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Basingstoke Half-Marathon – A Family Affair

by Editor
Thursday 10th October 2013

Race report: Flo Morgan-Wood shows that it's not all about speed or the loneliness of the long distance runner at the Basingstoke Half-Marathon - October 6, 2013

If you’d told me a year ago that I was going to run two half-marathons in 2013, I’d have told you where to go, and I’m pretty sure my parents would have had the same opinion. So as I lined up at the start of the sunny Basingstoke Half this Sunday with my mum Jenny and my dad Martin, it all felt a little surreal.

I decided about a year ago that I needed to stop telling myself running was too hard – surely anyone can run if they try hard enough? I’d heard people say this many times before and was generally sceptical, but as it turns out, it’s totally true. I wouldn’t say I’ve transformed into a super-fit, speedy long-distance runner, but I think two half-marathons (and a third planned) in 2013 isn’t bad!

Anyway, some of this madness must have rubbed off on my parents because they decided to run my local half-marathon with me, despite never having run further than a 5km Race for Life before. I’d say they have a bit of an advantage, living at high altitude in the French Pyrenees – once you’ve run 13 miles on a mountain trail at 1500m above sea level, a couple of Basingstoke hills shouldn’t pose much of a challenge – but I don’t think my mum would agree with me.

The build-up to the half wasn’t all plain sailing – a couple of weeks before the big day, my mum managed to take a tumble during their full-distance training run and injure her foot. This could potentially have been disastrous – my dad’s description of her ‘hobbling’ round a few kilometres a week before the race had me pretty worried. However, I couldn’t see her giving up, and sure enough, with a bit of grit and determination (and a LOT of ibuprofen and Deep Heat), she made it to the start line.

Basingstoke Half-Marathon - October 6, 2013

Anyone who has run the Basingstoke Half-Marathon knows that it’s hardly pancake flat, and a bit of a baptism of fire for your first half. However, it is my local race, and being a proud member of Chineham Park Running Club, I was pretty excited to race on the hills we know and (sort of) love, and was even more excited at the prospect of running it with my mum and dad. Not everyone is lucky enough to have such cool parents!

Having run the Reading Half-Marathon in torrential, freezing rain in March, I was extremely relieved to wake up on Sunday to sunshine and a pleasant breeze. We met the rest of CPRC at our very own gazebo, and tried (unsuccessfully) to straighten our race numbers while applying last minute Deep Heat and ibuprofen gel, and considering the age-old running question of ‘How soon before the start should I visit the Portaloos?’, before wandering on up to the start line. I had to give my dad a bit of a ‘it’s not about speed today, it’s about finishing together’ talking to when he spotted a man dressed as Nemo and declared ‘I will NOT be beaten by Nemo!’

I knew from training with my parents that my dad had a bit of a tendency to start too fast, and being aware of my mum’s injury, I kept a close eye on the Garmin as we set off, keeping to a steady 10:30min/mile pace. This soon dropped off as we hit the first hill at 3 miles, which is a bit of a killer. I prefer short and steep to never-ending, and this one does seem to go on and on. We were well prepared with gel packs and isotonic drinks, and decided to have the first gel pack after 4 or 5 miles, as well as a couple of jelly babies from a kind spectator. This is something I noticed about Basingstoke, and was noticeably absent from Reading – nice people with bowls of jelly babies! I don’t think they realise just how welcome they are.

I half-expected to have to talk my mum through the next hill – at about a mile long, it’s pretty tough – but she just kept going, right on through to the ‘Big Dipper’ at around the 8.5 mile point. While making a huge mess of the second gel pack, we all celebrated having got up the last major hill of the race and looked forward to the long downhill stretch towards the village of Cliddesden. This was a bit of an emotional point for my mum – all the people cheering (and spraying us with hoses) was pretty awesome, not to mention the fact that there were more jelly babies on offer.

As we rounded the corner and ran through the tunnel to enter War Memorial Park, I started to realise that our target time of 2hours 40mins was well within reach, in fact, we were well on track to beat it. As we came round the final bend and saw the finish line, there was an explosion of cheering from the sea of red and white that was the CPRC camp, and I had to tell my mum several times that she really did only have to run a few more metres and she would have completed her first half-marathon in 2 hours 34mins. Our finishing photo is pretty funny – it’s me telling her ‘Yes – that is the finish line!’ and her grinning while my dad starts cheering.

All in all, it was pretty amazing day. Running a half-marathon at all wasn’t something I would have thought possible a year or so ago, and running one with my parents was extra special. I’m so proud of both of them, and hope they might do another one with me soon! Also, there’s definitely something to be said for having parents around to buy you a McDonalds after a half – wait, I mean a healthy nutritious post-run recovery meal…

Massive thanks to the Basingstoke half organisers, who put together a wonderful event, and to Chineham Park Running Club for the amazing support and VIP luggage area! Last of all, thanks to my parents. You’re awesome.

Men's results

1 Nicholas Kirui Run Fast 1:05:32
2 Colin Leak Run Fast 1:13:45
3 David Meacock Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC 1:14:19


Women's results

1 Dawn Godwin   1:30:15
2 Ruth Briggs Hart Road Runners 1:34:57
3 Hannah Oliver Overton Harriers & AC 1:35:07


1245 Flo Morgan-Wood 2:34:50
1246 Martin Morgan-Wood 2:34:50
1247 Martin Morgan-Wood 2:34:51


Click here for full results


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