Race Report by Dave Phillips
Well last week’s Wales marathon was probably the UK’s toughest full and I reckon today’s Wycombe half is right up there in the same category. Absolute killer but at the very top for scenic beauty all the way round and stunning views non-stop.
Lovely start outside Wycombe Wanderers FC where Cov will play soon and Cathy Keay and I chatted away with the half and 10k runners. That was the last I saw of her (until the end) as she trotted off into the distance.
What we didn’t appreciate was not only was it hill after hill after hill but 60% of it was trails, fields, farm tracks, woods, paths, baronial estate roads and a few miles on closed lanes.
After a short distance we entered West Wycombe Park, the private many thousand acre estate of some Lord or Viscount where their private roads took us past some of the most wonderful 300 + year old mansions I’ve ever seen. Truly spectacular. It was in the estate at about 3 miles when the runners split and to my horror 95% went on the 10k route and that left 3 others with me and a few behind. Here we go again” the loneliness of the long distance runner”- in fact I saw no one else ‘till the 10 mile mark where I overtook some guy!
Once out of the estate we were on small lanes, trails, tracks but all very hard going then 4-5 was all uphill and downish to 6 but then all up again to 8 again on closed lanes.
The marshals from Handy Cross Runners (event organisers) were superb and there were loads of them so huge congratulations to their club.
Eventually at 8 ish we came to Lane End (done a few Chiltern Hill orienteering marathons from here in the past) so I knew the terrain was tough and again it was all uphill. I was aware of about 10 red kites circling just above me at Lane End and they were still with me at Wheelers End a bit further on. Red kites are carnivores so why are they keeping watchful eyes on me? Maybe Dave’s End is just round the corner? Felt like it!
Eventually at 10 we were back in the Estate for a couple of miles on ways, trails, fields but different from those on the way out but with spectacular views all round.
Eventually the 12 came into view and we (or still just me) headed for the stadium but yes the last half mile was uphill to the finish inside the lovely football stadium where Cathy was shouting me in. Thanks a million Cathy, sorry to have kept you waiting.
But it was worth the wait for the big medal, T shirt and the best Goodie Bag anywhere.
So we will be back next year so let’s have some R&Ws there on what is definitely the UK’s number 1 half from all aspects. This was my 340th half so experience speaks!
Cathy Keay 2.13
Dave Phillips 2.55