When Hamwic Harriers signed up to marshal the Winchester Half Marathon we’d all expected to be standing around in searing heat trying not to burn or dehydrate. All kinds of drinks were purchased in preparation for the long, hot day, along with snacks to keep us going and jelly sweets to give out to the runners. Commando had even bought paper dishes to put the sweets in. Today was the day though and dehydration looked like it would be the least of our worries.
Feeling rather unwelcome in the churchyard, I took a few random photos and left. Back out on the road with the race parading by me I stood in front of a rather ornate wooden bus stop and watched the runners stream past the Hursley chimneys. The road had been partly closed for the race and an unfortunate marshal had the job of holding up a stop go board to let cars trickle through when there was a safe gap between runners. It wasn’t a job I envied. Some of the drivers were less than patient despite the road closures being widely publicised weeks in advance of the race. Continue reading Winchester half
Garnier Road was always going to be the tipping point of my plan. As we stood looking over the wall beside Meadow View Cottage, I was frantically trying to decide which way to go. The water of Lockburn Stream tumbled through a sluice below us. The pretty little house perched precariously close, looking as if it might once have been a mill. Continue reading A little more history than we bargained for
When Keats wrote to his brother and sister in law of his daily Winchester walks he ended at ‘the most beautifully clear river,’ the Itchen, probably where it crosses Five Bridges Road. In his letter he said, ‘now this is only one mile of my walk I will spare you the other two till after supper when they would do you more good,‘ but he never mentioned it again. Even so, it stood to reason he hadn’t just turned around and walked back the way he came and I had a good idea of the route he would have taken. The clues were all there in the final verse of his ode To Autumn. Continue reading Where are the songs of spring?
Before Commando broke his leg he was scheduled to run as a pacer for the Winchester Half Marathon. It was an event I’d been looking forward to because it would give me a couple of hours to wander around Winchester while he was running. Of course the injury meant this wasn’t to be. Then, a couple of weeks before the event, I was asked if I might like to be a tail walker. Of course, as soon as I found out no running of any kind would be expected, I jumped at the chance. With Commando’s recovery well under way he decided to tail walk with me. Continue reading Last over the finish line at Winchester
At any given point in a long walk there is an internal battle against the voice inside my head telling me I must be mad and to turn for home immediately and check myself into a clinic to get help for my obvious mental health issues. Mostly I ignore it and keep walking but, when the walk in question is twenty-six or more miles, the voices get very loud. From the outset Winchester had been the aim of all these walks, the holy grail that I’d been walking towards for months. It was within touching distance but the voice in my head told me it might be a step too far. Did I listen? Continue reading Winchester and the long walk home – first published 26 April 2013
As April 2013 was drawing to a close I had one more long Moonwalk training walk ahead of me. This was the big one, twenty-six point two miles. The longest walks or runs on most marathon training plans stop at twenty or twenty-two miles. The logic being, if you can make it that far, you can do the whole marathon on the day. This is not something I’ve been comfortable with and, for both my Moonwalks, I’ve trained to the full distance. Whether this is a sensible approach or not remains to be seen but it does at least leave me confident I can finish a marathon. April 26 was the day of the long walk…
There’s something about the halfway point in a long walk that always makes me smile. After that I know there are more miles behind me than in front and I’m homeward bound. At the same time, these are some of the most difficult miles. Tiredness begins to set in, muscles begin to ache. This is when the mind is more important than the body and the little things to make me smile are the things that keep me going. Continue reading Moonwalk training, Winchester at last – first published 12 April 2013
Most marathon training programmes build up slowly, little by little with regular walks or runs and then taper off in the weeks leading up to the event. Usually the longest walk or run is twenty miles, at most twenty two. The thinking being, if you can run twenty miles you can push through the wall to run the final six point two on the day. This was not the way I saw it. When I started off five miles seemed like a pretty long walk. After walking ten, five was a piece of cake. It seemed to me, if I did the whole twenty six point two before the tapering, it would be easier on the night. In April 2013 I’d made it to the penultimate walk. Continue reading Moonwalk training, twenty four miles and a few disasters – first published 12 April 2013