Thursday, 1 November 2012

A cold wet day in Preston

Having been away for a few days I have not had the chance to post any updates.  So briefly, Last weekend, while most runners I know were heading for a cross country race at Cramlington and the first race in the North East Harrier League.  I once again headed south to Preston.  This time for The Preston Guild Half Marathon which was being held in conjunction with the Town's first ever marathon.

As seems usual when it comes to weather prediction, when it is forecast for poor weather the prediction turns out to be correct.  The Half Marathon started in damp overcast conditions, 1 hour behind the full marathon, which soon turned to heavy rain.  However, the weather did not dampen the spirits of the 2000 plus runners who toed the start line.

The Start

Not having really got the training in (at 38 - 40 miles a week) for a 'half' I decided once again upon a cautious start.  The aim was for 6.55 minute miles, with a target of a 1hr 30 min finish.

The Start

However, a downhill start meant that despite trying to hold back I reached the first mile mark in 6.14.

Still feeling comfortable at mile 2, I decided to adjust my target slightly and look to run sub 6.50 for each mile.

Gary Pennington

Although the course could not be classed as a hilly one, it is by no means flat, and has a few tight turns.  On two occasions rounding a set of cones and doubling back on yourself.  Reading an article following the race it transpires that one of these sets of cones stretched further than was intended.  This resulted in the race being 200m longer than it should have been.

2nd Place
Mathew Thompson

From a personal point of view I was happy enough with my performance, finishing inside my target with 1.28.56 for 53rd place and incidentally my fastest half marathon since turning 55.

My time was, however, only good enough for 6th place in the over 55 category with Paul Muller taking first M55 in 1.20.02 and 12th place overall. 

The over 55 category was obviously stronger than the M50 category as only 2 M50's finished ahead of me.

As usual my finish look more like
 an entry into a gurning competition

Full results of the race can be found here But the leading results were:

1st Gary Pennington - Preston Harriers - 1.13.57 (Also 1st M40)
2nd Mathew Thompson - Southport Waterloo - 1.14.59
3rd James Hilton - Wigan Phoenix - 1.16.07

With regards to the Marathon, that was won in 2.21.33 by Ben Fish of Blackburn Harriers, with Thomas Abyu (Salford) second in 2.29.35 and Preston Harriers' Gethin Butler, third in 2.32.07.

Thanks to Francesca for photos

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