A view from the sidelines – Fiona Kennedy reports from the pavement
It’s renowned for the fantastic crowd support around the course, and the 2018 Ealing Half – now in its seventh year – didn’t disappoint. (We probably had more club members supporting and volunteering than actually running… what does that say about us as a club?!)
Half marathon debutant Akira Anzai-Jackson described the atmosphere as “electric”. Martin Daoud “wasn’t expecting such a big event, it took me by surprise I must admit. The support from the crowds along the route was amazing. It was also encouraging to be cheered by some familiar faces from ESM”. Santosh Rai and Andy Leung were out on the course as sector marshals and Wilton Grey claims that “Andy has the biggest voice ever – I think my wife heard him call my name and she was at home in Uxbridge”!
Around 50 members entered the race, and 41 of those got to run it – no-one actually dropped out mid-race, to my knowledge, but injuries and other commitments inevitably stopped some from lining up at the start.
Cath Gunnewicht was determined to take part, despite struggling to regain top form, and declared well before the day that she would be “Jeffing it”. (Using the Jeff Galloway Run Walk Method, to give it its full title!) She duly walked up the hills and found herself to-ing and fro-ing with both Annette Galloway and Jenny Jones: “It was a lot of fun seeing them disappear as I walked, and pushing myself to overtake them once I started running again. Definitely helped push me along!” Less than a minute separated the three in the end, who all ran just outside two hours.
Simon Turrell found motivation of a different sort, having been goaded in the start funnel by a clubmate’s comment: “special thanks to Andy Price for asking me what I was doing in the pen between 1:35 and 1:40 – gave me good motivation!” The result was a big PB, so perhaps Andy’s discovered a useful new coaching tool? Simon had volunteered at the young athletes’ cross country match the previous afternoon, and appreciated the tips and encouragement at around 11 miles from three of our U17 men “as their training run took them alongside and then serenely past”. (Candidates would be Mohamed Ali, Elias Ahmed, Chauncey Edwards and Arun Manget – thank you, whoever you were!)
Phil York confessed that he “approached the race with some trepidation, not having run a half marathon for two years and only racing over 800/1500m this summer”. I admire his honesty when he confesses: “truth be told I was beginning to feel a bit rough as we reached Pitshanger Park, and I tried to put on a brave face and look like a proper athlete as I passed Lynn & Martin Wilson, Fiona and John, who were cheering us on. I had had enough by the time I reached Kent Avenue, and I stopped to chat to my old work boss, who lives in this road. It’s the only chance I ever get to see him. I must have been on the pavement for between 3-4 minutes, and saw Malcolm, Andy Price and Sean Hill pass by. When Martin Daoud and Wilton Grey appeared, I rejoined the race and to my surprise, started to feel good again, even on the approach to Greenford Avenue!”
Phil’s aims were apparently to beat Malcolm Woolsey (he didn’t) and to better my time at Marcq-en-Baroeul two weeks previously (he did). Neither myself nor Malcolm will take that personally, Phil.
Our first finisher was Jon Ellis, his fifth appearance at this event. Most of us have to increase our weekly long run in preparation for a half marathon; not so ultra-runner Jon, whose specialist distance is probably 50 miles: “After a summer of ultra-running, it was quite a shock trying to run vaguely quickly. All the mountain training paid off for Greenford Avenue! I kept passing people on the climbs before being unceremonially caught and dropped on the descents. More speed work needed…!” Jon shaved a few seconds from his 2016 time to clock a new sub-75 PB for this distance. (We did, however, notice that he hadn’t shaved his chin for a very long time!)
Next home was Jonathan Horan who seems to set a new PB every week at the moment. He set a marathon PB of 2:49 at Loch Ness the previous weekend but showed no signs of fatigue as he hacked minutes off his previous best at the half, with his first sub-80. As I saw Jonathan race by in a blur, I couldn’t help thinking he might have been even quicker without the bumbag and extra T-shirt under his vest…
I did notice a lot of runners chewing as they rounded the corner towards the 10 mile mark. According to Martin Daoud there was “an abundance of jelly babies and other sweets being given out by friendly cheering people”. (Hmm, not sure I’d accept sweets from a stranger at any time, let alone during a race). We noticed Martin looking uncomfortable around the ten mile point and it turned out he was getting knee pain, but he still found the race a positive experience and says he’ll be back next year.
ESM has a few “ever-presents”, including Stacey McManus, Sarah Holroyd: “I’ll be back for No.8!”, and Annette: “this was the best Ealing Half for me, having done all seven now… the weather was perfect – cool and sunny – and the crowds are getting bigger and better each year”.
