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Wokingham Half Marathon – Members’ Highlights

With so many members running last weekend’s Wokingham Half Marathon rather than get full reports from a selection of members we decided to include highlights from as many members as possible getting some insight into their experiences and how they rated the event….

Paul Biggs finished in 1:38:04 – “Wokingham Half 2017 was all the things it promised to be, a fast but still friendly event. It was well organised and well marshalled throughout. Being local there were lots of club members competing and some great support out there on the course.”

Paul Biggs.jpg

Stuart Overhill finished in 1:34:03 – “I found Wokingham half marathon friendly, well supported and a flat fast course. The marshalls were friendly and the facilities prior to the start and after to be good. My only criticism is the course is a little boring.”

Stuart Overhill

Sharon Burfield finished in 1:47:22 – “After a rainy start, Charles and I had a leisurely run over to the start of the Wokingham Half, and realised it was actually going to be fairly good conditions for running. It was nice to meet up with a few other SJs at the start, where we discussed our race strategy. Mine was just to run, having already done five miles. Once out on the course, I realised I had been running behind a guy called Matt who we had met recently at park run, so had a quick catch up with him before powering on with Sacha. Sacha and I ran together for a good few miles before I decided I could push on for the finish. Once I hit the 12 mile mark, I raced for the finish, enjoying the crowd support. I crossed the finish line in 1.47.22 which was a real bonus considering I had been taking it steady for most of the first half! The finish goodies were a little disappointing but the welcome by other SJs at the end more than made up for it. Overall, I enjoyed the course and it’s a shame they may not be running this race in future.”

Sharon Burfield

Blanche Barnes finished in 2:01:07 – “My first half marathon by numbers:
# of times seriously considered chickening out between 05.30 – 09.59am= c 15
# of good reasons found in favour of chickening out = 0
# of SJs who might not have forgiven me had I chickened out (as I was due to be driving them/their bags)  = 4
# of times slated at the start for “amateur” Garmin skills: 1 (thanks Jaqs 😁)
# of miles actually run = 13.1
# of miles it felt like = 53.1 (13.1 + additional 40 between mile markers 8 and 12)
% extent of jellification of legs on finishing = 98%
% extent of happiness on finishing = 100%
# amount of gratitude owed to the many wise, kind & encouraging SJs whose patience I tested with inane questions & stress meltdowns before & on the day = infinite


Phil Guy forgot his timing chip so didn’t get an official time but still finished in roughly ninety minutes – “Nice start – a bit tougher finish and more hilly than was led to believe. Very peaceful country roads course. No goody bag or banana which was poor.”

Phil Guy

Mark Neve finished in 2:29:53 – “Wokingham was a fun half marathon, hillier than I expected but quite scenic. Although I was hoping for a PB around 2hrs 25 mins, I didn’t seem to have any energy on the day and had an odd knee pain for a couple of miles from mile 4. Over the last few miles I snuck in a few walks and my official time was 2:29:53. Fun day out and I hope they can put it on again next year.”

Mark Neve

Heidi Zymela finished in 1:45:15 – “It was my first time at Wokingham and I was impressed with the route. I thought it was scenic and the gentle undulation was just the right amount. Having not been at SJ runs for a few months due to work commitments, it was lovely to bump into fellow members on the way round!”

Collette Callanan finished in 1:26:39 – “The plan: run 6.35 – 6.40 minute miles at Wokingham with tired legs. The result: 1.26.39 (average pace 6.38 minute miles) and a cheeky personal best on very tired legs. The quote: the voice inside your head that says you can’t do this is a liar.”

Jane Bannister finished in 1:58:58 – “This was my 4th entry at Wokingham – it’s a great local event with lots of SJ’s running. Always good to meet up with everyone beforehand and see other members cross the finish line at the end. Lots of local support out on the course as well. Mile 11/12 seemed to go on forever though.”

Jane Bannister 2

Julie Fowler finished in 2:07:07 – “The Wokingham Half Marathon was my first in seven years and my first being a guide runner for my son Aaron, who is visually impaired. It was Aaron’s first race so it was good to get a feel for guiding amongst lots of other runners. We are currently training for the London Marathon and are running for Guide Dogs as my son Aaron has a guide dog called Banwell. We really enjoyed the Wokingham Half Marathon and I got a new personal best time which was our highlight! We’re now looking forward to doing the Fleet half Marathon in March which I last ran in 2011.”

