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Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.

Phoenix Running The Unbreakable Key

This was a bit of a last minute race entry for the Easter weekend. I did parkrun yesterday, my fastest since the start of the pandemic, and today was for getting some miles in. With shorter races for the next two weeks it'd be my last chance to get some decent miles in before Guernsey, and how better to do that than with a friend. I perhaps hadn't had the best night of sleep, and was having breakfast at 04:30, and on the road forty minutes later. I'd planned to arrive at the venue in Walton-on-Thames for 08:00, but somehow got there around 07:30 due to a lack of traffic on the roads (even if I did take one wrong turning off the M25).

It's a short walk from the available parking in the leisure centre to the back of the pub where the race start and finish is located. The Weir Hotel - a pub on the bank of the River Thames, kindly let participants use their facilities throughout the day. At registration they'll tell you your number and you can then write it on your arm using a Sharpie. In the last couple of days, Carmen has already paced a 10K race, and did a half marathon at this event the day before as well so she'd already got a lot of miles in her legs. We then set off as she told me about the route which is around 3.25 miles tor each the turnaround point and back. On the way out the river was on out left, and through the trees I could see boats, and on the opposite bank there were large houses. It was a very picturesque route, and the other participants were all really friendly too. Some were doing this as day nine of a ten day event, and some of those were doing a marathon a day!

The route itself felt very flat, I don't think I could point out a single bit that wasn't, but apparently there were some lock gates that I didn't spot, so it must have been a little up-hill. At the end of each lap we'd call out our race numbers as we passed, and then stopped for water before starting the next lap. The four laps to make it up to a half marathon passed by so quickly, and before we knew it we were done. To finish, we rung the bell using the foot pedal, and got our finishers medals, and a Freddo easter egg. What I didn't realise was that the runners could have what refreshments they wanted from the gazebo - so I had a rocket ice lolly which was incredibly refreshing, and a slice of chocolate easter cake.

Today wasn't about times, just getting miles done with nice company - and it turned out to be a very nice morning.

Tags: 13point1 halfmarathon race running sport

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© David G. Paul