Taking on the Half Marathon at the New Forest Marathon event as part of a longer training run in preparation for the London Marathon, Rob McTaggart was still in it to win it. But he was hoping that he might be able to do it by running it at marathon pace, instead of racing hard like he would in a normal half marathon race.
Usually the New Forest Marathon races aren’t of a particularly high standard so it’s quite conceivable he could have won it whilst going at his marathon pace, like he did in the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon. When he got onto the start line though, he was about to find a spanner in the works.
As he looked round, he saw someone he recognised. Low and behold, it was indeed the flame haired figure of Robert Wood. The very same Robert Wood who he was battling for second place with the previous weekend at the Overton 5. Under the circumstances, it would probably be fair to say, the pair weren’t happy to see each other.
Tag knew that his hopes of an easy victory had gone up in smoke. As had Robert’s. Now they were in a race and that meant reverting to plan B, which was to run as fast as you have to to win it.
Also in the race representing Bournemouth AC were Stu Glenister and Tamzin Petersen. Stu had also been competing at the Overton 5 the previous weekend and had been training every day since.
Stu was building up to the Old Harry Ultra, which is on the same day as the London Marathon and is a 55km multi-terrain route around Poole Harbour. Tamzin came into it off the back of the Southampton Pizza Run 5k the previous weekend where she was first female to finish.
After running 7 miles at an easyish pace before the race started, Tag opened with a 5:16 and a 5:15 for his first and second miles. It certainly wasn’t the marathon paced canter he’d envisaged.
He and Robert ran together for the first 6.5 miles before Tag began to ease away. His mile splits were mostly around the 5:20 sort of mark which was very quick for a trail run.
There was one incident where a person walking their dog had it on an extendable lead and the dog was on the other side of the path meaning Tag had to hurdle over the lead. Aside from that though it had all gone fairly smoothly until he reached the last kilometre. Then there was a mishap with the course signage that could have proved costly.
There was a lead bike that Tag had been following and lead bike had gone the way the signage had indicated. But then a marshal had tried to stop Tag, insisting that he needed to go the other way. Unsure of what to do at this point, he called out to the person on the lead bike to get them to come back.
Some discussion ensued between the person on the lead bike and the marshal and they got the route map out to see if they could work out the correct way. Whilst all this was going on, Tag could see the first prize that he’d been almost guaranteed start slipping out of his hands. Luckily he had managed to build up quite a big lead and once he got going again he was able to see out the race win.
Completing the race in 1 hour 10 minutes and 3 seconds, it had turned out to be an incredible time from Tag, even with the mishap toward the end. The course was slightly short though, coming up around 12.9 miles on most peoples’ watches.
That didn’t really matter to Tag though. He just wanted the win and the prize that came with it. He then went on to do a few easy miles after to round it up to 23 miles. That made it an excellent training run, albeit a slightly faster one than he was originally intending.
Robert Wood emerged from the trees about a minute later to take 2nd place in a time of 1:11:12. Nicholas Twomey of Ranelagh Harriers 3rd in 1:14:50 with Jim Lurkins of The Stragglers RC taking 4th in 1:18:50.
The race conditions were ideal on the day and Stu Glenister had a pretty decent run as well, completing the course in 1:34:11. That put him in 59th place out of a field of 1,220 and he came 14th out of 184 in the M40 category. He found the route to be fairly fast and flat and felt it was really nicely carved.
Having had quite a heavy week, Tamzin treated it as more of a tempo paced training run than an all out blast. She’d received a discounted entry though so she felt she couldn’t turn it down.
Completing the course in a time of 1:50:13, she was 33rd woman out of 540 and was 15th out of 138 in the F30 category. That put her overall position in the standings at 249th.
Daisy Baker finished as 1st female and she was 11th quickest overall, crossing the line in 1:21:53, just behind Gavin Pritchard who was 10th in 1:21:51. The next lady in was Jess Furness who was 33rd in a time of 1:30:17. Then it was Carly Scoble of Ryde Harriers who got round in 1:31:08, putting here in 36th position overall.
Next up for Tag, it was the Aldershot Road Relays where he was fronting a team of six Bournemouth AC men in an extremely high standard field. The event had been set up by Aldershot Farnham & District as an alternative to the Southern Road Relays in Crystal Palace which was organised by England Athletics Association.