Reading Half Marathon 2015

Posted April 16th, 2015 in Race Reports by Kay

4th UK lady, 5th lady overall. Time 1:13:30

emma stepto reading half marathon picWith Bath Half Marathon only 2 weeks prior and lots of marathon training mileage in between, I arrived at Reading feeling less than 100% and also very aware that I was racing with some the top endurance ladies in the UK, but I was determined to have a better race than 2014, when I had finished disappointed. The weather on race day was clear and cool, so runners were largely feeling confident, but there was quite a stiff breeze to consider and it was difficult to tell where on the course it would affect us.

I lined up, delighted to see Eleanor Davies (Newquay Road Runners) on the elite start, fresh back from training in Iten! It’s great to have Cornish runners taking part in national races at a high level- the more the better! So, with big names like Helen Clitheroe, Aly Dixon and Susan Partridge to name a few, we knew it would be a fast race. The race organisers said the route had been revised to take out one of the hills, but there is still a drag early on up to the Uni and another at about 8 miles, interspersed with some tight twists and turns through the city, and long straights too- so it’s quite a mixed bag!

I found myself in about 7th/8th place in the ladies race and gradually managed to pick off the ladies I could see during the race, but unfortunately the leaders were out of sight and I wasn’t feeling comfortable. I didn’t want a repeat of 2014, so I just kept battling on. At 8 miles I was about 20 seconds behind Helen Clitheroe and really tried to increase the pace over the last 3 miles to bridge the gap, but Helen had a great run and finished 30 seconds and one place ahead of me.

When I initially finished, I thought I had run the same time as last year, but actually it was 20 seconds faster and my second fastest ever Half Marathon (although it certainly didn’t feel like it!) I would have loved to have been in the medals – as it was the EA Half Marathon Championships- but I was pleased that mentally I hadn’t given in and slowed down, even though I felt under par. Good mental training! Eleanor had a fantastic race, finishing inside the top 10 and with a huge PB. Her progress is fantastic and thoroughly deserved. I was so pleased for her!

Brett and Alan had been out on the course to provide a supportive cheer and seem to have had a lot more fun than us runners, stopping to have their picture taken with the glamorous cheerleaders along the way!

Straight back down the M5 after the race, to begin a full mileage training week the next day. But just 2 weeks to go before I taper for London. Now that’s when I have to feel 100%! Fingers crossed!

Emma Stepto

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