Sandbach Striders

I’d booked a place in the Wilmslow Half with a view to using it as part of build up to my first London Marathon which has taken me 7 attempts to get in! 

If I’m honest, things haven’t exactly gone to plan, and I’ve suffered so many illnesses and injuries since Christmas I’ve begun to worry that someone somewhere is sticking pins into a doll bearing a striking resemblance to myself.

The day of the race dawned and the conditions couldn’t have been much better as the day was bright, sunny and cool. After arriving at the well organised parking at the Rugby Club I stood with the other runners keeping warm in the sun, the organisers had laid on a BBQ and the smell of sausages wafted our way every so often.

I made my way to the start line and since I’d decided to try and PB I made my way to the 01:30 start position where I was glad to find 2 other runners who I’m friends with. We had a quick chat and found we’d all heard the same things, we’d struggle with congestion, the first half is slightly downhill and the return leg would be a constant slight uphill with a short sharp hill near the end.

The gun went off and we all shuffled along to the start, as I crossed the start line both my friends managed to find a route through the crowd but I got pretty bogged down, as I’d been warned would happen. Eventually though with a bit of dodging round people I got some clear space and could finally go for it. I’d decided to make the best of the downhill gradient and really went for it, running much faster than my PB pace with a view to having some time in my pocket when I hit the return leg. Most of the race is held down country lanes and to be honest I was so focussed on my pace I didn’t really pay attention to my surroundings. The one thing I really noticed though was that there were pockets of supporters throughout the course and without exception they were all doing a great job of cheering us on.

Around 7 miles in we started on the uphill section of the course, although the incline is by no means steep you can feel you’re putting in more effort to maintain your pace. I dug in knowing I was already about 2 and a half minutes ahead of my target and that if I could maintain a good pace I should get a decent PB. A few miles later we came across the hill that everyone had spoken about (we’d already run down it on the way out), once this was over the course was pretty flat and knowing how close the finish would now be I just concentrated on maintaining a PB pace. Rounding the final corner the street was lined with supporters cheering us all on to the finish.

When I arrived back at my car after a 10 minute walk I was happy to find that I’d already had my result texted to me confirming a new PB by over 3 minutes with a time of 1:32:14. As I drove home it occurred to me that I’d run at such a hard pace I may of also PB’d at 10k, when I got home I was able to confirm I’d not only PB’d 10k, but also 10 miles and a few other distances in between. Maybe my training hasn’t been going as badly as I thought!

For more information visit the Wilmslow Half website.

Steve F