On Sunday 17th March, St Patricks Day, the 36th running of the Sage Reading Half Marathon took place. This year’s event was the beginning of a new chapter, as Goldline Events took to the helm.
Thousands of athletes flock to this popular event, with a unique stadium finish, a big draw. The start of the race was at Green Park, and the runners set off through the centre of Reading, with a huge crowd supporting them along the route. They then entered the beautiful grounds of the University campus, before heading back to the Madjeski Stadium, home of The Royals.
Weather conditions were not ideal. The temperatures were on the cool side but the runners had to endure a strong head wind between miles 8-10.
Teignbridge Trotter, Jamie Barnett, used the race in preparation for his London Marathon bid. Jamie was listed as an elite athlete for the first time, due to his past performances. He didn’t disappoint, finishing in 33rd position, clocking a new Club record for the distance in 1:10:18. He therefore smashed his own previous record by 1 minute 7 seconds. Jamie also finished 4th in the under 23 category. All seems to be going well, and all eyes will be on Jamie for the big one in April. Fantastic performance Jamie.
Karen O’Brien also competed in the race, finishing in a very respectable time of 2:03:12 to finish in 4960th place. Karen amazingly set a new personal best by over 25 minutes!! What a fantastic improvement??
Four Trotters used the Gloucester 20 as an indicator to where they were training wise for their forthcoming Spring marathons. Between them, they are running the Taunton, Manchester and London marathons.
Storm Gareth had thankfully pretty much blown itself out and the quartet were left with good race conditions. The course was a three lap affair, run over quiet country lanes and for the first mile or so of each lap, through an industrial estate. There were a few undulations but in general it was a fast, flat course, making it an ideal race to post a quick time over a distance that you don’t get to race that often.
Julian Scanes was the first Trotter home in a time of 2:22:12 giving him 74th place overall. It’s great to see Jules back running so well, especially after such a long layoff with injury last year. Next Trotter was, club Chairman, Roger Hayes 2:23:48 (78), closely followed by his ever improving son, Stan Hayes 2:27:44 (99). The evergreen MV65 Pete Kirby completed the line up in a very impressive time of 2:54:30 (257). There were a total of 454 finishers.
Attention now turns to the first of those marathons: The Hayes’s will be tackling Taunton, whilst Kirby will be running Manchester. Both races take place on April 7th. It will be Stan Hayes’s first marathon, having taken on the challenge set by his Dad to run a marathon once he turned 18. He’s certainly well on track, having now completed two 20 mile races over consecutive weekends.
Bovey Valley Runners staged a charity 5k and 10k races, which they hope will be an annual event. This was also their first event organised, as they are a new club, having formed in 2018. The monies raised will go to the Rowcroft & the British Forces Foundation.
Three Trotters took the short trip to Bovey FC for the start. Weather conditions were ideal, with some glorious sunshine to greet the runners. The race route was centred mainly around the Parke Estate, and needless to say, there were some very muddy stretches to negotiate.
Katey Blackmore was the first Trotter home, clocking a great time of 49:26. Close behind was Mark Wotton in 49:53 and Susanne Westgate finished in a time of 51:47. The feedback from the event was very encouraging. The marshals were helpful and supportive and the organisation of the race superb. Also, and most importantly, the cakes on offer were delicious!! 54 runners took part, but as word spreads, I feel numbers for next year will rise. The biggest result of the day was that £540 was raised. A great effort by all.
Two Teignbridge Trotters, Andy Distin and Gavin Parrott, travelled to Dorset, to run in the very popular seaside Weymouth Half Marathon. The race organisers were Just Racing, and this was the 5th running of the event. The race is run to support the local Weymouth Rotary club, who in turn supports the many local charities.
The start and finish of the race was at the Weymouth Pavilions. The first 3 miles took the runners along the beach front lined with beach huts and local bed and breakfasts. They then entered Lodmoor Country Park for just over a mile before heading back to the seafront on the way into the town. They passed the Jubilee Clock Tower built in 1888 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The athletes then headed out to the historic harbour, with stunning views of Portland. At the 7 mile stage, there were a few bumps to run up, but then it was back down to the finish with some great support to cheer the runner’s home.
Gavin and Andy ran really and represented the Club superbly. Gavin finished clocked a time of 1:46:38 to finish in 252nd place and Andy crossed the line in 788th position in a time of 2:20:03. There were 973 finishers.
The winner of the half was Jacek Cieluszecki representing Bournemouth AC, coming home in 1:12:53.
On a very busy Sunday of racing, the Bath Half Marathon took place. This race is affectionately known as the “Bath Half”. The race is one of the longest established and most popular city road events, and is the largest charity fund raising event in the south west. After last year’s cancellation due to snow, the race was eagerly anticipated.
The course is a flat and fast, ideal for new P.B’s. The race route reverted back to the original route of previous year’s. The weather conditions were just about perfect. Hundreds of spectators lined the streets and there were bands playing along the route to give a party atmosphere.
Three Trotters travelled to Somerset to stretch their legs! Helen Anthony ran another great race to finish in a time of 1:28:27.This earned Helen 465th position. Annabelle Evans set a new half marathon P.B by setting a new mark of 1:33:12 to finish in 914th place. Annie is a fast improving runner who will be soon challenging the Clubs faster ladies!! Watch out! Scott Knight also ran very well to finish in 4931st in a time of 1:55:15.
Chris Thompson, a Great Britain international and a very late entrant, won the race in a time of 1:03:09.