A 5am alarm call and freezing cold morning didn’t put off intrepid Cheddar Runners Jenny McNamara and Phil Johnson, who ran the 31st Wokingham Half Marathon on Sunday 12th February. The 2.5 hour journey didn’t seem so bad thanks to a bit of snoozing on Jen’s part and some great 80s tunes. Parking was a doddle too thanks to coach Roach’s top tip!
Jenny writes, “the warm-up showed it was going to be cold and windy, so long clothes were chosen from the wardrobe of options I brought with me. I soon regretted not wearing gloves when my hands froze in the second half of the race and I couldn’t squeeze my energy gels into my mouth without getting it all down my face/vest! From the outset I felt strong and had to keep checking my pace to make sure I didn’t overcook it. It is a PB course with a lot of long gentle downhill sections, but I knew from last year that the last couple of miles have a few motorway bridges and are into the wind so I didn’t want to be struggling by that point. I have struggled to get back to fitness after a tough London marathon in 2016, so it was amazing to feel strong and be able to push on to the last. Those 50 miles logged over Christmas week (and the rest) were definitely worth it! As I approached the final turn I didn’t quite catch what the guy next to said about how I might just squeak under a particular time- I assumed he meant 1hr 30, which I would have been ecstatic with, but after a final effort I crossed the line in a massive personal best time of 1:27:57, knocking 1min 26 seconds off my Cardiff time from March 2016. At this moment in the racing year that puts me in 16th place in the UK rankings for the V35 category at this distance! To say I am chuffed is an understatement- I couldn’t have done it without coach Roach’s help”.
Phil adds, “it was well worth the outing to the Woky kokey, and I will definitely be back next year for my annual half marathon. The course is almost flat, and the wind was kind in comparison to 2016! I was initially a bit disappointed with a 1 second improvement on my time from last year, but it turned out I had actually beaten my personal best by 1 minute 1 second, to finish in 1:34:52.” This ranks Phil 129th in the UK for the V50 category for this distance. After an excitable cool down and a bit of refuelling, the journey home went quickly and both athletes retreated to their homes for a bit of R&R.