No obvious mishaps with baggage, a properly marked out and thought through course, and, vitally, a decent number of toilets! (The only logistics failure I am aware of was in my own tussle with public transport that saw me totally miss the pre-run meet up with the rest of the other Runners Need crew. *Looks like the Camden Town Runners Need staff need to rethink their race travel tactics!*
In some ways it feels odd that a race of this magnitude hadn’t been put on in the area before. The Surrey countryside must be some of the most appealing running and cycling territory in the country, and unlike other beauty spots there actually is a large and enthusiastic population using it every weekend. Sure enough, a beautiful early spring day saw over four thousand runners snake around the Spectrum sports centre on the northern edge of Guildford ready to head out along a green and pleasant route to Woking. And right back again.
It’s fair to say the course is a little undulating. There’s nothing to fear for the flatlander but it’s by no means a guaranteed PB. And there was certainly no personal best for me as I found a troublesome calf flaring up in the second half. On other days I may have been tempted to drop out as my pace slowed and slowed, but with the support of the runners heading in the opposite direction and the glorious sun shining it would’ve been churlish to feel sorry for myself. And after a few painful kilometres, the finish really put a spring back in my step as I ran onto the Spectrum athletics track and hundreds of spectators cheering my final strides came into view. Proof of how benign the course is came a few minutes after I finished when my girlfriend came onto the track with no sign of injury and having paced the race well. Result: a new half marathon best by a handy five minutes.