Race Reports by Angela Parker and Julian Manser
On Sunday 10th May 2015, Julian Manser and I went to Halstead in Essex to run the 21st Halstead and Essex Marathon. This was my debut marathon and on the morning of the race I did get a bit nervous. I was staying in Colchester and my cousins arrive at 8.15 to take me to Halstead. Once there I was much calmer. It was a glorious day, the sun was shining and the wind, which had dominated the weather in previous days, had eased considerably to become a welcoming breeze.
The race was solely organised by Halstead Road Runners and much of the proceeds went to local charities. This marathon incorporated the Essex County Championships. The race started and finished at Halstead Leisure Centre, the race head quarters. All the runner’s needs were catered for here and we collected our race numbers and chip here also. This was a very well organised marathon.
The race started on time and took us through the quiet and picturesque country lanes of Essex. The route had been changed slightly for 2015. It was an undulating course with small valleys, quite a lot of them. I chatted with some runners on the course and they said that it was now harder than previous years. The course took us through the lovely villages of Pebmarsh, Colne Engaine and Twinstead. Part way through the course was a 10.5 mile loop, most of which is run twice. This did not bother me as I could not remember this part of the route the first time round. I remember around mile 16 running down into a valley and seeing a really pretty pink house at the bottom. The owners were in their garden watching the race and I complimented them on a lovely house. They wished me good luck and I proceeded to run up the other side of the valley.
There were 6 water stations every three miles which served the runners 10 times plus 2 sponge stations which served the runners 4 times. The volunteers along the route were wonderful and did a fantastic job. Just after 5 miles of running, I started to get pins and needles in my left foot. I stopped to adjust my laces, but it would not ease. I asked the first available marshal to help and check that my chip was not fastened too tightly. He obliged and toggled with the chip and adjusted my laces for me. It did the trick as the pins and needles went.
The race was not traffic free, but there was hardly any traffic on the roads for much of the race and the drivers were very respectful of the runners. At mile 22 the traffic seemed to get busy and I started to get a bit stressed about this. I kept running feeling agitated and at mile 23 we took a different course and I pulled it back together and I felt calmer. In the final mile we had a short, steep grass embankment to climb which lead to a short section of grass to run on. The other end of this was onto the street in Halstead leading to the Leisure Centre.
Finally I took a left turn and there was the finish line up ahead. I search for my family and suddenly I could hear my Dad shouting my name and saying “Go on, you can do it!” I could then see my Mum and my cousins. I put my arms in the air and crossed the finish line. It was amazing. I collected my medal, goody bag and T shirt and had a complimentary coke.
Report by Julian Manser
I finished my first marathon in a time of 4:42:46 and Julian finished 4:58:48I awoke on the morning of the marathon and on checking the weather forecast saw it was going to be a warm sunny day.This caused me to have some reservations as I knew this could take me longer to complete the course, and Iwas proved right when Ifinished just under the five hour mark.The course had quite a few hills in places and it was indeed a very hot day, but my determination to finish the course spurned me on and when i crossed the line I was exhausted but overjoyed.