Buckingham Half Marathon Report, by Toby Goss

Buckingham half marathon – Sunday 8th April 2018

This was only my second half marathon since I started running in earnest around a year ago, and since joining the club at the beginning of the year. Very kindly, Becky Evins was giving me a lift! It was already warm relatively early in the morning, and I was preparing myself to sweat a lot and take full advantage of the drinks stations.

It was only the second Buckingham half marathon, and numbers were much increased from the inaugural race last year. Parking was relatively fuss free, although we did arrive in plenty of time (always recommended). Facilities were good, but some were surprised to see chips were to be worn on bracelets around the ankle, rather than being attached to the back of one’s race number. Apparently this isn’t seen as the most effective way of wearing a chip, but being a newbie I took it in my stride.
I’d decided to take advantage of one of the pacers on offer – the catch being that he’d be running at a pace 5 minutes faster than my first time in the White Horse Half. This proved to be a little over ambitious, as the course, while very picturesque, included hills. Lots of them. In fact, from my position, the course seemed to be constantly rising and falling! This, coupled with the very warm and humid weather, made for quite a tough race. Even the more seasoned runners commented on the difficulty of the course afterwards. This was, of course, no fault of the organisers. The course was mostly set in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside, there were enough drinks stations, for me anyway (although the only option was bottles rather than cups of water, which I thought was a bit wasteful as I wasn’t planning on carrying a bottle with me and had to discard most of it), and some marshals handing out sweets, which was a very good idea.

I kept up with my pacer until roughly half way through the race, where I realised I was getting further and further behind and couldn’t keep my speed up sufficiently. It was a tough 7 miles or so to the finish for me after that, as I was more tired than if I’d kept to my own pace. But I still enjoyed it, and there was lots of support from the sidelines. In the end, I got a PB by getting on for a minute, so perhaps it was a good decision after all. There were ten of us from the club who ran the race, with Becky Evins getting a PB as well. The outstanding performances on the day were by Robert Storey, who came 2 nd overall, 1 st in his age category (MV50), and used his Joker; and Kate Allred, who was 2nd lady overall, nabbed a PB, and grabbed the Club LV45 record! Chris Williams was our second best placed runner in 11th place, as well as using his Joker, with Richard Hume only just over ten seconds behind in 12th place.

And then – lots of cake as a reward at the finish. Almost as good as the selection on offer at our own 10k race, but not quite! I really recommend this race to other runners in the club – it’s a challenging but enjoyable course, well organised, and one of the cheaper half marathons in our area at just over £20 to enter. Let’s see if we can get a bigger contingent next year!