Well done to Mark Franks for achieving his best 13.1 mile time this season at the Windsor Half-Marathon.
Here is Mark's own report on the event:
'I finished the race in 1:50:56 and I came 669th out of about five thousand by chip position. As expected I was a few minutes off my personal best. Being what the organisers described as an undulating race, which meant my goal was to beat my last half marathon that I did in June this year and give myself a good base in order to have a good go at getting a personal best at the Oxford Half Marathon. I was pleased I did it two minutes faster than Run Hackney Half Marathon, so it was a season best so far this year.
The race took place in Windsor Great Park which like Shotover was a royal hunting forest. The race went through parkland, woodland and open grassland. The first mile had a hill which was like the Toot Baldon hill which we do in training, there were then two different loops around woodland and deer park. The two loops had about fifteen or so hills like the hill next to Cowley police station, they were not too bad on their own but together make very challenging course. The last mile was down the same steep hill as the first mile, and had spectacular view down Long Walk towards Windsor Castle; I am not surprised it is regally voted one of the most scenic races in the whole country. The hill training I have been doing the last month with the club came in very handy; I have much better hill running technique now as I now take shorter strides and use my arms for power.
It was also abnormally hot for the end of September being over twenty degrees Celsius. One of the local newspapers described the race as taking place “under the blazing glare of the sun”, it also did not help that the race stated at 1PM, so all the runners had to manage the height of the sun. I did not really mind the sun as I occasional train at midday on hot days so I am prepared for all conditions. Put it this way, a thousand or so people either did not make it round the whole course or left their time-chips at home. I saw the most people needing medical treatment since I did Great North Run last year. The medical staff were quick to treat everyone needing medical treatment, credit to the Army Cadets and Scouts who marshalled the race.
In short I enjoyed the race, will do it again sometime. Credit to the Army Cadets and Scouts who marshalled the race, nice medal, but water station were not very good as they were only plastic cups rather small bottle. I am not really one for the goodybags as they are normally just advertisement for the most part so I did not mind that there was no goody bag'.