Needles Half Marathon 7/6/15 by Ken Beak

pre needles

Thanks to Ken for this report.
Today I did my first half marathon. I thoroughly enjoyed the run (with the possible exception of the last mile). I hadn’t run the course but knew what to expect in terms of gradient. I had run the distance on a couple of occasions in the previous month which is reassuring.

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The 12 Harriers gathered amongst 350 runners at the start. The start runs across the playing field, then a brief patch of road before entering a lovely network of countryside paths. This takes you to Yarmouth aided by very helpful scouts holding gates open and directing runners. This is a beautiful section of the course and is largely flat through woods and farmland. Then we crossed a road and onto another very pleasant section which meanders along the coast towards Totland. It was dappled shade and gently undulating..again very pleasant running. Then followed a glimpse of the Tennyson monument looming in the distance as we headed towards a beach section of the run. It was great to run on the beach and the sea looked very tempting, but there was a lot of uphill to go before we got to 10 mile mark at the top! The path off the beach was steep, Headon Warren was hot and steep, followed by a downhill to Alum Bay where Tom Blackwell added a new move to his repertoire, which should have an exotic name but we call it tripping up and falling into gorse bushes and stinging nettles! I was not fast enough to witness this event but knowing Tom as we do, I’m sure he did it really well!

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Then came a plod through Alum Bay park which I found really hard and especially hot, before turning towards the Needles and a steady but punishing climb on tarmac to the start of the downland section. The views were stunning on such a lovely day but it was hard work. The downs surface at the top is lovely with springy turf and the gradient less punishing to run on, if you still have any spring left in your legs! As you push towards the Tennyson monument and the 10 mile mark you can start to imagine the end being in sight which eases the pain of tired legs and bursting lungs (views still great by the way!). After the monument it’s 1.5 miles downhill to Freshwater bay, only I was wishing for a bit more spring in the legs to take advantage. Cross the road and onto another scenic and wooded path to Freshwater town, where we end on a reverse section of the outward course, only feeling a lot more tired and hot. A brief blast across the playing field to the finish where I did my best to look as though I was indeed still running, and then an impressive medal and collapse under the shade of a tree!

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Thank you to the marshals and race organisers. It was also very good to see familiar faces (Chris Powell, Ceri Lewis, John Law and Chris Lewis) helping with timing on the finish line.

Adam Tuck 1:26:44
Simon Newnham 1:34:03
Tom Blackwell 1:37:37
Bryan Jones 1:51:14
Simon Joy 1:54:44
Cherry Shannon 1:57:13
Rod Parker 1:58:10
Ken Beak 1:58:32
Rosie Eldridge 2:02:41
Sally Roberts 2:12:51
Deb Joy 3:05:31
Angela Lock 3:30:39

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