Preparing for the London Marathon at the Windsor Autumn Half Marathon

medal windsor 21k

We are following two training partners who are focussed on running the London Marathon and while not at the height of their physical prowess, both are determined to raise funds for their respective charities. Both Matt and Maj have loved ones who have had serious illnesses.

Maj reflects on his latest event. 

Three days prior to the race in Windsor my training partner, Matt reminded me that the run was imminent. So to say that I had prepared properly for the race would be somewhat of a lie.

It was your typical crisp, bright autumn morning. The sun was beating down a cold chill, but driving to the venue was an absolute pleasure. I have to say, I have never been to Eton College during the day, but WOW! What great surroundings. It’s no wonder that so many of our politicians are doing such an amazing job when they have had the education they have had in these surroundings. Great guns!!

I met with Matt about an hour before the off. It was great meeting his mum and dad, as well as his partner. I did the usual registration and visit to the little boys room.

Looking at the course, I felt that this would be an ideal time trial course as it was very flat and open.  There wasn’t much wind and there were plenty of vantage points where you could see the field of runners from.

Our intention was to break 2 hours. However, Matt was supporting a slight injury to his Achilles. He has taped his leg up with some fancy tape used by athletes to prevent muscles from over stretching and tearing.

We started well enough, covering the first couple of kilometres in 5.10/km and 5.24/km. Soon after this point we started to slow as Matt’s Achilles began to tighten. At the 4 mile point, it was evident, he was in some discomfort. I took the decision to stay with him and try to get him to come along with me as opposed to me running off to ascertain a PB. I felt he needed that support at this point. I have run distances with Matt prior, and when he starts complaining, it is never ending until we stop. I thought, I could counter his constant whining with some 'Majisms'!

Admittedly, I found it difficult to maintain the pace, as I was beginning to feel tightness build in my legs. However, I kept reminding myself, that I was only running the race to support Matt.

As we were approaching the final few miles, we were stopping more and more. There was a case that Matt should stop as he was in considerable pain. But, unlike his footballing idols, who over the years have promised so much yet delivered so little; Matt wasn’t going to nearly finish. He was going to finish. I think it was the thought of this and the abject failure of Spurs FC, that eventually drove him to the finishing line. I feel the team could learn a lot from this man’s endeavours. True grit!

At the 12mile marker, the tightness in my legs was spreading to my thighs and I said to Matt that I need to stretch my legs and put in a mile. He urged me off and I left him in the confidence that he was one long straight away from the finish.

I managed to finish with a 7 minute mile. I was quite pleased with this as it was at the end of long stretch. Along the way, I was urging fellow runners on as we were all close the end.

I eventually crossed the line of the Windsor & Eton Autumn Classic Half Marathonin 453rd place with a 2:19:33 chip time. Matt struggled on for 474th place. This will now act as a starting point for me to get under the magic 1hour 30minutes which is my personal target. I'll keep you posted as I continue to raise funds for  both Winchester Hospice and Salford Royal Hospital. 



Matt Roberts also reflects on the Windsor and Eton Half Marathon around Dorney Lake

An early start (8.30am!) for the W&E Half Marathon around Dorney lake on a November day was one of the chilliest of the year so far!

What an amazing setting for a run at an iconic Olympic Venue from 2012. It was the first time I had ever been to the lake, and its long straight of very still water from the boathouse was a very impressive site.

The run was 4 laps, so an ankle tag was worn, which made me feel more like a convict than an athlete! Part of the lap was down a very long straight in the middle of the lake, roughly 2k long, whilst the other part of the lap swung to the left and took us away through the trees. A very flat route, which on paper should have been very easy…!

A niggling Achilles injury has been getting the better of me over the past few months, however I have been able to manage it through applying various pain relief and KT Tape. Unfortunately about 8km into the race my Achilles had had enough for the day, lots of pain and mental fragility caused me to stop and walk for parts.

The positives from the run were:

  • Beautiful setting
  • Amazing conditions
  • Flat!
  • My running buddy friend Maj for company
  • My Mum, Dad and Partner there to support
  • Finishing my 11th half marathon of the year for charity

The negatives:

  • My Achilles looks like it's trebled in size
  • Having to walk so much and looking like I’ve had a toilet accident
  • Being pipped by Radio’s Chris Evans on the finish line!

A great experience in some ways, really tough in others – but another 1 in the bank. I'm now off to find a physio before completing number 12 in December. If I’m honest, I cannot wait! 

Details of Matt's charity are on the following link: