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View from the Back, Watford Half 2022 - John Walerych

The Watford Half was back in the race calendar.

This was one of the last races I did before lockdown 2020 so needed to be revisited. The weather was atrocious as we drove to Watford but thankfully cleared up pre-race. Arriving early it felt a little like parkrun as every time you turned round more Hoops kept appearing!

Prior to the race the usual group photo was taken before we headed to our various spots at the start line. This was the last time I saw the majority of the Hoopsters as I walked down the line of pacers looking for 2:20. I was at the same start time with Emma and Monika and then we were off – taking about 2 minutes to get to the start line.

The first mile flew past as I ran on adrenaline, unfortunately this ran out as we left the park and my legs then felt like lead but on I went...

Mile 3 the first hill broke my promise - to run up every hill - as I ground to “a slow pace”. Miles 4 was a respite (I think) Mile 5 the first lake and wet feet. Marshals, water stations and random spectators provided raucous encouragement.

As with other races some regular well known faces towards the rear provide each other with support and encouragement and amusing observations on the conditions and surroundings.

I often seem to encounter Mr Singh from British Airways AC and we ran together for a while discussing our forthcoming runs. Seems like Mr Singh and I will be crossing paths again in Limassol next month – our first international encounter! As I slowly headed onwards the half way clock showed 1:15 “ish” it was based on the gun time I told myself.

The next shock was the even bigger lake at mile 9 no pussyfooting here. Straight through to cheers from the “sadists” on from the far bank, then a slow squelch up the hill whilst thinking “The shoes will be dry by the time I finish”.

Final shock - into the park - STILL A MILE TO GO! But I got there thanks to the Hoopsters encouraging me as I headed into that loop and return to the finishing straight where Jean was, as usual, waiting to cheer me through to the finish and James waiting patiently after the finish to hand me a bottle of fluid.

I think it was orange but I am still not sure. Picked up medal, more water and on to meet fellow Hoopsters post race.

Well done to everyone who finished that Watford Half.


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