Ealing Half Marathon, 26th September

(Report by Sarah Harris)

Mild and slightly muggy conditions welcomed the much anticipated return of the Ealing Half Marathon, in its 9th year. More than 30 members of ESM took part, including a range of first-timers at this distance to more seasoned veterans. The number of runners overall was markedly reduced compared to previous years, with 2,231 participants compared with 4,113 in 2019, meaning the start was much less congested. As always the organisation of this race was excellent, with an efficient bag drop, and a well-planned route with adequate water stops and plenty of pacers.

So how was it? It was tough! As always. But our journey along this undulating, twisty course was made easier by the fantastic atmosphere and tremendous support that lined the route of this much loved community event. I know I’m not alone in feeling hugely thankful for all those who turned up to support. Events like this only happen because of the volunteers, and we’re indebted to all those who stepped up, including ESM members Beverley, Sophie, Andy (with excellent signage!), megaphone-Rachel, Claire, Sally and Sean (apologies if I’ve missed anyone), while also offering shouts of encouragement. We were also so grateful to hear the up-lifting yells and cheers from Team Wilson, Breege and Jessica, Malcolm, Shona, Santosh, Laurence, Carol, Simon and Alison, amongst others in the wonderful crowds.

 And how did we do? Pretty well. Amongst our 34 runners there was a decent handful of 11 personal bests achieved, which included eight first-timers at this distance.

Elias Ahmed led the men home in an impressive time of just under 1:14 and Oscar Jones was our second man over the line with a time of 1:20 (Elias and Oscar finished 4th and 11th in the men’s race, respectively). The fact that I believe this was Elias and Oscar’s first half marathon race makes these times even more notable. Nick Steel remarked on the start line that he’d found little time for running recently and thought he’d probably get around in 1:30, so I was happy to see him pull out a speedy 1:23:44, making him our third man home (and 21st in the senior men’s race). Next back were first-timers Marcus West, Sam Gunnewicht and Rafa Davison-Agapito, plus in-form Howard Sparks, who all managed to get over the line in less than one and half hours. Veterans Ian Leslie (3rd in the V60 age category), Rob Brown, Stephen Morris and Wilton Grey clocked up times between 1:32 and 1:37, with age gradings between an admirable 72 and 79 percent. PBs were also happily achieved by Will Wyatt, Liam Kencroft (who is continuing to go from strength to strength!), Mark Fuller and John Rowe.

Sarah Harris was our first woman home, with a time of 1:34:29 giving her 7th place in the overall women’s race and 3rd in the V35 age category. Next back from the women’s team was Olivia Howes Smith in just under 1:45 and Aneta Neumann in just over 1:55, who ran this as a training run for the London Marathon. Sarah Holroyd and Barbro Julin clocked in at just over the two-hour mark placing them 9th and 11th in their age category, respectively, and were followed by senior Tara Chandler. Debra Booker and Catherine Gunnewicht followed in with a first-timer’s PB and some more training miles in the bank for the London marathon, respectively. Annette Galloway, Mariona Sorrosal, Gurmeet Lally, first-timer Juliet Wilcox and Stacey Manus completed the women’s team and all got over the line within a very respectable 2:15.

Thank you Ealing Half Marathon! We missed you and we hope to see you again next year!