Ealing Half Marathon – Lammas Park – Sun 29 Sep 2013

We fielded 21 runners in this year’s Ealing Half Marathon, with ages ranging from twenty-one to sixty-four, and the club acquitted itself well. There was one top ten finish and an age category winner. Three athletes achieved personal best times, despite the undulating course, and two others made a successful half marathon debut.

With a clutch of new PBs to his name this year, including a sub-70 half marathon, Rob Wilson returned hopeful of improving on his third place last year. Unfortunately, the presence of elite runners from overseas put paid to that. For the first 5 miles, he battled for sixth position with Jonathan Poole of Serpentine. Jonathan managed to break away to close up on Sam Barnes of Blackheath & Bromley in fifth. Rob held on well, closing slightly on the uphills but losing ground again on the downhills. Despite putting in an even stronger performance than last year, he was unable to improve on 7th place in 72:21.

The fast-improving Jon Ellis set a huge PB of three minutes, finishing 17th overall in 76:38. He settled into a strong group early on. It was a much faster pace than he was used to, but he opted to stick with the group, hopeful of a sub-75 clocking. About nine miles in, he started to tire and lost contact with the group, but the support through West Ealing helped keep him going. With a few hundred metres to go, he found the strength to gain an extra few places in the finishing sprint.

By contrast, after his splendid PB two weeks ago in Bristol, Steve Elson opted to enjoy “that Ealing feeling”, coasting round in 80:05.

In the women’s field, W55 veteran Fiona Kennedy finished eleventh in 87:01. This was the fastest performance by any woman over 45. It was also the second best age-graded performance after race winner Matthew Kimutai.

Of those tackling their first half marathon, twenty-one year old Seb Zajaczkowski made a promising debut in 79:10, while fast improving W45 Jane Ruhland just missed the 100 minute barrier in 1:40:33.

The biggest improver of the day was Hiren Dhanecha, whose 92:24 sliced five minutes from his personal best and a full eight minutes from his performance last year. It was his birthday on Sunday and he described it as “the best present I could really ask for”. John McKim was also delighted to knock four minutes off his previous best with a 95:05 clocking.

There was a strong performance from James Steel, who was the first of the club’s male veterans in 84:55. The 44 year old was an agonising three seconds short of his personal best. W45 veteran Claudia Manera was in a similar position, just two seconds outside her best in 98:49. Another fine effort was seen from W50 Christine Meek, just two minutes outside her personal best in 1:41:36, despite losing much of the year to injury.

Rob Brown and Laurence Messer were both a long way outside their personal best, but nonetheless turned in a significantly faster time than last year. Rob’s 86:09 was a minute quicker. Retired lawyer Laurence was part of the race organising committee, but the 64 year old still put in the training to knock 12 minutes from his 2012 effort, finishing just 57 seconds outside the two-hour barrier. This was his best performance for 10 years. Tom Yates sliced a few seconds off last year’s time, coming in on 88:50.

M40 veteran Alex Perrin ran his first half for many years, and clocked a creditable 91:24. Sarah Gerrie also tackled the distance for the first time in years and finished in 99:54.

As ever, there were a few people who were not on top form due to illness or injury, but were determined not to miss the experience. After a prolonged injury absence, Andrew Morris surprised everyone, not least himself, by completing the 13 miles in 2:03:03, despite having run no longer than 4 miles in training. He commented afterwards that the sponsorship he’d raised helped spur him on. Matt Savory, Darren Halford, Ben Hagreen and Gary Stringer would probably all agree that they’ve had better races, but we’ve all been there, haven’t we!

Well done to all who took part.

Results are here