Race Report – Stamford Valentines 30K and Sleaford Half Marathon

Stamford Striders 30k 17/02/13 and Sleaford Half Marathon 24/02/13 –
Darren Spindler & Georgiana Simmons.

On 17th February Georgie and I ran the Stamford Striders Valentines 30k,
which was the longest race that we have done so far. We’ve both been
doing a reasonably good amount of marathon training and had worked our
way up to 18 and 20 mile runs at a slow pace.

On the day we set ourselves a target of finishing in under 2:30, so that
we could enjoy the race and not feel too pressured against the clock. We
don’t very often get to run races together, we generally take it in
turns while the other looks after our little one, so this was a rare
treat. It was a beautiful day, really bright and sunny with the birds
chirping away and a slight chill in the air to keep you cool. We started
nice and steady, aiming for 8 minute miles, although when you get caught
up in the crowd you end up going a little faster than planned.

The route goes down many scenic country roads and includes lots of
challenging hills. We maintained a good momentum at 7:30/mile until the
20km point where Georgie could see that I was itching to go a little
quicker so she suggested I go at my own pace from that point. This meant
our romantic idea of crossing the finishing line holding hands didn’t
happen, but we were both happy to go at our own paces!

Our finishing times were 2:16:12 (Position 113/603) and 2:18:36
(Position 141/603). We were both really happy with our results and the
box of chocolates we were given at the end were vegan, which was an
added bonus! Also this was the first time we had met a fellow vegan
runner, which although it was brief as we only spotted him just before
the race commenced was a nice encounter. We are looking forward to next

The week after on Sunday 24th February I had the Sleaford Half Marathon.
I have only done one half marathon before, back in October where I
finished in 1:37:32. I feel my speed has improved since then so I wanted
to set myself an adventurous target of finishing in under 1:30. I had
worked out my pace should be around 6:50/mile and had planned to run a
steady pace throughout. But, on the day I ended up starting right at the
front and ran the first three miles in 19 minutes because I had been
keeping up with the front runners. I knew I couldn’t maintain this for
the next ten miles (not yet anyway!), so started gradually slowing down
to my intended pace.

The course made its way through a few fields and then along a long
stretch of road before making it’s way back towards where we had
started. It was absolutely freezing so I had a good incentive to hurry
up and get to the finish! I pushed myself to close to my limits which
felt good and empowering. As usual I got a few niggling doubts of not
being able to finish or that I was running too fast to be able to
maintain the pace, but I thought of inspirational vegans and the good
promotion that all of this brings to hopefully encourage others to make
more compassionate life choices, and also how mentally and physically
rewarding it would be to finish in my planned time.

At mile 13 where I could see the finish line approaching I felt strong
and proud. I could see the timer on 1:27 so I sprinted to the line,
ending up finishing in 1:28:06 (Position 32/395). I am exceptionally
pleased with this and am now really looking forward to the summer
marathons and meeting more fellow VRUK members.

Excellent times guys! Well done!