The Ealing Feeling – Not just for the Runners
By Jav Sondh
The 24th September saw one of the largest annual events of the ESM club championships take place. The sixth edition of the Ealing Half Marathon would see over 40 members of Ealing Southall & Middlesex AC complete the course in conditions that were not ideal for fast times. But through pure determination (well stubbornness), ESM’s runners did themselves and their club proud.
As with previous years, the organisation of the event was faultless, bags were dropped off, warm ups and last-minute preparations were completed and there was an excited, if nervous, atmosphere at the start. With clear blue skies and rising temperatures, one of the most important parts of the race would be to remain hydrated and cool, a point repeated throughout the race and the numerous water stops. The 9am start, an hour earlier than in previous years, was therefore a welcome change as the conditions began warming up.
The ESM team ranged from 17 to 60 in age, and covered a wide range of abilities, but all were united in their determination and resolve to give their local half marathon everything they had. Some of the squad were running their first race over the distance, whereas others were seasoned veterans, with a few having run every edition of the race since it started in 2012. The course around the streets of Ealing was as tough as always, with the novelty of running on a car-free Uxbridge Road fading quickly. As with previous years, it was the hill, sorry I mean mountain, on Greenford Avenue that presented one of the greatest challenges. But what made the race bearable, and almost pleasurable, was the level of support provided all along the route. According to the event website, there were 700 volunteers and 30,000 spectators. Having run the race, it felt as if half those numbers were made up of ESM members.
So here goes a quick thank you list of the ESM supporters. Before anyone says anything, I know there were a lot more, so please let us know if anyone has been missed out – you were all amazing:
- Claire King, Debbie Gorman and Nilu Rai Dewan near the St Stephens Church water station
- Lynn and Martin Wilson at the entrance and exit to Pitshanger Park
- Sarah Harris and Andrew Price with their respective families at ‘Sick note corner’
- Patricia Thomas and Sarah Richardson – I can’t remember where
- Beata King at St Stephen’s Church Water Station
- Steve Curd at the top of Cuckoo Avenue,
- Beverley Packwood at the start of the Greenford Avenue Hill
- Pringla and family at the Bunny Park water station
- Sarah Gerrie and family cheering at Brent Lodge Park
- Phil York at Alwyne Road Park
- Michael Hellyer at Lammas Park
- Fiona Kennedy and John Falvey at multiple locations
- Philip Prince located wherever his bike would take him
- Sally Murnaghan & Maria Lancaster were out there somewhere, Stacey McManus tells me…
- …and finally Nick Steel, who didn’t wake up in time to run but still came to support!
I know that I’m speaking for every runner when I say a massive thank you as it was due to your support and the sight of so many friendly and familiar faces that kept everyone going strong.
As for the runners themselves, despite the heat and conditions, there were some amazing and noteworthy finishers. Not counting second-claim member Chris Dettmar (V45), who finished 14th in 1:16:53, seventeen-year-old George Kerry was the first ESM runner to finish, in an impressive 31st place with a time of 1:21:51. A great result, especially when you consider it was his first half marathon. He was joined by two other 17-year-old debutants: Roisin Lynch and Luke Adar.
Triathlete Sabina Lima was the first ESM woman to cross the line (46th woman), and Leanne Smith was our second finisher (50th woman). Sabina didn’t state her club name when entering, and she wasn’t wearing a club vest, so you can be forgiven for not spotting her!
Ian Leslie, Mark Kencroft, Wilton Grey, Rob Brown and Mark Delahunty all came in the top ten of their respective age categories, with Ian topping the V60s! (He also got the highest age-grading among our club runners).
Personal Best times were recorded by Kevin Falvey, Clive Richardson, Sabina, Shona Cowper and Sophie Pesticcio, so well done to them.
The Ealing Half Marathon is a real community event not just for the borough, but also for our club. With so many out on the streets, whether they were running or supporting, they all highlight the weird and wonderful family that is Ealing Southall and Middlesex AC. Thank you and well done all!
PS I couldn’t leave this post without mentioning some of the supportive signs that were on display around the course. From the lovely to the surreal to the shockingly rude and hilarious. I would love to make a list of my top 5 but I know at least two of them may result in this post being taken down. So instead I will leave you with the words of one sign that simply read “Why do all the pretty ones keep running away?” Why indeed…!
ESM results summary
Men: 31 George Kerry 1:21:50.9 (U20); 39 Mark Delahunty 1:22:30.9 (V40); 141 Mark Kencroft 1:28:14.3 (V50); 166 Elliot Jones 1:29:00.5; 195 Rob Brown 1:30:19.8 (V50); 198 James Steel 1:30:39.9 (V40); 255 Ian Leslie 1:32:40.6 (V60); 259 Darren Young 1:32:49.9 (V40); 285 Luke Adar (U20) 1:33:12.2; 446 Javaher Sondh 1:37:13.6; 551 Alex Perrin (V45) 1:39.15; 544 Marcus Cook 1:38:54.3; 593 Malcolm Woolsey 1:39:37.3; 612 Kevin Falvey 1:40:06.0; 671 Wilton Grey 1:41:04.6 (V60); 721 Clive Richardson 1:41:57.8 (V40); 778 Andy Leung 1:42:55.8 (V40); 1063 Gary Collings 1:46:57.2; 1881 Davinder Sohal 1:56:47.0 (V50); 2221 Mark Fuller 2:01:45.3 (V50); 2383 Iskandar Mohammedi 2:05:34.4 (V40); 2638 Tony Hursey 2:08:36.5 (V50); 2656 Bhupinder Gill 2:08:58.8 (V40); 3114 David Williams 2:13:49.0 (V40); 3639 Andrew Neary 2:23:45.5;
Women: 46 Sabina Lima (V40) 1:38.46; 50 Leanne Smith 1:40:18.9; 62 Shona Cowper 1:41:27.4; 98 Olivia Howes Smith 1:44:37.9 (V35); 220 Kate Fraser 1:52:25.4 (V35); 249 Roisin Lynch 1:54:54.7 (U20); 275 Aneta Neumann 1:55:32.9 (V35); 324 Sophie Pesticcio 1:57:49.8 (V35); 337 Louise Prince 1:57:49.8 (V45); 423 Stacey McManus 2:00:56.7 (V35); 488 Sarah Holroyd 2:01:32.5 (V55); 489 Annette Galloway 2:01:45.7 (V45); 591 Miss Terry Rana 2:08:20.4 (V45); 593 Danielle Mercey 2:04:04.1 (V55); 769 Jennifer Jones 2:10:52.6 (V45); 1352 Sughra Mohammedi 2:33:54.4; 1505 Nirmal Sohal 2:51:55.9 (V55)