Wimbledon Common Half Marathon run report : Sunday 16th October (by Vicky Jeeves)
It’s a week before my first half marathon and along with another 20 odd flyers, we all start to chat about our travel plans. Originally I’d planned to take the train, but Google Maps informed me my journey would be almost 3 hours and taking into account the problems on the trains the week before for the Royal Parks half, to be in with a chance of making it on time for the 9.30 start, I’d have to rise about 4.30am! Forget that, I’ll drive.
4.55am: the alarm is sounding, that’s an early start even by my standards but ‘The Day’ has finally arrived. Surprisingly, I’m not at all nervous but excited; that will have something to do with the LSR’s (Long Slow Runs) that I regularly partake in with the Flyers most Sunday mornings – my first one back in February, where I finally plucked up the courage to try the LSR after I’d signed up for Brighton 10K. I’d only ever managed a 5K parkrun previously and needed to up my mileage. As with all the Flyers’ rendezvous, I was made to feel very welcome and didn’t need to worry about holding anyone up, Keith is always happy to run at the back with the newbies.
I digress; back to Wimbledon, I’m up and I’m making a mini picnic for car share B (or Bungo as we’d nicknamed ourselves). Nicola arrived bang on time at 5.55am, Liz & Lianne were collected en route. It was cold, dark and wet, the journey was smooth allowing us to arrive in plenty of time, just before 8am and just as the rain started – again. It was grim. We stayed in the car and ate a few snacks whilst waiting for the rain to stop. But it didn’t. Time was ticking but luckily with the early arrival, we’d managed to bag ourselves a great little parking space next to the common (not as great as Maggie/Tina/Pete’s space in the pavilion, but better than Scotty and his dream team who’d parked in Wimbledon’s version of the Bronx (which must have taken some finding, as the Wimbledon we’d seen so far was stunning!).
So, a short walk across the field and we were there. I only had to have a short debate with the team giving out our numbers who insisted my race number was not in the H – K’s but would be with the A – G’s… It’s Jeeves not Geeves!!! Lianne managed to push towards the front of the coffee queue by ‘pretending’ to talk to Pete and the rest of us discussed who had and who hadn’t managed to go to the toilet – a regular conversation at these kind of events I was beginning to realise!
The majority of us had decided to start in wave 3 (2 hours 20 or less; a bit optimistic for me but better than starting right at the back). Lianne had agreed to keep me company, which worked both ways, she needed to take it easy and use it as an LSR ready for Stort 30, so I was perfect company.
Off we went, 9.36am on the dot. One skinny womble waved us off and looking back, I found the first 10 miles almost effortless. The rain pretty much stopped as soon as we started and after about half a mile I’d already warmed up and felt quite smug as others were struggling to remove rain coats or sweating with base layers on. Lianne had talked me into just running in my Flyers tee, which proved tricky for the 15 minutes between bag drop and the start but much better later as the temperature warmed up to 16 degrees and the sun came out, we only needed snow and we’d have seen 4 seasons in one day (yes – I know a song about that too).
I remember it being a little disheartening seeing the 7 mile sign on the first loop, this was a two loop run and I’d only just started, but it wasn’t too long before I felt elated to see the 10 mile sign on the second loop. This is where Miss Oxlade decided we should ‘up the tempo’ and get me a better time, it’s only a parkrun now she hollered. Our slow, steady 12 minute mile pace increased to 11! But I was happy to finish in 2 hours 38 minutes, the extra push keeping me in the 2.30’s that I’d set my sights on, 2.30 would have been my dream come true but the conditions were very soft underfoot, especially without trail shoes, my Garmin reckoned I’d covered an extra 0.1 miles dodging the muddy puddles.
What a great feeling it was coming down the finishing straight being cheered on by some of the speedier Flyers (Scotty, Kelly, Andie, Helen, Debra & James to name a few, with Jo & H coming in just behind) but then I had the task of having to decide which one of three medals I wanted, I decided on this beauty:
Medal number 4 for me, all obtained in 2016.
It was just a short wait until the final 3 flyers came in holding hands, our Tina, Maggie & Pete, who we joined in the local watering hole afterwards, it would have been rude not to. The journey home was thankfully uneventful apart from my restless legs kicking in, I really could have done with a thigh massage, but nobody was forthcoming…
My finger is now hovering over my mouse button for a place in the Southend Marathon… see you in March?……. (Ed – Go on Vicky , you know it makes sense!)