Mackenzie Smith runners Roxanne Lewington and Tara Skinner completed the Fleet Half Marathon on a beautiful sunny Sunday 22nd March.
We were both first time half-marathon runners who signed up just 8 weeks before the event. If you read up on half marathon training they often suggest a minimum of 12 weeks training so we were already facing a bigger challenge than anticipated.
Once we had decided to support Fleet Pond Society and the Clearwater Campaign, set up our page and started collecting donations the pressure was really on, there was more than our pride at stake! We had raised far beyond the £250 goal we initially set out to raise so there was definitely no backing out.
Having never attended such an event it was really exciting to arrive at Calthorpe Park and see the huge throng of runners preparing, calorie loading and warming up. Soon enough it was time to line up on Reading Road North, ready for the start of the race.
We started out well but hit ‘the wall’ earlier than anticipated and from then made steady progress. Together, as a team we pushed forward with perseverance and determination. The fantastic weather helped a great deal, even if in pain it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings as we traversed Pale Lane and through Dogmersfield and Crookham Village.
The support from the crowds lining the street was absolutely incredible; their perseverance in constantly clapping, cheering and generally encouraging all the runners throughout the 3 hour running time was just as inspiring as the half marathon itself and revealed just how strong the community is around Fleet. Thank you for the jelly babies, biscuits, flapjacks and super soaking on the way round!
The cheer as you approach the finishing line really spurs you on to give that last little bit extra to get over the line. It was close but the team finished the run with just 10 minutes to spare.
A huge thank you to the event organisers and all the marshals managing the road closures, water stations and first aid. No wonder Fleet Half Marathon has earned the right to be the only ‘pre-London’ half marathon event, it is so professionally run and looking forward to its 35th year in 2016!
Thank you to everyone who sponsored us, there is a great sense achievement of not only completing the Fleet Half Marathon but also in raising a sum that is more than you expected and that can contribute to something more substantial to the cause. At time of publishing we have £471.20 in donations, that’s £559.00 including gift aid which is more than double the £250 we initially set out to raise.
Katherine Gray, Manager of the Land Department, also ran in the race, as seasoned runner and local resident this was her 7th consecutive half marathon, needless to say she beat Tara and Roxanne’s time.
We’ll have to start training earlier if we are going to take part next year! Entries open in October 2015.