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White Horse Half Marathon (07/04/2024)

Report by: Toby Cartright
Distance: Half marathon, of course
Location: Grove, near Wantage
Web link: whitehorseharriers.uk/halfmarathon/

Event Details: A popular road half marathon organised by White Horse Harriers AC. This was the 39th edition of the event, having been cancelled in 2020 & 2021 due to Covid, and again in 2023 due to flooding.

Before the race: The official parking was a long walk from race HQ & the finish line – will be parking elsewhere next time.

Who ran: Toby, Matt, Dawn, Dave G-A, Chris (Noz), Christie, Jane plus ex-member Gareth (Chairbow)

The Race:
The race is run on a level and attractive rural course through the country villages of the Vale of the White Horse. Starting from Grove the course follows quiet country lanes through the villages of Denchworth, Lyford and Charney Bassett.

This is a well organised event which several BDRC members have run many times over the years. After it was cancelled last minute in 2023 it was good to see the event take place, with 424 finishers. However, given the rainfall over the previous days it almost didn’t happen again with parts of the course clearly only just dry enough. Parts of the course have badly deteriorated with potholes etc but WHH did a great job clearly marking these with traffic cones.

The wind really made this a race of two halves. The course follows an anti-clockwise loop with the first and last miles following the same out & back road. The wind was largely with us until about mile 7 but then turned into a vicious headwind until about mile 11. Any gains made in the first half of the race were sadly undone in the second half and everyone seemed to agree that this was as much a mental battle as physical!

WHH always offer a commemorative mug to all finishers which makes a nice change from a medal or t-shirt. There were also spot prizes and I understand Noz was the winner of a bottle of wine, although he clearly doesn’t understand the concept of sharing.

Great to see Chairbow who’d made the dash across from Wales to join in and smash out another stonking run.

Sadly Dave G-A had to pull out at 3 miles due to a calf injury but great of him to wait at the finish to cheer some of us in. Also Dave Herring unable to run due to injury but look forward to seeing him pounding the tarmac again soon.

BDRC Results:
Gareth B: 1:26:14
Toby C: 1:32:26 (PB)
Matt W: 1:40:38
Dawn B: 1:46:00
Chris N: 1:46:56
Christie L: 2:26:43
Jane R: 2:28:09

Funny Moments
Speaking to Christie before the race and she casually drops into the conversation that she’s fractured her elbow but is running anyway – full respect!

See above Noz not sharing his prize bottle of wine.

My brother cycling a 20 mile round trip with his daughter in a bike trailer in the howling wind to support BDRC was great!

Would you recommend?
This is one of my favourite half marathons and I’d recommend it to everyone. It’s an ideal PB course and well organised with great support from the marshals.

Westonbirt House Easter 10K (29/03/2024)

Report by: Derek Boughton
Distance: 10km
Location: Westonbirt near Tetbury Gloucestershire GL8 8QG
Web link: dbmax.co.uk/events/westonbirt-house-easter-10k-2024/

Event Details: There is also a half marathon starting at 9.30. The 10K starts at midday. Pacers provided for most time targets. The 10K is two laps on country lanes and about 1K each lap though the school grounds. Seemed more traffic that two years ago though no real impact on run.

Before the race: Very good parking. Registration very efficient. Separate gent’s loos. I thought a lot of loos but I heard some people saying their friends were still in the loo queue at race start time. The loos are some distances from the start so I’d say if you need a final “Stress Wee” give yourself an extra 10 minutes. Early affiliated entry £22 – a quality medal – no t-shirt but excellent very large jelly snake to eat at the finish! Bar coffee and food available (I did not).

Who ran: Alison (Ali) Young and Derek Boughton

The Race:
10K is 2 laps. Two hills each lap. Excellent Pacers and Marshalls. Each lap has about a 3K fairly flat section but worth conserving a little energy for the final 1K of which the first half is uphill. Thanks to my wife (Helena) for the support and photographs.

BDRC Results:
Ali 1:08:21 and I believe a new 5K PB on the first 5K and then a new 5K PB on the second PB 5K – negative splits! Ali was aiming for sub 1:10 so absolutely smashed!

Derek 53:55 – aiming for sub 55:00. The two Pacers thought I was in a lot of trouble at half way but memories of Humphries Hills and also Macca’s strong pace on this last Tuesday evening kept me going!

Funny Moments
1. Having shirt back to front all day – I think I styled it out!

2. Two people from Brackley independently choosing to do a 10K 70 miles and an hour and a half from home. 3. I did it as an excuse to meet up with assorted friends – some of which have known for 45 years – Ali then proceeded to do a lot of the race alongside two of my friends!

Would you recommend?
Well organised, pleasant setting, large car park for picnic and Cava after the race if that is your thing (yes please!). Pacers were excellent so if you have a time in mind then you can achieve it but as the course is not flat then other than Ali a PB might be a struggle!