Wimborne Athletic Club

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New Forest Half Marathon - 16th September 2007

I faced the half marathon with a sense of dread and anticipation; I had been ‘encouraged’ to fill in the application form back in May and was under the misconception I had plenty of time to train!!  This was the reason I had joined WAC for which, I have to admit, I am very glad. The support, advice and encouragement from other members had given me the tools to be able to face this day.

I started the day with the obligatory porridge, honey and smoothie!  The weather was looking good, partly cloudy and not too warm. I arrived at New Milton in the runners car park (as per directions) at 9am, the place was alive with other nervous runners like myself and some very scarily fit looking people.  The walk from the car park to the start line was a good 20 minutes these were anxious times, would I find the toilet? We followed the trail of 100s of runners, the atmosphere was fantastic, friendly people all facing the same fate, yes the toilet queue!  There were toilets at various places along the way but I don’t think anyone could supply enough for needs of the of the nervous runners ... the queue I found myself in took 20 minutes!!  Anyway enough about the toilets.

I had arrived at the start and was so very pleased to see a few other faces from WAC. I felt very insignificant standing waiting for the starting pistol, the nerves were writhe, people around me were chatting and laughing, how could they did they not know what was ahead!!  The pistol went off, the cheers went up, the watches all set and we were off ... the streets of New Milton were lined with cheering spectators, a live band was adding to the excitement and this was it.


Ready to go, from left to right,  
Clare Horsley, Marion Main and Sheilagh Howes.


Runners a few yards into the race
in the centre of New Milton.

 

The first three miles flew past with the help of the crowds and people jostling to get into position. The chatting and laughing stopped, and people started to settle down to the running. I don’t think I will ever forget the sound of 100s of feet running, it was an eerie sound but comforting all the same.  The water stations and sponge stops were frequent and gratefully received, the distance markers were clearly visible and the miles started ticking away.  

I think the funniest sight had to be when we got into the open forest, there seemed to be a secret code of men to the bushes on the right and the women to the bushes on the left, needs must I suppose but thank goodness I did not need to join them. I met up with Jools within the first few miles and it was great to have a little chat but her pace was too much for me so I wished her luck and off she went, never to be caught by me!  

I can honestly say I was really enjoying the running I had been worried that it would be really hard and painful but the atmosphere of the day and the friendliness of the runners around me made it ‘easier’.  I couldn’t tell you the route if you paid me, I didn’t really pay much attention I know there were a few hills involved but nothing along the lines of the infamous ‘Cardiac Hill’ so I had no problems.  The whole route had spectators dotted around cheering us on, I spotted a couple of friends and Gary my partner in the crowd, which just added to the enjoyment of the occasion. I was tiring at the 10-11 miles stage, but there was no way I was going to give up or worse still WALK, a couple of jelly beans later and I had my second, or it could have been my third or fourth wind, I settled down again, and then there we were 13 miles down and the last few hundred meters to go … I can honestly say they were the hardest, I’d only concentrated on running 13 miles not that extra few hundred meters!   

As I approached the finish line the crowd started cheering and clapping I felt very honoured until I realised the first finisher in the full marathon was running past me, nevertheless I shared in his glory and passed the finishing line with the most amazing sense of achievement.  I must have been smiling, as the gentleman who handed me my medal said to me ‘You enjoyed that didn’t you’ and I can hand on heart say I really did, it was an incredible experience and I am proud of myself, I had not set off with any times to beat. I just wanted to be able to run every step..and I did, my time was 2hrs 06mins 35 secs, not too bad for a beginner!  So then when should I start training for the full marathon?
 
Can I just add a word of thanks from Fiona and myself for the welcome you have given us into the club, we know we slow you down sometimes but we are trying honestly!

Teresa Ashton

Results
  Jeff Hinsley (240)   1:42:44   
  Dave Timpson (686)   1:56:52   
  Jools Maskell (877)   2:01:38   
  Debbie Whittle (880)   2:01:47   
  Teresa Ashton (992)   2:06:35   
  Julie Gosling (1306)   2:23:54   
  Clare Horsley (1330)   2:24:52 – PERSONAL BEST   
  Marion Main (1331)   2:24:52   
  Sheilagh Howes (1403)   2:31:43   
  Michelle Eggertsen (1409)   2:33:22

 

 
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