As the Autumn Shakespeare attracted a number of Harriers I thought it warranted a report so here it is; better late than never. The event is organised by Raceways and takes place at Long Marston Airfield in Stratford-upon-Avon. There’s a choice of 5k, 10k, Half-Marathon or Marathon distances with all starting at the same time using the 5k course, with extra out-and-back sections for the half and full marathons.
On the day the weather was pretty gloomy but cool and most importantly the winds of the previous few days had calmed down. So, on an exceptionally flat (albeit slightly long) course, the conditions were perfect for a PB attempt and most of us were tackling the Half-Marathon, with all the Great Birmingham Run training still in our legs. Katie Thomas and the elusive Simeon Paine were the only marathoners from Bournville, with Katie tackling her second marathon in as many weeks. Katie’s husband Dan was the lone representative in the 10k race (we’re counting Dan as an honorary member of Team Teal for this event).
Registration was well organised and there were plenty of loos and even showers, but the surroundings were far from salubrious! The scenery was a bit bleak and I think we were all expecting the laps to be a mental, if not necessarily a physical, challenge.
The race itself turned out to be great fun, in spite of the lack of sights to see or spectators on the course (most of those who had come to support were congregated around the stands and by the water station at the start of each lap). I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed it so much was the support of other runners especially on the switchback sections; but the marshals were also brilliant and the laps somehow helped to break the run down into manageable (parkrun-sized) chunks!
We were also well supported by Taz Memon Yousaf, the BvH “team photographer”, who also kindly held onto phones, car keys and even my sports drink – and seemed to know exactly the point at which it would be needed (start of lap 3)! There was a bit of music playing around where Taz was snapping away so each lap there was definitely something to look forward to coming through the water station.
I was quite pleased with my own run, taking nearly two minutes off my PB and three minutes quicker than my Birmingham Half time; and thrilled when I finished to hear that Linda Howell had won her age category and bagged a trophy and a complimentary return visit to defend her title; Monica Baptista and Nicola Morris had achieved PBs (both coming in clear under 1hr 50); Sarah Rock and Antony Stewart put in amazing performances, with Antony coming close to his best; and Mat Pollard completed his first half-marathon setting himself a challenging target to beat in future outings.
Once we finished the half we all had fun with the facility to print out your own race result at the end and quite liked the Raceways medals too; which were presented to us by a little girl who may have learnt a few choice words from relieved runners on finishing their sprint for the line (mentioning no names…)
Once we’d finished the half we stayed to watch Katie complete a few more of her 8(!) laps; tucking into a good Team Teal picnic with some excellent cake (cue singing “It’s all about the cake, ’bout the cake…”) and posing for the obligatory team photo (courtesy of Taz). Katie showed her mettle and finished the marathon in 5:00:39, with Dan completing an extra lap with her at the end (and yes we made sure there was some cake and biscuits for Katie when she finished!)
Great fun – honestly!
(Also pictured Paul Webster of Sparkhill Harriers and Pauline from the Sunday crew)
Dan Thomas 57:15
|Position||Bib #||Athlete Name||Gender||Category||Chip Time||Gun Time|
Simeon Paine 3:29:36
Katie Thomas 5:00:39