Written by Sarah Harris
On Sunday, 24th September, 44 ESM members lined up among 3,039 runners for the eleventh Ealing Half Marathon. There was the usual nervous energy and excitement amidst the green and gold camaraderie. Race conditions were near perfect, and this fantastic local event was as well organised as ever by the Ealing Half Marathon CIC (Community Interest Company).
Elias Ahmed led the race right from the starting gun, and his superb performance won him first place in the men’s race with a time of 1:10:33. Amazingly, this is not even close to a PB for him, and it’s all the more impressive as he effectively ran the entire race alone! Next up for ESM was Simon Shaw, bringing it home in a ridiculously fast 1:14:54, which won him first place in the V50 category and 5th place overall. He didn’t stay still long enough afterwards to pick up his category prize, however, as by that point, he’d already run home (of course, he’d also run a few extra miles to get there in the morning: this is the dictionary definition of hardcore). Next up from the men’s team were really strong performances by Tyler Bowcombe (only a minute off his PB set earlier this year), Jonathon Horan, and Nick Steel, impressively taking 17th, 22nd and 27th place, respectively. Pete Flewitt was next in taking second place in the V50 category, closely followed by a great half marathon debut for the club from new member Sandip Bhogal. Both on marathon training schedules, Martin Daoud and Wilton Grey took second and fourth place in the V60 category. Another notable achievement was from Malcolm Woolsey, who ran this in aid of the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity and also to raise awareness of endocarditis. It was Malcolm’s longest race since his illness and open heart surgery in 2021. He was unsure he would achieve that coveted sub 2 hours, but in the end, thanks to unrelenting training, he came in at a fabulous 1.57.38.
The front end of the women’s race was notably more competitive than last year. Sarah Gerrie was first back for the women in a superb 4th place with a time of 1:26:45, which took more than two minutes off her PB from last year. I was next in from the women’s team in 16th place (fourth V45), pleased to take more than a minute off my PB (1:32:25), followed by Rosalba Ostik, who was eighth in the same age category (1:40:35). Next in were Tara Chandler, Barbro Julin, (probably felt like a jog around the block for this endurance runner!) and Sarah Holroyd who has completed all of the Ealing Half Marathons — along with Stacy McManus. Catherine Gunnewicht was next in with her fastest half-marathon time since 2018 (2:04:02), which she was deservedly very happy with. Cath summed up her thoughts of the race: “Absolutely loved my run, the atmosphere was incredible, and first time in ages I haven’t ‘jeffed’ a half marathon.” I think we’d all concur with Cath that the atmosphere and crowd support along the route didn’t disappoint. We’re also grateful for all who volunteered and other ESMers, family and friends who came to support. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was particularly encouraged by shouts of support from Jav, Gurmeet, team Wilson, Olivia, Bev, and, of course, Andy ‘the lungs’ Leung close to the final stretch.