I made my annual trip to High Wycombe for the event and after running the new 10K in 2009 I decided to revert to the half marathon. Training had been going well in June & early July although not many sessions longer than 10K. On the day I was realistically aiming for upper 1.30s. Although the journey to High Wycombe is less than 40 miles, the combination of train, bike, waiting and replacement coach added up to 2 hours 45 minutes. With 15 minutes to go before the 9.30 start, luckily I was ready changed and there was a short queue for the toilet.
It was a cloudy cool start which helped and remained that way throughout the event. Despite arriving with little time to spare, I managed to meet Cedric David & Helen Watkinson at the Start. Lined up further back than normal with Cedric hence a slow start across the Rye common. Despite the earlier 1 hour ride from Leighton Buzzard to Aylesbury I was feeling energetic going up the long & steep climb (together with Cedric) out of Wycombe and onto the top of the Chilterns. After allowing for recovery I soon increased the pace as we headed east towards Flackwell Heath and continued to move up the field. After two 10Ks over the past few weeks I seemed to be stuck in 10K gear. At about 6 miles we headed out of Flackwell Heath and enjoyed the long descent into Bourne End where we were confronted by one of the worst pot-holed roads in the region and was warned by one local resident.
As we progressed towards mile 7 I began to tire as we had to negotiate a couple of short climbs however I was still overtaking and was recognised by former VC&AC member. We left Bourne End via the busy A4094 keeping to the narrow pavement. From here it is roughly a long straight and slightly uphill run for the next few miles until we reach the south-east edge of Wycombe below the M40. I felt I was continuing to find it tough but hung in there and only lost a few places if any. I was also slightly concerned about a possible old injury flaring up but it did not get any worse. As we headed for the Rye along Kingsmead Road for about 1.5 miles I began to recover slightly in the knowledge that the end was in sight. We do however have to run round to western end of the Rye via the shelter of Warren Wood before heading towards the finish. Approaching the finish I was greeted by Helen (ran the 10k in 57 mins) and Sharon & Keith Hammond (VC&AC). Having little idea of the time I was surprised to see the clock under 1.35 on the approach and finished slightly over 1.35. As I walked back to meet our cheering group I saw Cedric approach the finish in 1.42.
For a modest entry fee we received a good quality fluorescent running top, a quality medal, two items of fresh fruit, large bottle of water and a suitable fruit bar. Now with the cheering group we supported Maria Hamilton and other VC&AC members: Mary Davis, Caroline Chapman and Nicola Hatch. In total there were 9 VRUK & VC&AC runners. Former member Sharon Davidson also recognised us as she approached the finish.
Later Cedric, Helen & myself relaxed at the cafe on the edge of the Rye by the pond full of wild fowl and saw the last of the runners enter the Rye.