Lucy Ong finished in 1:58:24 – “Fab route, weather was great for it, marshals and spectators were all jolly lovely, queues for the portaloos at the beginning made me panic more than the panic wee itself, can’t believe I didn’t die, can’t believe I walked so much (boooo), can’t believe I came in under 2 hours 😂 That probably sums it up for me.”

Lucy Zirbser finished in 1:56:01 – “I honestly can’t remember when I last ran Wokingham but I think it was my 3rd time on the course. The timing of the race was good for me; being the week before chemo which is generally when I feel fitter. I didn’t really have any expectations for the race and, other than running in the woods with my dogs, I haven’t done any training so I was happy to get round the pleasant enough course in under 2 hours.”

Tina Acock finished in 2:35:34 – “I found it really nice to run with fellow SJ runners and great to see 2 newbies run their first half marathons. The race was really well organised, plenty of helpful and supporting marshals and plenty of aid stations. The route was well marked and surroundings lovely. This is a race I will do again.”

Tina Acock

Louise Heginbotham finished in 2:38:35 – “Um just to say….. This was my first half marathon and I didn’t really know what to expect apart from a lot of miles! It was tough from about 8 miles onward but my running buddy Katie kept me going. We even had the lovely Monica hang back for the last few miles to make sure we didn’t give up!!!! I did say never again…… but we’ll see!!”

Dave Bartlett finished in 1:45:48 – “Turned up and instantly felt comfortable amongst like minded and welcoming Sandhurst Joggers. Wondering how the run would unfold it seemed insignificant as one of the many I met was Max (it was only 100 miles) Woods! After offering my respect and congrats on his humongous feet I was met with “what are you hoping for today Dave?” Not too sure but my watch is set for 1:47 was my reply. Well my moneys on you Dave! OMG, how dare I even contemplate the likelihood of failing. At 9.5 miles the early pace began to pay, one High5 gel and 2 cups of water later I found some energy. To my surprise Max was cheering me over the finish line from not far beyond it, looking at my watch I was delighted to report 1:46. Huge thanks to Max for the positive recognition of my pre race target.”

Dave Bartlett

Mike Gascoigne finished in 2:24:29 – “This is the ninth time I have ran this event and my slowest, it seems to get harder every year. The highlight this time was getting passed by Julie Fowler and her blind son Aaron, wearing their “blind runner” and “guide” t-shirts.”

Mike Gascoigne

Kathryn Shaw finished in 1:36:35 – “I planed to run with Charles St.Aubyn who I bumped into on the start line as we had a similar pace in mind. All went to plan even though I did start slowing down slightly around 8/9 miles in but Charles was a gent and stayed just in front of me which helped me to keep digging in. Luckily I had a second wind around mile 10 and finished in 1:36, spot on the time I had planned as I’m training for the London marathon and was using it as my long training run.

Kath Shaw 3

Charles St Aubyn finished in 1:36:34 – “Wokingham – really a Sandhurst social. Five mile jog over catching up with Sharon Burfield. Half an hour beforehand reassuring some nervous first timers. 13.1 miles of alternatively trying to keep up with and pacing Kathryn Shaw, followed by celebrating some cracking PB’s. SJ racing at its best.”

Charlie st Aubyn

Andrew Brooks finished in 1:27:11 – “As always, it was good to meet up with a few friendly faces from the club before the race. Having ran Wokingham back in 2016, I knew what to expect with the course, and I knew I needed to save a little in the tank for the hills in the last 3 miles. Despite this, I still allowed myself to get dragged along at the start and went out too fast! Having committed to a fast pace, I thought I might as well try and see it through to the end and I comfortably covered the first 7 or 8 miles ahead of my PB pace. The middle section of the course is quite pleasant – pretty flat, nice countryside and groups of supporters cheering you along so miles seem to pass fairly quickly. I have to admit, the last 3 miles of the course aren’t my favourite. Starting with the drag over the M4, followed by the long slog up the hill past Billingbear Golf Club and yet another motorway bridge. Just as my legs and mental determination were starting to fade, a cheer from Graham and Jenny gave me some renewed enthusiasm and I was able to push over the last mile (again uphill!), finishing in a new PB time of 01:27:11. Achieving a new PB is always enjoyable, however I’m not a massive fan of the Wokingham course (going out and coming back along the same 3-4 mile stretch of road and the uphill finish) and the lack of goody bag at the finish was a disappointment.”

