Jimmy Smith after their Hampshire Hoppit Trail races. Thanks for posting the excellent Strava photo.

Jurassic Coast Ultra Trail 50km, Sunday 20th June: A fantastic effort by Jogger Anna Mayhew and her Team Jurassic trail colleagues in this ultra trail event, which started in Lyme Regis at 8:00am and finished in Exmouth, with a 14 hour time limit. It was an horrendously hilly route with over 5,000ft of climb, up and down hills and cliffs by the sea. Anna and her friends completed the distance in an elapsed time of 12h:42m, safely within the time limit, although Anna’s own moving time was a mere 8 hours 44 minutes, showing how relatively fast her pace was over that kind of extreme terrain.

Outlaw Half Triathlon, Sunday 20th June: Mark Hayward took part in this middle distance triathlon event at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham, representing Ipswich Triathlon Club. He chose the relay event, with himself taking on the swim (1.2 miles) and run (13.1 miles = half marathon) events and a friend taking on the bike ride (56 miles). They put in a great effort to make the podium, finishing 2nd out of 30 relay teams, with an overall time of 4:28:52. Individual times were 38:22 (swim, 11th), 2:22:31 (bike, 3rd)) and 1:20:31 (run, 3rd).

Mark Hayward finishing the half marathon run in the Outlaw triathlon in Nottingham. Thanks to Mark for posting photo on Strava