It was a 5.00am start on Sunday morning. Up, dressed, quick peanut butter & jam toast before heading out of the door to Reading, to run my first half marathon for 25 years!! Having not been involved with one of these events for such a long time, I was rather unorganised. I had not thought to pre-book parking, I forgot to wear my CLIC Sargent running vest, and my race number had not arrived in the post! With 16,500 people entered to run the race, I had to get to Reading good and early to ensure I could get parked & arrive at the venue (The Madejski Stadium) in good time.

I was parked & bussed into the Stadium by 7.30am! And there was 3 hours before the race started! Luckily being a big venue, there was a hotel on-site, so I was able to hole up for a few hours, keep warm & drink hot coffee.

I entered the 1/2 marathon as one of my 12 monthly challenges to complete during my 50th year. The weather was atrocious, and with limited training, I knew there were going to be no PB’s (the fastest time I ran a half marathon in my youth was 1.45hrs) Today I was aiming for around 3 hours! The hotel quickly filled up with runners; my nerves escalated at about the same pace! About 30 mins before the race I braved the elements, dropped my ruck sack in the bag zone & donned my sexy bin liner! Which did keep me reasonably dry in the 10 minute walk to the start line, and during the 30mins it took me to cross the start line! I managed to find Janine, who had supported me on the WHW , she was dressed in her usual duck outfit! We started out at a very gentle jog, and the first couple of miles were tortuous …. my calf muscles were still very tight from the 70 mile walk 2 weeks prior! I was quite concerned that I was going to suffer a major strain, but they did settle down. The local people were amazingly supportive, it rained heavily most of the 13 miles, but they were out on every street corner shouting encouragement. The music and bands were particularly uplifting! By about mile 7 Janine (aka the Rambling Duck) and I had got into a good pace, me doing a brisk walk, and Janine, who was still suffering from an SI injury doing a slow jog! We were evenly matched and kept a pretty constant 4.5 mph!

We needed to keep up a reasonable pace, to keep warm, We ran in pouring rain, sleet and hail. I had 3 layers on and a light showerproof wind jacket, and I never got remotely hot. my hands felt cold most the way round, and I got through 2 pairs of gloves! The Reading half marathon does have an impressive stadium finish, and Janine & I crossed the line at bang on 3 hours for 13.1 miles. You can see the route HERE. We collected our medals & goody bags. It was too cold & I was very bedraggled, so made a quick exit, collecting my belongings from the drop zone! It took me the best part of an hour to get the bus back into Reading, and get to my car, where I was very pleased to be able to change into some dry clothes! I have been saying for years that running is bad for you …. Now I know I am right! All future running will be off road, and it will be at least another 25 years before I enter a 1/2 marathon again!!

Once again people have been amazingly supportive & generous. I set myself the target of raising £175 for CLIC Sargent. The total is now £200 and Simply Stuck  have matched that funding – giving a great total of £400. Thanks so much. X

Very Wet … but still smiling!

I have now completed 2 of my challenges! The next 3 are:

  • Snow Shoeing in Meribel
  • Chocolate Making
  • 50KM Bike Ride round Stonehenge