Stratford half/full Marathon – 8 May 2011

Mark Allen reports: Less than a year on from being Mr Couch Potato, but now with two half marathons under my belt (B’ham 2010 & Long Marston March 2011) it was on to the Stratford upon Avon Half.

With lots of newly made BVH buddies competing in this race (and the full marathon), suddenly I was starting to take this running thing seriously. Suddenly I was thinking about Grand Prix points!

A sunshine break during the kid’s half term meant I was lucky enough to run every day for a whole week in preparation for the event. What would once have been a ‘beer and burgers knees up’ for me was now just about getting the knees up! “Oh, how you’ve changed”, chirped the wife on more than one occasion.

Come the day of the race and feeling slightly foolish in my Teal vest (I’ve never really been a vest man) I lined up at the start feeling quietly confident of a good outing. I’m learning that confidence builds on good preparation and knowing I’d done a few miles in advance of the day gave me the belief to try to go out and attack my last half marathon time of 1h 57m.

Whether it was my pre-race efforts, my imagination or (most likely) the fact that so many runners were competing in the full marathon so pacing themselves more steadily – I felt like I was going past people from the start. With a strategy of keeping it tight but steady up to the 8 mile hill, then seeing how I felt on the other side (I hoped I could maybe push a bit more on the flatter back end of the circuit), things felt good all the way around.

The water cups proved a challenge once again (must practice my squeeze and pour method more) and ditching energy gels in favour of Fruit Pastels seemed to suit me better. Despite what I’d heard and read about the notorious ‘Greenway’, I enjoyed the support and the lack of hills. In fact, I never realised the pleasure to be gained from perfect strangers shouting “come on Bournville” at me. Maybe that vest was not such a bad idea.

At the marathon/half marathon split, I was glad to be heading for the finish (especially with the sun starting to put in an appearance) and by the final approach, though I had long given up on my inaccurate Nike running watch, I knew I was going well. If I could beat 1h 55m I would be a happy man.

As I entered the final straight, I pushed like I’d never pushed before. The crowd cheered, the body surged………………..and a man in a Chicken suit ran past me.

Then I got my time. 1h 47min 38sec. I’d smashed it. Hooray.

For the rest of the summer it looks like shorter, quicker races will be the order of the day. I’m hoping to work on my technique, as I’m sure there are better ways of ‘doing’ running. ‘Natural running’ methods, anyone?

BvH Half marathon results:

Forename Surname M/F Cat ChipPos ChipTime
Dan Bird M 17 01:24:08
Marianne Hensman F 99 01:33:48
Elizabeth Bryans F 286 01:44:42
Maggie Curtis F 35 313 01:45:58
Mark Allen M 35 357 01:47:38
Emily Holden F 409 01:49:04
Sam Pretlove F 35 475 01:51:01
???? ??? F 597 01:54:18
Nicola Morris F 635 01:55:14
Aine Gallagher F 705 01:57:13
Sarah Grocutt F 45 949 02:04:54
Sharon Weldon F 45 998 02:06:23
Jo Ribchester F 35 1167 02:11:44
Steve Atkinson M 55 1215 02:13:03
Sarah Wilson F 45 1478 02:26:18
Stephanie Quigley F 35 1565 02:35:39
Samantha Osman F 1578 02:38:14

BvH Marathon results:

Forename Surname Gender Cat Chip Pos Chip Time
Danny Wilson M 45 250 03:37:43
James Gittins M 35 335 03:46:06
Alec Croke M 45 406 03:52:27
Simon Newman M 35 582 04:07:24
Andrew Balderson M 704 04:20:10
Lesley Proctor F 45 707 04:20:32
Primo Zavoli M 55 847 04:39:57
Phil Williamson F 55 851 04:40:58

5 Replies to “Stratford half/full Marathon – 8 May 2011”

  1. I would like to congratulate Mark on his brilliant run!! I, like James, would also like to thank the Sunday morning runners for our very early, long distance runs around the sunny countryside in preparation for my fourth marathon. Thanks for all the BVH support on the day and well done to everyone else who ran too! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have enjoyed running this distance and although did not get a New York place this year, will be applying again next time and also looking around for future marathon recommendations!!

  2. Generally speaking,as far as running is concerned,one gets out what one puts in.It`s very much a question of the 6Ps. `Proper preparation prevents p— poor performance,` and helps one to avoid injury.
    If the winter distance work is now followed up with some `speed work `training sessions, then there could be some encouraging results emerging
    in the weeks and months ahead. ie. plenty of pbs and Club Records.
    Barrie Roberts
    PS. Mark Allen – Do talk to your BvH coaches about technique.They can help you.

  3. Stratford Marathon

    Fantastic day, great experience running Stratford for my first time, another 7 seconds faster and I would have made the 3.45 mark, means I will have to run another one someday! Still a PB for me and I can still claim that for each marathon (6) I have run to date, I have achieved a PB each time! That must be down to BVH. Brilliant BVH support on the day as well.

    A BIG thanks to the sunday runners who I trained with throughout the year, great company and great friends as always. I’m proud to be part of BVH!