Great Bentley Half Marathon, Essex, Sunday 5th February: In this classic, early preparatory race for the spring marathon season, Mark Hayward (1:13:43) was bang in form, coming 6th of 643 runners overall and 1st of 65 in his M40-44 age category. He was just 37 seconds outside his all-time half marathon PB gained last September, so well on course in his London Marathon preparations and will likely be testing himself in the Tarpley 10 and Wymondham 20 in the coming weeks.
Zig Zag ‘Hoof Hearted’ multi-lap 6-Hour event, Weston Woods Farm, Weston Colville, Cambridgeshire (former RAF Wratting Common wartime airfield): This event was moved at short notice from Horseheath Racecourse; hence the curious reference to a horse’s hoof in the title and on the medals. The out & back ~3.3mi/5.3km (one eighth of a marathon) multi-lap course was along nearly flat, well-maintained service roads surrounding the site of the former wartime airfield. Five Joggers took part, starting at different times and over various numbers of laps, making it more of a series of individual time-trials than a race.
Emma Reader (1:23:23) went for the 2-lap option (advertised as 10K but presumably ~10.5km) and did well to get round after feeling quite ill the day before. Hannah Pollard (1:30:26) tested herself over 3 laps at an intentionally gentle pace (for her) and was pleased with the way it went. She is coming on in leaps and bounds after a prolonged period of injury.
Caroline Mcintosh (2:33:37) and Chris Aylmer (2:30:11) both went for the Half Marathon of 4 laps, though started 2 hours apart. Caroline actually did another 2 laps afterwards as extra training, such is her motivation to do well in the Tokyo Marathon on March 5th. Her time over the 4 laps predicts a marathon time of 5:23:43 (using the Howard-Grubb calculator), which would be an all-time marathon PB for Caroline at age 70, so her preparation is absolutely spot on. No pressure on her to do a PB though; she’ll be happy to get round in whatever time it takes. Also on March 5th, Chris is aiming for around 2:15 in the Cambridge Half (his time last year), so has some extra pace to find. He is hoping the buzzing atmosphere and excitement will make a difference.
Neil Pollard (2:21:43) took on 6 laps and started later than all the other Joggers. He actually inserted extra distance into his run to make it up to 20 miles, by going further at the turnaround point. Of the 3 runners who did the 6 laps, he finished 1st by a country mile, even though he was going at an easy pace (for him) of 7:00/mi all the way round and did more distance than the others. So Neil looks in very good form and completed 100 training miles during the week.