Ryan Pegoraro finishing the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon

Returning to the scene of his marvellous PB last year, Ryan Pegoraro was back for another go at the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon

It was a race that Ryan Pegoraro absolutely obliterated his half marathon PB in last year, producing what was perhaps his finest run yet to finish in 1:13:12. Now he was back on the start line of the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon 2024.

Having spent a large part of last year side-lined with sciatica, Ryan is still in the process of working his way back to his best form. He ran well in the Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Popham Airfield, then went on to finish 10th in the Wimborne 10. In December he made the trip to Southern Spain for the Málaga Half Marathon where he finished in 1:17:51.

After the turn of the year, Ryan went on to run well in the next Hampshire Cross Country League race at Prospect Park in Reading. He was certainly doing his bit for the team in the process of trying to work his way back to his best form.

The course for the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon is around Farnborough Airport and the the organisers claim it is the coolest race in the UK. In the 2023 edition, when Ryan recorded his astonishing PB, temperatures plummeted to -6C and the toilets got frozen, as did the water they were handing out.

Ryan Pegoraro jostling for position in the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon

Ryan made a confident start to the race

It wasn’t quite as cold this time round but the wind speed was quite high at 18mph which could make it tricky in places. The course isn’t completely flat either, containing 430ft of elevation and it starts on a bit of an incline which goes on for the first 1.3 miles.

That didn’t seem to slow Ryan down though and he went through the first mile in 5:45. Then he followed that up with a 5:41 for his second mile and a 5:44 for his third mile. It was certainly a quick first 5k from Ryan and he’d outlined his intentions quite clearly.

Ryan Pegoraro in action in the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon

Ryan got into a good early rhythm

Slowing down a touch in the fourth mile, he went through in 5:58 before tackling another incline on the fifth mile. Again, the hill didn’t really slow him down much and he got through that mile in 5:58 before getting back to 5:50 for his sixth mile.

The seventh mile contained a few other slight undulations and Ryan went through that in 5:55 before registering a 5:48 for his eighth mile. The ninth mile presented another incline which put Ryan down to 6:07 but he was back on pace after that with a 5;58 for his tenth mile and 5:56 for his eleventh mile.

Ryan Pegoraro at Farnborough Airport

The route was too the competitors round Farnborough Airport

Going through the twelfth mile in 5:55, Ryan then finished strongly with a 5:44 for his final mile split. The course came up slightly long at 13.23 miles but Ryan kept pushing all the way to the line, finishing in 1:17:39. That put him in 42nd place out of 2,083 on chip time, so it was a decent result for Ryan.

Ryan Pegoraro in the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon

Ryan put in an impressive performance as he made his way round

It wasn’t quite up there with his performance from last year but it was an improvement on his Málaga time and another step in the right direction for Ryan. His average pace for the run was 5:52.

Ryan Pegoraro racing the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon

After a long time out last year, Ryan’s form was beginning to take off

The race was won by Christopher Rainsford in a time of 1:07:43, with Alex Pointon of Aldershot, Farnham & District taking second in 1:08:17. Ben Clarke of Kent AC crossed the line in 3rd place, recording a time of 1:10:17 which was exactly two minutes after Alex Pointon. Stephen Blake of Aldershot, Farnham & District finished fourth in 1:10:41.

Ryan finished just ahead of Melissah Gibson of Ealing Eagles who was first female in 1:17:42. No other women made it to the line until Annabel Granger of Bristol & West arrived to clock a time of 1:21:45. She came 96th overall.

Ryan Pegoraro comes in the complete the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon

Ryan approaches the finish line to take 42nd place on chip time

Hannah Pullen of Aldershot, Farnham & District finished in 1:22:37 which made her third female and put her 108th in the overall standings. Her teammate Lesley Locks finished as fourth female in 112th place in 1:22:50.

Next up for Ryan, it was the unscrupulous undulations of the Blackmore Vale Half Marathon which would be a very different prospect to the kinder gradients of Farnborough. Then the week after that it would be time to get the spikes back on as he took to the start line on home turf for the final cross country league fixture of the season at Kings Park.