An Eagles club championship race and a club outing to the beach via two coaches. This meant an early meet at Ealing Green and a good long sleep for me on the coach, saving my energy for the race head.
A brief stop was made on route at a service station with the non-runners taking in the delights of a bacon sandwich and a coffee while a few hungover looking runners took the same road to their recovery.
Our timing seemed to be catching us a little bit too close to the start time for me and some runners were already congregating near the start line as we made the walk from our parking point up to the race village.
I get uncomfortable if time is slipping away before a race and I do not have plenty of time to use the toilet, get my bag stored, walk around the race village a bit and then get a warm-up before joining everyone at the start. Gosport does not send out race numbers in advance so I was feeling even more uncomfortable due to the uncertainty of how long it would take to sort out my race pack. Thankfully everything was extremely well organised and collecting my race number only took a few minutes so I was able to sort everything out and get my bag dropped off for storage.
The start line was a few minutes walk from the race village so I used this as an opportunity to warm-up by jogging and going through some drills. There were some predicted finish time signs along one side although I could not see the 2 hour sign to put myself in front of so it was a bit of guess work to secure a good spot.
We were off and the runners snaked out on the closed road and out onto a wide footpath. The route took us to the local airfield, via the footpath, and I was joined by another Eagle who I have run with before, notably at Reading, and who was sporting the most distinctive black eye (do not go cycling when drunk, ok kids?). We then proceeded to chat & run around the airfield, past the steel drummers, out & back in the airfield where we cheered on fellow Eagles, and then back out onto some more road side footpaths.
We ran through the rear section of a petrol garage at one point, which was a first for me in any race (although I did stop for a comfort break round the back of a garage at the Reading Half), and we were taken back onto the airfield for another running date with the steel band. I lost my running partner to a toilet break just before exiting the airfield for the final time but he caught up with me as we ran along the promenade and he proceeded to take me down in the final mile to finish ahead of me.
The Gosport Half is a fast, flat race with a real running club feel to it thanks to all the friendly marshals. If I were targeting a PB then this would appeal to me thanks to the course and the calibre of runners taking part. I did not find it a particularly scenic course and personally tired of the repeated airfield section although there were plenty of club mates that really enjoyed the surroundings.
Due to the size of the Eagles presence at the race, our coaches had sole use of parking at a nearby camping / caravan site and we were given use of a private shower block. My usual tactic is to get wrapped up warm and heading home as soon as possible after a race but there was something equally a nice in taking a hot shower before joining everyone in the site bar. Normally I would have cherished a cold pint of lager, especially with no driving duties, but I really didn’t feel like it today so settled for cold pint of lemonade.
The warm environment of the coach settled me in for another sleepy journey home. Thanks to the Eagles for organising our mass entry to the race, for the transport and special thanks to the race organisers for a great run.
- Gun time: 01:54:08
- Chip time: 01:53:06
- Garmin time:
- Position: 985 / 1566
- Category: M40-44
- Category position: 149 / 193
- Club: Ealing Eagles Running Club
- Club position: 24 / 55