Headcorn Half Marathon Report from Sean McFarlane
February 14th. A day for romance, for love, a day to spend with the one’s you love.
But, not for everyone.
At 6.45 in the morning, having tiptoed around the house (a great way to stretch, by the way), I found myself looking out of the window waiting for Scotty to pick me up, I gathered my running gear and went out into the dark cold morning, opened the car door to be greeted by an unshaven middle aged man.
I’d left my family for the day for this?
We then picked up Ian Anthony who, by his own standards hadn’t been running too much recently.
Great bants then ensued, I’ll be honest, sometimes the language was a bit colourful and the subjects were pretty low brow. Put it this way Radio 4 would have nothing to worry about.
We arrived around 45 minutes before race time (an early 9am start).
Nerves must have kicked in early, as all three of us found ourselves in the Headcorn train station toilets. One of us (I won’t embarrass Scotty by saying who) had to use the Ladies.
Then off to race HQ, in this case the small village school, a five minute walk away.
We bumped into LOSS/Southend AC runner Tracey English, who chose to enter this race so she wouldn’t know anyone else there. Sorry Tracey.
The previous week saw Flyers smash Great Bentley half and we didn’t want to let the side down in Kent.
The start is on quite a boggy village green, which you run in a circle and then on to the local roads, which weren’t closed, but are seldom used. I can’t remember seeing more than five cars all the way round.
The course is very rural and at times quite open. I saw Ian storm off with the front runners, a sight I’ve seen all too often.
I decided to attack the race early on and found myself running alongside a man who seemed to be comfortable at this pace for the first four miles, only for him to drop off shortly after.
From then on I was totally on my own, I could just about make out a runner in the distance and when I looked over my shoulder there was no one.
Those nine miles solo were very hard mentally; the only difference between this and a training run was the race number I had on my top.
My pace gradually got slower and at around the 10 mile mark a Dulwich AC runner glided past me. I tried to stick with him, but at this point I was struggling.
During the last mile my legs filled with lactic acid and the cramps were really painful. Painful enough for me to stop and walk for a while.
I crossed the line in 1.25.08. A PB and a race that was as tough mentally as it was physically.
Ian was already at the finish with a time of 1.18. He’d come second in this event two years ago, and he’d done so well with his lack of training, running at such speed that few of us can comprehend.
Scotty then finished in 1.36, smashing his PB by six minutes. I’m sure in time if you ask nicely he’ll tell you about it.
Tracey finished second female, losing out to first place by just four seconds.
We watched the presentations, including male first finisher breaking the course record by running 1.12! For which he got a trophy AND a bottle of wine (waste of a bottle of wine, bet he doesn’t drink).
After a couple of beers we headed home, celebrating by singing Labbi Siffre’s ‘Something inside so strong’ which may well have been better than the original. (If Mr Siffre’s people are reading this that was irony)
For anyone who fancies a half marathon outside of Essex I can recommend this one. It is a very well organised and friendly event.
I’ve a feeling we shall return.