Runners at the heart of the Surrey Half Marathon - Women's Running

Runners at the heart of the Surrey Half Marathon

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  March 19, 2015

The Surrey Half Marathon #running#racephoto #sussexsportphotography

A stand out event, sleek in its operation and ideal for both first timers and seasoned runners. These are the words of mum of two, Gemma Read, who ran the Surrey Half Marathon on Sunday 8th March. And even better hit a new PB! She tells us about race day…

The Surrey Half Marathon #running #racephoto #sussexsportphotography

“I couldn’t wait to get to the start line of the Surrey Half. Having raced last year, I was excited to test the new look race course. My husband and I we were both looking for race PBs and with blue skies and sunshine promised, things were looking good.

I have taken part in a number of AAT Events and what’s clear to me is that the runner is at the heart of their organisation. Ahead of race day I downloaded their app where I could access plans of the race village, the day’s itinerary, parking availability and also sign up to the live tracker so that I could see how my friends were getting on throughout the day. This alone made me feel prepped and ready for race day. I knew I’d put the miles in but the last minute nerves were really calmed through regular contact from the events team with course updates and last minute advice.

My husband and I took the train to the race for ease. And easy it was – when we arrived at the station there were two very friendly marshals directing us to the race village. Fantastic! No need to panic with directions or not making it to the start in time.

On arrival at Woking Leisure Centre, there was a great atmosphere on the race village. This was my 5th half marathon so I knew what to expect but for a first timer I could imagine this being a very warm welcome to the running community. It was alive with energy and bustling with runners but it didn’t feel too crowded. Much to my delight there were plenty of toilets –a pet hate for many runners having to take on endless queues in a rush for the start line.

Surrey Half

Sadly, I can’t give the baggage queues such a shining report. The queues were just so long but thankfully we bumped into a friend who was supporting his wife – we gave him our bags and made our way to the starting zones. Knowing the Surrey Half organisers, they will be looking at ways to improve this for next year’s race.

I was hoping to bag a PB so I headed over to meet the sub two hour pacer. The start gun went and we were off. As we weaved through Sutton Green, Jacobs Well and Fox Corner there were lots of friendly supporters and lively bands too. The runner camaraderie was incredible – there were a few quieter sections with not as much spectator support but the encouragement between runners made up for this. The course felt fast, yes there were a few inclines and the second half of the 13.1 miles was a little bit bumpier than the first half but compared to the 2014 event I certainly felt more comfortable. The fact that it wasn’t as hilly was such a relief – the elimination of Constitution Hill was music to my ears.

Water stops along the route were plentiful and well marshalled. Lots of local residents lined the streets handing out sweets and orange quarters – an enjoyable treat as I ticked off the miles.

As we approached the finish line I knew I had it in me for a final dash and just as well – the organisers had arranged a timed 100m dash across the finish line. I might not have been the fastest but I beat my husband! And I hit a new PB – 1:55, shaving two minutes off of my best race time. I was over the moon! And every runner I spoke to as we were funnelled through the finish gantry and to be handed our medal was beaming with a provisional PB. With our medals around our necks, we tucked into our water, banana and Bounce ball.

This really is a stand out event for me, it’s sleek in its operation, perfect for first timers and you can tell the team have put a lot of thought into each and every aspect of the race. Definitely on the recommended list!”

Surrey Half2

Over 4,500 runners took to the Surrey Half Marathon on Sunday 8th March. Kenyan runner Sammy Nyokaye won the men’s event in a time of 1:02:41, followed by teammate Peter Limo in 1:02:43. Third to complete the 13.1-mile course was Paul Martelletti in 1:08:44.

Women's Running Magazine

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