Luke laid down the challenge to the team to run the Ealing Half Marathon early in 2023, naturally it felt like a long time in the future. Being keen and new to running, the opportunity to take on my first half marathon was too tempting to pass up. There were no other takers at the time, and it was down to myself and Luke to carry the banner for the Supercritical team in our local borough of London.
Several months passed and I had barely trained, I had been doing my usual 5 to 10k runs in the evenings and weekends, but nothing more substantial. Safe to say my ‘training’ had not gone to plan. As we closed in on race day, Taza joined the team and it was now a three person race!
Taza and Luke were both aiming to finish the race in under two hours, and I had committed to simply just getting over the finish line.
Race day was upon us, it was an early start to reach Ealing in time for 9am. The crowds were huge, and needless to say the nerves had set in.
The weather held out as we lined up on the start line, myself somewhere after the 2 hour pacers, Luke and Taza around the 1:50 marker. The race began with a loud shout of ‘have you got the Ealing feeling?’, and I for one was finding it hard to feel it due to my lack of preparation!
The first 10k seemed to pass by with relative ease, some hill climbs but nothing too strenuous. This was comfortably within my prior experience, and from this point onward I was into the unknown.
A few km into the unknown, things were still good, my legs were working, I had had a gel and was soaking up the energy from the crowd. The route contained a few switch back areas and around km 13 I spotted Luke running towards me on the other side of the barrier, confirming he was indeed in front of me. The steep hill climbs in the following kms took their toll and by 16km, I had slowed down to a walking pace.
A cycle of walking and slow running continued until around 20 km, when it was clear I was on the home straight.
At this point, I didn't care that the 2:20 pacers had passed me, I wasn’t bothered by my legs aching and the fact that I clearly had a blister on my toe was of no concern. All I wanted to do was finish.
The final corner was a turn into the park for the finish line, by this time I had closed in on the 2:20 pacers and had them in my sights. I wasn't going to let them defeat me, and used every last molecule of energy to burn them on the finish line, 2:19.
We met up, Taza at 1:50 and Luke at 1:55, it felt to me like a monumental achievement.
A couple of hours of literal & psychological ups and downs akin to the rollercoaster that is innovation! Monday morning’s walk to the tube was a little sore, but hey, same again next year? 20% discount, go on then… I better get training.