Conversely, Tracey Cliff ran her first half marathon, accompanied round the course by husband Stephen and supported by daughters Susannah and Jennifer. Michael Charles and Lindsay Donoghue have run the EHM before but this was their first as club members, and they also really appreciated the support from club members dotted around the course. Lindsay was “delighted to finish in front of Tom & Jerry and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which was four people”.
As mentioned earlier, 24 year old Akira was tackling the distance for the first time; he’s normally seen racing on the track, so even the Perivale 5 would count as a long race. He announced to Mark Kencroft at the start that he’d be running 1:25, so to deliver 1:24:23 shows an impressive sense of pace.
Mark himself has run 1:25 but hasn’t managed to get back to that level the last couple of years. This year, he’d aimed to run 1:26 (and also beat his boss Kevin Murray, who runs for Serpentine RC!) He set off following 1:25 pacer Tom Easten from Maidenhead AC, who many of us know from Northala Fields parkrun. “I managed to stay with him for around two miles then he and his silver balloon started to move off into the distance”. Mark struggled for the next five miles with a stitch, rallied by 10 miles and began to feel stronger again but had lost too much ground to get back onto pace.
Wilton Grey had run a shade faster at the Marcq-en-Baroeul race two weeks earlier, and perhaps still had fatigue in his legs. At any rate, he said of the EHM that he “loved every minute of it” but that “the last mile felt like 5 miles”. Phil York echoed that sentiment: “The last 500m in Lammas Park seems to take forever, and I was relieved to finish. I was delighted with my time, but the hardest part of the day was to come – on the way home, running up and down the steps on the bridge at North Acton station to catch the West Ruislip Central Line train. Check out Mark Kencroft – he cycled home – hardcore”.
Those of us supporting enjoyed spotting many familiar faces from other local clubs as well as Northala Fields parkrun.
It was also great to see members of CAMB from Ealing’s twin town of Marcq-en-Baroeul: Christian Picaud, Nathalie Golliot, Christophe Dassonville, Fedjhi Brahim, Hafid Aissa, Emily Hedoire, Larbi Aousalah, Isabelle Bonnet-Murray, Sandrine Bourgain, Laurent Vannevel, Romuald Chwastiak, and Frederique Plateaux. Ealing runners who went to the Marcq-en-Baroeul Half were treated to a pre-race pasta party by some of them at Christian’s house.
Well done to all our club members who volunteered. I’m not sure of all the names, but Beverley Packwood, Santosh Rai and Andy Leung were sector managers, Sophie Pesticcio was a marshal, and I’m sure there were many more besides! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any major omissions or errors in this report.
ESM results summary (chip times):
Men (overall position):
7 Jon Ellis (SM) 1:14:51; 12 Jonathan Horan (SM) 1:16:50; 19 Nick Steel (SM) 1:19:17; 78 Akira Anzai-Jackson (SM) 1:24:23; 159 Mark Kencroft (M50) 1:28:00; 203 Rob Brown (M50) 1:29:11; 204 David Goodenough (M55) 1:29:12; 238 Malcolm Woolsey (SM) 1:30:22; 297 Andy Price (M40) 1:32:34; 437 Philip York (M55) 1:35:55; 476 Martin Daoud (M55) 1:36:52; 491 Javaher Sondh (SM) 1:37:04; 514 Sean Hill (SM) 1:37:22; 542 Wilton Grey (M60) 1:37:51; 558 Michael Charles (M45) 1:38:05; 719 Simon Turrell (M50) 1:40:05; 906 Steve Curd (M40) 1:43:08; 1144 Gary Collings (SM) 1:46:40; 1237 Charles Trotman (M55) 1:47:45; 1940 Gerard Donnelly (M65) 1:56:05; 2052 Tony Hursey (M50) 1:57:34; 2274 David Williams (M40) 2:00:01; 2295 Mark Fuller (M50) 2:00:22; 2436 Danny Kilgannon (M45) 2:02:40; 2562 Davinder Sohal (M55) 2:04:54; 3032 Stephen Cliff (M45) 2:13:35
Women (position within women’s field):
77 Olivia Howes Smith (W35) 1:40:56; 216 Tiffany Fontenot (SW) 1:49:29; 428 Stacey McManus W40 1:57:03; 469 Sarah Holroyd (W55) 1:58:16; 476 Marie De Greef (W50) 1:58:23; 508 Kylie Goodman (SW) 1:59:09; 562 Annette Galloway (W50) 2:00:53; 565 Catherine Gunnewicht (W50) 2:01:02; 586 Jennifer Jones (W50) 2:01:41; 718 Maryam Hussain (U20) 2:07:02; 778 Lindsay Donoghue (W45) 2:08:36; 818 Gurmeet Lally (W55) 2:09:55; 907 Tracey Cliff (W45) 2:13:38; 1305 Pringla Awale Rai (W35) 2:32:11; 1355 Nirmal Sohal (W55) 2:36:44
Full results on runbritain