Howdie all. Apologies for the lack of activity on the Harriers blog for the past few weeks. Yours truly, the only person with access to the blog, has been away on her travels and without internet access. However, Carly Miller very kindly responded to my call to be a guest blogger for the day and has compiled this following report about the Taunton half and full marathons, which took place on April 6th. Thanks a million to Carly for this detailed account of what sounds like a superb day at the office for all the Harriers representatives on the start line.
On the 6th April, 6 Exmouth Harriers travelled to Taunton to take part in the marathon and half marathon races. The predicted rain held off, leaving the runners with almost ideal cool, dry conditions in which to take on the route. The half marathon is raced over one lap, through the streets of Taunton and out into the Somerset countryside. The race organisers describe the course as undulating, with runners having to contend with a rather large hill at 11 miles. For those competing in the marathon, the hill must be faced twice, as runners complete 2 laps of the half marathon course.
Tom Merson was a last minute entrant to the half marathon, having managed to get a race number from an injured Anthony Hatchard. Following recent controversy over Tom’s choice of racing gear, he decided not to wear his favoured Exmouth vest, and instead opted for one which clearly showed him to be a Bristol and West runner (although not official B&W kit –setting us all a bad example, once again, tut tut!) Despite having raced hard the previous day in the 12 stage road relays, Tom had a fantastic run, winning the race in a time of 1:08:55.
Just behind him (well, 7 minutes), came Adam Miller, finishing second in a time of 1:16:05. Adam had been battling with Torbay’s Arran Tocknell around most of the course, but after climbing the hill together at 11 miles, Adam managed to pull away from him on the long downhill stretch, and open up a 50 second gap. Adam was over the moon with his second place, and, having won his first ever cash prize, tells me he is planning to go professional.
Making her debut at the half marathon distance was Alice Kelly, who set herself a relatively conservative target of 2 hours, which she absolutely smashed, coming home as 7th senior lady in 1:37:19. Alice clearly enjoyed the race, as anyone could see by her beaming face as she completed the last mile. Alice seemed to be running very comfortably, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she managed to improve on that time quite considerably in the future.
Mick Allen also ran the half marathon race, and this year was able to compete in a vet 70 category – a category in which he managed to finish 3rd, in a time of 2:01:44.
Two brave souls, the husband and wife team of Ben and Emma White, chose to take on the marathon. Ben had been struggling with allergy problems leading up to race day, and was therefore not feeling at his best, but chose to give the race a go anyway. It must have taken a lot of grit and determination to turn away from the finish line at half way, and set off on that lonely second lap, but Ben kept going, managing to complete the course in a time of 4:11:50.
His wife, Emma, had a fantastic run, but finished feeling very disappointed after missing a ‘Good for Age’ London qualifying time by less than 90 seconds. After running most of the first after alongside Alice Kelly, and going through halfway in just over 1:40, Emma found the second half tougher, and struggled to stay on pace to achieve her target of a sub 3:45 marathon. Despite this, she finished in a new PB time of 3:46:21, and was the 9th lady home. Hopefully, on reflection, Emma realises what an achievement that time was on a testing course.