After winning The Shere 10k back in 2019, Harry Smith returned to the sumptuous slopes of Surrey and this time it was to tackle 21 kilometre distance.
The Shere Half Marathon is run on a very testing trail route with some daunting climbs to negotiate. In fact, it’s fairly up and down most of the way, incorporating an elevation gain of 1,350 ft.
That was right up Harry’s street though as he tends to find that hills and trails suit him much better than road races. That said, he did produce a stunning sub-32-minute 10k at Eastleigh recently which saw him finish in a fantastic 5th place.
He also won the MK Rocket 5k in a lightening quick time of 15:02 and recently finished top of pile in both the Huntsman Triathlon and the TrailX Spring Off Road Duathlon.
The Shere Half Marathon route started and finished in the picturesque village of Shere, which is not far from Guildford where Harry was based when he went to university.
It was very quickly into a massive climb which went on for the majority for the first mile. With 400 ft of elevation already covered in the space of that first mile, it was certainly a difficult start to the proceedings.
Harry still managed to get through it at 7:35 minute mile pace which was impressive on a slope that steep and put him into the lead. Once he got to the top, Harry picked up speed and went though the next mile at 5:35 pace.
Even though it was off-road he was still going at well under 6 minute mile pace for the next four miles which included a long downhill stretch on the fifth mile.
What comes down, must go back up though and that meant a big climb to negotiate on the other side. That wasn’t a problem for Harry though and he still powered up at 7:14 minute pace for the 7th mile even though it was pretty much all uphill.
Going through the next few miles at around 6:30 pace, Harry was then back to 6 minute mile speed for the 11th mile before embarking on a huge descent for the 12th mile.
That meant a very fast finish for Harry and he soared down at 5:41 pace leaving him with a short way to go to get to the line. It was a fine performance from Harry and he’d shown great strength given the varied nature of the terrain.
Registering a time of 1:15:41, it was a convincing victory from Harry and he was over a minute ahead of his nearest rival Ry Webb. He clocked a time of 1:16:44 to seal the runner up spot.
The next man in was Alex Gibb who finished in a time of 1:18:56. The top three were way ahead of anyone else though, with the next man, Oliver Hassall reaching the line over 15 minutes later, underlining just how well they performed.
Despite the 1,361 ft of elevation, Harry had still managed an average pace of 6:13 minutes per mile for the run which was an excellent result. Plus it was another terrific win to add to the resume.
The Shere event also features a 42 kilometre race as well as the 10k and 21k distances and Harry is thinking that he might go back next year to see if he can win that to complete the treble. If he’s in anything like the form he’s in now, he’ll take some stopping!!