Andrew Brooks

Monica Burbidge finished in 2:43:54 – “I treated it as a training run for Brighton marathon. Two Tuesday runners who had joined from Pure Beginners, Katie Woolger and Louise Heginbotham (amongst others) were running their first half and asked me to pace them to make sure they didn’t start too fast. I lost them at the start though, so they went ahead of me, presumably with other SJs, and I ran with Tina Acock for the first 7–8 miles. We were running faster than intended but we both felt good so continued at this pace. We saw Louise and Katie ahead of us from 3 miles and finally caught up with them at about 6 miles. They were struggling a bit at this point, so we both stayed with them for a bit and then Tina went on and I continued with them until we reached 10 miles (the furthest they had done in training). At this point we came across a Bracknell Forest Runner called Joan who was having a really bad second half of the race, with sickness and headache and I couldn’t leave her in that state as she might not have finished. Katie and Louise were doing well and I knew they would make it to the end together, so they went on ahead and I stayed with Joan, run-walking with her to the finish. We had our photo taken at the finish by someone from Bracknell News – fame at last! So, not quite the run I had planned but in any case I was pleased to get 13.1 miles in the bank!”

Monica Burbidge

Angela Foker finished in 2:26:34 – “The Wokingham Half was only my second half marathon so I was very apprehensive but happy that I was running with my SJ friends who were amazing support before, during and after the race. I struggled with the last few miles but the support from other competitors and the spectators enabled me to finish . My only disappointment was the lack of goodie bag with sweet treats at the end and that the medal was just handed to us in the bag. I have the London Landmarks Half Marathon next month and I am looking forward to it with them less apprehension having completed the distance at Wokingham.”

Angela Foker

Holly Dunn finished in 2:21:43 – “After completing my first 10k the day before my birthday last year, signing up to run a half the day before my birthday this year seemed like a great idea! This was to be my second half marathon. I hated every second of the Basingstoke half, so I wasn’t looking forward to this one bit. Luckily there were a group of us SJ’s together at the start line, who were taking my mind off of the 13.1 miles ahead of us. I ran most of the race with Jaqs & Angela who were great at keeping me going and listening to my bitching and moaning all the way round. I knew we were running faster than my usual snail’s pace, so was pleased I managed to keep up until around mile 10 where the three of us split up. The last three miles weren’t much fun with nobody to distract me from my aching hip (there was a bit of run/walking going on for the last two miles). The finish line was a very welcome sight! I managed to knock 23 mins off of my Basingstoke time, finishing at 2hrs 21mins. Pretty chuffed with that, so bring on the next one!”

Alison Jones finished in 1:52:38- “I think I would sum up Wokingham Half with a couple of words: Enthusiasm and Encouragement, from the guy on the mike at the start to all the marshalls, this was infectious and transferred to the runners who I often felt were really trying not to let them down.”

Alison Jones

Stephen Mott finished in 1:24:57 – “I last did Wokingham in 2005. Target for this year was to beat my PB from then. Running together with Ellie Gosling we pushed each other through the race (until I couldn’t hang on at ten miles) ending up beating my 13 year old PB.”

Steve Mott

Harvey Young finished in 2:20:37 – “My first half done and despite the heavy legs at the end I survived. The training I put in over the last few months really paid dividends and along with the encouragement I received from family, friends and especially my SJ family got me through it and hasn’t put me off as I plan on doing another one before the Great North Run in September.”

Harvey Young

Caroline Stuart finished in 1:47:14 – “As a first timer at Wokingham it definitely didn’t disappoint. The support and fantastic marshals along the whole route were fab and the atmosphere amongst all the runners was super friendly. The slightly downhill start was certainly more of a highlight than the slightly uphill finish! Breaking a long standing PB at the end of it was a massive bonus, helped by lots of my Sandhurst friends along the way!”

Patrick and Caroline

Patrick Wadsworth finished in 1:47:14 – “It’s a great race and rewarding helping a clubmate break her PB.”



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