Southampton Half Marathon 26/04/15

Whilst our past and present run captains Tom and Farid were tackling the London Marathon, 23 SUTRI members were preparing for the brand new event, ABP Southampton Half. This distance is becoming increasingly popular as it is a step up from 5 and 10k races, but comes without the gruelling training plan required for a marathon. This sell-out event and its 10km counterpart built up a wave of excitement in the local running community, as well as a new sense of fear for Burgess Road…

Race day was cool and cloudy – pretty much perfect for running. Hoglands Park was transformed into the race village, where you could (slightly weirdly) collect your finisher t shirt in advance, and wear it for the race if you were feeling optimistic. The parade to the starting pens was more casual than some large races, as you could choose which timing pen to start in. We were held for a fairly long time listening to Matt Le Tissier being interviewed, but finally got underway a few minutes after 10am.

Immediately after crossing the start line, the adrenaline kicked in as the local support was outstanding. After a few moments of trying to spot familiar faces in the crowd, it was time to focus on the first challenge: the Itchen Bridge. The race organisers had decided to include a split for this section, called ‘beat the bridge’. For the competitive minded, there was temptation to pick up speed during mile 3, which we could pay for later on. I was personally worried about the bridge, but the atmosphere was fantastic and the winds weren’t too strong. As we had to run along the bridge and back again, we were distracted by spotting our team mates coming the other way. As I came onto the bridge, I spotted the lead bikes coming the other way, and it wasn’t long before spotting the speedy guys of SUTRI.

After the bridge, it wasn’t long before we came up to St Mary’s stadium, and a well-placed water station. A relatively dull mile followed with less support than earlier on, but the 10km marker came around soon enough, with many of the guys coming in sub-45 (sub 40 for Pete) and girls between 45 and 55. Riverside park was a lovely flat section with lots of support, but we all knew what was coming next. After another water and gel stop, it was time for the hills. Luckily for us, the yellow SUTRI banner was soon within sight and the support of the team (see pictures below) was enough to get anyone round – it gave everyone the boost we needed at a tough point in the course, so thank you guys!

Soton Half 2 Soton Half

Picture Credits: The Tab Southampton

After running through Highfield campus and seeing some more familiar faces, we soon reached the common for a lap of parkrun (albeit the wrong way round) and the long downhill was a relief on the legs. After a few unexpected corners in the town centre, we finished in Guildhall square to large crowds and an interesting recovery drink.

For several members, including Frankie, Grace and Becky, this was their first half marathon and they did incredibly well! It was also, maybe slightly unexpectedly, a big PB smashing event (see times below!) – Probably due to the amazing support around the course from the saucepan-smashing SUTRI guys and our friends and families. Hopefully there will be an even bigger SUTRI representation next year, as the event is set to increase in size. We’ll enter once we get our London ballot rejections…

Flo Greatrix

SUTRI Members and Times
Pete Fuller: 1:23:05
Mark Fuller: 1:26:32
Stephen Collins: 1:29:28
Oscar Miles : 1:29:42
Shiriam Sunder: 1:31:07
Christine McCullough: 1:38:13
Ollie Cooper: 1:41:08
Joe Lawson: 1:41:14
Flo Greatrix: 1:42:15
Verena Tobert: 1:42:47
Alex Jackson: 1:44:27
Shuaib Meghji: 1:45:07
Becky Petley: 1:48:09
Maeve Corry : 1:53:33
Frankie Finch: 1:53:36
Jo House: 1:53:39
Tamsyn Smith: 1:55:14
Barney Symons: 1:58:21
Grace Phillips: 2:01:39
Hannah West: 2:01:54
Pip Shanklin: 2:05:51
Adam Grundy: 2:16:38
Hugh Stirling: 2:28:09

London Marathon 26/04/15

This year marked the 35 year anniversary of the London Marathon. Around 37,000 runners pounded the streets of London, cheered on by tremendous support from the spectators every step of the way. Paula Radcliff, the greatest womans’ marathon runner in history bid a final farewell to what has been a glittering career. So it was only fit that two SUTRI Run Captains embraced the streets of London on a overcast April morning to take part in what is widely regarded as ‘the greatest race in the world’.

The race began earnestly at Greenwich park, at 10:10am meridian time, weaving its way across some of the most popular sites in London, including the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, along the Embankment to the Houses of Parliament and down the Mall in front Buckingham Palace, where in 1908 Queen Alexander is said to have requested the distance to be extended to 26.2 miles so that the royal children could watch the race from their nursery. There was a wide range of runners from Sonic to SpongeBob to Captain America to Spiderman to a man dressed in hardly anything, all the way through to a man dressed as Jesus on the cross, all hoping to raise money for charitable causes. Running the Marathon really gives you a much broader sense of the city, even for someone who grew up just down the road.

The crowds were simply spectacular along the way, shouting words of encouragement and applauding the runners, the highlight being giving high-fives to little spectators lining the course. Tom, our outgoing Run Captain ran a superb race, finishing with a PB of 3 hours and 15 minutes! I was admittedly very nervous as this was my first marathon, however I was very pleased to have finished in 3 hours and 2 minutes. Next year I have set myself the target of breaking 2 hours 50 minutes where I hope we can have more of our members achieving even greater success at what is truly the greatest race in the world.

Farid Alimi (Run Captain)

Farid London Marathon

Finishing sprint down the mall – 3 hours 5 minutes

Photo Credits: MarathonFoto.com

Tom London Marathon

Tom looking great at about mile 10 – 3 hours 15 minutes