What do you do after recording a brilliant new half marathon PB? Take some time to reflect on the achievement?.. Go out and celebrate?.. Reward yourself with a dinner at your favourite restaurant?.. Simon Hearn did none of those things. He went out to attempt to beat it again!!
Just three weeks on from his magnificent 1:26:13 time at the Surrey Half Marathon, Simon Hearn was back on the start line again, this time at the Reading Half Marathon. But could he knock even more time off an already high benchmark?
He was joined on the start line by Stu Glenister who was running it for his father who was 80, with the race finishing in the Madejski Stadium, home of his football club Reading.
Stu had been working hard on his speed in preparation for the race so was looking to register his fastest half marathon for the past few years.
His last race was the Ryde 10 where he joined the Bournemouth AC team for the Hampshire Road Race League fixture in what turned out to be a very hilly encounter. Stu completed the 10 mile course in 1:13:16.
His last half marathon on the road was the ABP Southampton one that he did in April last year, finishing in 1:37:22.
Going for a sub 1:26 this time, Simon had a plan in place and had a fixed pace to stick to that would see him achieve that goal. He’d decided to stay slightly ahead of the 1:25 pace group for as long as he could and when they pass him, he would try to keep them in his sights.
The 1:25 pace group went past Simon around eight miles into the race and after that he just focused on them. For the last few miles he was finding it tough and had to dig in a bit but it worked out well in the end and he got what he wanted. Crossing the line in 1:25:34, Simon had recorded another brilliant half marathon PB and he was over the moon about it.
That put Simon in 203rd place out of 4,606 and 11th out of 380 in the M50 category. It was a great result for Simon and a fully deserved reward for the hard training he’s been putting in.
Also running well, Stu Glenister thoroughly enjoyed the race and battled hard all the way through, giving it all he’s got. That led him to an official chip time of 1:30:46 and that put him in 388th place overall and 21st in the M50 category.
He was slightly annoyed as his Garmin showed him going through 13.1 miles in 1:29:40 but had reached 13.3 miles by the time he got to the finish line. Nevertheless, it was still a top performance from Stu and was his fastest half marathon time since the Bournemouth Marathon Festival in 2019. That will be enough to give Stu the impetus to keep training hard and looking to make further gains.
Leeds City star Ollie Lockley won the race in an extremely quick time of 1:04:35 with Alex Lawrence of Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets taking 2nd in 1:04:53.
Benjamin Alcock of Bedford & County was 3rd in 1:05:08 with Seyfu Jamaal of London Heathside taking 4th in 1:06:25.
Jack Bromley of Buckley Running Club was 5th in 1:07:39 with Alex Miell-Ingram of Radley coming in 6th recording a time of 1:07:43.
It was a really high standard field at the sharp end with nine runners getting inside 1:09 and 15 having reached the finish before the clock ticked over 1 hour 10 minutes.
Finishing 25th overall in a time of 1:12:11, Naomi Mitchell of Reading AC was first female out of 1,511. Rebecca Murray of Bedford & County was 2nd female and 28th overall in 1:12:39.
Emma Styles of Nuneaton Harriers was 3rd woman and topped the F35 category, reaching the line in 1:15:31. That put her in 58th place overall. Rhianne Hughes of Leeds City came in in 68th place to take the 4th female spot in 1:16:32.
With the Swansea Half Marathon scheduled in for June, Simon will have another opportunity to better his PB time yet further and way he’s running, you certainly wouldn’t bet against him.
He’s also got the Hampton Court 10k lined up in May so he’ll be looking to have a tilt at his 10k best there. That currently sits at 39:04 which was the time he recorded at the Royal Berkshire 10k in 2019. That was a race that was also in Reading, incidentally.
Wo knows where this rich vain of form Simon is in at the moment will take him and what heights he can achieve. All he knows is that he’s really enjoying pushing himself and seeing the progression it is bringing.