Report by Ashley Robinson
No, not a cheap round in the pub. Jasper and I ran three half marathons in the last four weeks.
Running between the sea and the sky, the Severn bridge half marathon offered exhilarating views both up & down river and into the distance. The wind was little more than a stiff breeze, making it possible to run quite steadily, but there was quite a noticeable slope both ways to the apex of the bridge. The day dawned bright and sunny but mercifully clouded over just before the start. We ran from the Welsh side to England on the eastbound carriageway of the M48 then headed back across the bridge into Wales on the pedestrian & cycle way upstream of the motorway, then repeated the same route. We had extra bits, running around cones at both ends to make up the 21km.
There were 3 sky blue Croft shirts on view, and all three of us felt pretty pleased with our performances. Jasper followed up his Shrewsbury 10k PB with a half marathon PB of 1.23.52, finishing 36th out of 426 & 2nd under–23. Not only that but he was half a minute faster over the first 10K than he was the previous week.
Bryn Roberts was making his half marathon debut, aiming at around 2 hours, but quite pleased with 2 hours 3 minutes.
After limping my way through the last 2k in Shrewsbury, my first goal was to finish in good shape. The second was 1 hour 45, which I achieved (1h45.06). The third was winning my age group, which I did by 7 minutes.
At about 13 k near the apex of the bridge crossing into England for the second time, a couple of venerable looking runners passed me. “I’m not having that!” I thought, chased them down & established a slender lead before the water station at the beginning of the bridge back to Wales, but from then on ran strongly and left them a little way behind. Turns out they were actually MV60s, but I couldn’t know that at the time.
The winner crossed the line in 1.11.05
Two weeks later we did the Richmond half, in which I made my debut representing England Masters. It was described as pancake flat and I was hoping for about1hr40
After running 3 miles or so around the footpaths of Kew Gardens, we followed the Thames towpath under Twickenham bridge, under Richmond bridge and on to Teddington lock. there we turned away from the river to run round Petersham common, before returning to the towpath and retracing our steps, finishing in Old Deer Park.
At about 9 miles my legs started seizing up. I ran slower and slower and finished in a very disappointing 2.01. My kilometre splits illustrated it perfectly – 4.13 for the first k, 7.52 for the last. However, my disappointment was banished by Jasper’s performance. His time was1.22 – PB for the third race in a row – 67th out of 10996 finishers and 1st out of 73 in the 18 – 24 year group, more than five minutes ahead of the second place.
There were no other Crofties there, but at the finish we bumped into WVR’s Bryan Symonds and Anthony Waddington from Hereford tri club.
Time for redemption at the Hereford half which took place last Sunday. It’s reputed to be the hilliest half in the country. the weather was sunny and bright, but not too hot.
From about mile 5 I found myself running with a lady called Annaulle from Malvern Joggers, who paced herself perfectly throughout the race. I felt I got stronger as the race went on and from about mile 10 started to distance her and finished in a very pleasing 1.48. I was 57th male, 1st in my age group by 51 minutes and 2nd MV65. Jasper’s pace pal for most of the race was Matt James but he left him behind in the latter stages to finish 7th overall in 1.23.45.