Last weekend was BIG. Wilson Kipsang set a brand new marathon world record of 2.03.23 in Berlin. Rui Costa snatched victory in a final 100m sprint at the Men’s World Road Race in Toscana and Marianne Vos smashed up the Women’s Road Race, further cementing her position as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.
(There is nothing about the below photo that doesn’t make me extremely happy)
It was also a pretty big weekend over in Ealing. On Sunday my mum (Anne), my sister (Rosie), my two housemates (Emily and Rachael) and Rach’s boyfriend Stuart all lined up at the start of the second ever Ealing Half Marathon.
For Rach, Em, Roz and Stu it was their very first half marathon experience and despite Ealing being a bit of a baptism by the fire (undulating is the word) they took it all in their stride and put in absolutely incredible efforts.
Like I said a big weekend!
Aside from my local parkrun I have never attended a race this close to my front door before and I would definitely recommend it. We were able to get up after 7 get all our stuff together and head over to race HQ in Lammas Park half an hour before the starting gun was due to go off.
Toilet queue was mega as standard, but bag check was super quick and I was able to scoot back just in time to slot myself in-between the 1.45 and 1.50 pacers.
The gun went off at exactly 9.15am and we were on our way. The course takes runners through the centre of Ealing and then north towards Pitshanger before winding down towards West Ealing and heading back to Lammas park. The rolling hills kept things varied and the best bits of Ealing were all on show.
During the first six miles I felt really comfortable, cruising along, taking it steady on the uphill sections and stretching my legs out on the downhill. A massive high point came during an out and back where we passed all the runners coming the other way and I was able to spot Rosie and Rach and do an epic mid-race high five over the course barriers.
Support from the Ealing locals was absolutely amazing and speaking to my friends afterwards, they said the sections where music was playing, people were cheering and kids were handing out jelly babies really helped push them along.
At mile 10 I was still feeling strong and making some big old bargains with myself to keep up the pace for a little bit longer.
(Bike… keep going and you can have a new bike… you never have to run again)
The final three miles is where it all descended into a bit of a suffer-fest. I knew I was on target to PB, but every step was getting harder and harder. Going back under the starting arch (much like the finishing arch but not) was a psychological blow and the final kilometre which took you back into Lammas before winding round the edge of the park (all the while keeping the finishing chute in sight) was absolute torture.
All good things come to an end though and after a final sprint/crawl it was all over! I crossed the line with an official chip time of 1.45.31 and a brand spanking new PB (knocking 2 and a half minutes off the time I set at the Bath Half earlier this year).
All runners were given an awesome medal, water, banana and a Clif bar. Exactly what you need post race and I was able to drag myself to a bench to cheer in the rest of my friends and family.
A massive well done to the Ealing Eagles (my running club) for organising such a great event and to the Wolverton Massive for doing so well in their very first half marathon (and my mum who has done a few). I’ll have to see if I can get a guest post from one of them once the DOMs have faded and stairs are no longer such a challenge.