Rich Brawn, Laura Daly and David Pinney after the Wokingham Half Marathon

Rich Brawn, Laura Daly and David Pinney were along the Bournemouth AC contingent taking on the 2024 Wokingham Half Marathon

Often seen as a good preparation race for the Spring marathons, the Wokingham Half Marathon provides athletes with the chance to get a good gage on where they’re at with their training and what sort of shape they’re in. That’ was certainly the case for Rob McTaggart over the past couple of years in which he recorded his fastest half marathon times of the year. The latter of those afforded him a PB of 1:08:22 which saw him finish 7th.

This year he decided not to line up for the Wokingham Half Marathon and to go for the Bath Half instead. That could have meant Bournemouth AC wouldn’t have anyone up near the front in this year’s race but they did have James Phillips in the ranks and he was certainly capable of producing a very quick time.

He’d got himself a Championship place for London and has it within him to achieve something special there. James ran the Wokingham Half Marathon in 1:11:16 back in 2017 so he knew what he would take to run well there.

Another avid user of the Wokingham Half Marathon to gage his training progress is Sanjai Sharma. He’d done it 12 times over the past 14 years and for many of those he was doing it in around 1 hour 21 minutes. He’s not quite as quick as that these days but he’s still well capable of getting round in close to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Rich Brawn racing along in the Wokingham Half Marathon

It was Rich Brawn’s first time at the Wokingham Half Marathon

It was the first time ever that Rich Brawn had entered the Wokingham Half Marathon so he was really looking forward to it. With London in his sights for April, he was looking to assess how his training was going and perhaps see whether he was still on target to go for time he was aiming for. He’d done the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon in 1:22:48 as part of the longer training run and had also completed the Bramley 20 in 2:08:52 so was going alright thus far.

Laura Daly in action at the Wokingham Half Marathon

It had been a busy month of racing for Laura Daly

It was a third race in February for Laura Daly after she ran the Chichester 10k in just over 40 minutes and the Lytchett 10 in just over 1 hour 10 minutes. David Pinney was also there and he’d ran 1:26:28 at the Fleet Half Marathon in 2023 so that was a good benchmark for him to aim for.

Ryan Pegoraro was also in the mix and he’d ran a 1:17:39 at the Farnborough Half Marathon and a very good 1:19:47 at the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon which is extremely hilly.

The Wokingham Half Marathon is predominantly flat but there are a few inclines on the way including one on the 11th mile which can certainly test the resolve as it comes at a time when the legs are beginning to tire.

David Pinney in the Wokingham Half Marathon

David Pinney was hoping for a good time

Southampton man Alex Teuten was quite a way in front of anyone else and he whipped round the course in 1 hour 4 minutes and 48 seconds to seal the victory. Alexander Meill-Ingram of Radley AC was 2nd in 1:07:22 and George Phillips of Notts AC came 3rd in 1:07:29.

Alexander Lanz made it three Alexanders in the top four when he crossed the line in 1:07:31 to take 4th place. There were seven men finishing in under 1 hour 8 minutes and 18 men in in under 70 minutes.

Rich Brawn giving his all in the Wokingham Half Marathon

Rich was hoping for a time of around 1:17

James Phillips had an excellent run to get round in 1:11:36 which put him in 30th place overall out of a field of 2,781. Rich Brawn was thinking that a 1:17 sort of time might put him in the right ballpark. He realised though after the third mile that that might not be possible as there were too many undulations on route. He kept going as best he could but was close to 6 minute mile pace for most of his splits which wasn’t as fast as he’d hoped.

Rich Brawn heading down the road in the Wokingham Half Marathon

Rich found it quite tough going but finished in just under 1:18

Finding the hill on the 11th mile really tough to contend with, he battled up as best he could but could only manage a 6:25 split for that one. The last couple of miles weren’t too bad though and he managed to get back on pace before turning onto the finishing straight. He saw the clock ticking down very close to the 1:18 mark and tried to sprint in to get under it. That culminated in a chip time of 1:17:58 which put him in 146th place. He was 37th M40 out of 554 and his average pace came out at 5:59.

Turning in a very good display to complete the course in 1:26:38, David Pinney finished in 481st place. His average pace for the run was 6:36.

David Pinney in the Wokingham Half Marathon

David gave it everything he’s got

Running well for the first eight miles, Laura Daly‘s pace dropped off a touch over the last five miles but she dug in well to see it out. She has been having a problem with energy gels which forced her to make another stoppage so that is an issue she’ll need to address going forward.

David Pinney tackling the Wokingham Half Marathon

David finished in 1:26:38

Clocking a time of 1:30:10, Laura finished 631st overall and was 79th female out of 906. Had she not had to make the stoppage though, she would have finished in around 1:28:45 so it was actually still a fairly decent run for Laura and her average pace would have been 6:49.

Managing a better time than he thought he would, Sanjai Sharma got to the line in 1:31:12 which put him in 659th place and he was 9th M60 out of 127. That was quicker than he ran last year so it was a pleasing one for Sanjai.

Laura Daly in the Wokingham Half Marathon

Laura’s run went smoothly for the first 8 miles or so

Taking it very gently as opposed to going all out, Ryan Pegoraro got round in 1:32:57 which put him in 730th place. His average pace for the run was 7:03.

Lauren Reed of Havering AC was 1st female, clocking a tremendous time of 1:13:38 which put her 56th overall. Rebecca Murray of Bedford & County was 2nd lady in 1:14:47 which put her 76th overall. Sarah Holt of The Stragglers came in 3rd female in 1:17:36 which put her 140th overall. She was also 1st F40 out of 268.

Laura Daly heads past in the Wokingham Half Marathon

Laura came away with a time of just over 1:30

Dacorum AC star Kate Rennie bagged the fastest UK F50 time ever with a 1:18:01 which made her 6th female and 150th overall.

Jack Galloway of Twemlow Track Club ran well to finish in 1:14:26 which put him in 70th place and his teammate Richard Swindlehurst was 1st M50, registering a superb time of 1:16:26.

Rich Brawn with his medal after the Wokingham Half Marathon

Rich with his medal after completing the race

Poole Runners man Dion Garner got round in 1:14:56 which put him in 79th place and Joe Godden, also of Poole Runners finished strongly, overtaking Rich Brawn near the end to get to the line in 1:17:33. That put him 138th overall.

Next up for Rich Brawn it was over to Milton Keynes for the MK20, which is one he usually does in the build up to a marathon. On that same day David Pinney would be set for action at the Salisbury 10 which was the next race in the Hampshire Road Race League. The pressure was on for Bournemouth AC in that one as they now need to ensure they have a men’s team of four for all remaining races if they are to gain promotion from the second division to the top flight.

Rich Brawn, Laura Daly and David Pinney at the Wokingham Half Marathon

It was a good day out for the BAC members and their friends at the Wokingham Half Marathon