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Tim Cheshire – Falls, Horses and Bottles


The John Austin Half Marathon took place in the New Forest, starting and finishing in Brockenhurst on 9th March 9 March 2014. This is a very worthwhile 13 miler as £40K has been raised for the Oakhaven Hospice Trust.

The course itself is a slightly undulating trail covering a mixture of trail, grass, mud, water and tarmac. This year there was approximately 650 runners.

My aim was to prepare by completing my training runs on trails but due to the weather, rain and more rain, road was the order of the day. That said I was feeling quite good the sunny day that greeted me was good news.

An amble to the start line, where the majority of runners were stretching and warming up, see the video link, I come into view at 60 seconds, blue top.

Bang goes the gun and we are off, up a small but long incline, I settle into my fair to middling speed and watch a fair number of runners go blasting past me. Due to the nature of the first section you could see the fast guys and girls sprinting off, never for me to see again, slightly disheartening but never mind.

I was hoping for a sub 1.49 time as this would be a PB, I got to the 6 mile marker at 47 minutes, a quick calculation meant I was on for a @1.40 finish, by now I am excited as my run seemed more of a plod. I settle a bit more and continue onwards.

One observation was the number of runners who would turn around if they missed some free jelly babies and the second the volume of runners who were dressed for mid-winter.

At about 9 miles the revised time had been revised again, I’m not sure what happened but my plodding must have plodded some more.

Then it happened, a yell, a scream, a scrape, a thud, somehow a chap had managed to fall over on a flat trail. Did I stop? I offered a ‘you alright’ I was on for a PB.

Next up, someone started to talk to me, let me make it clear I really do not want to have inane chants with a competitor only for them to say, see you later as they run off. Maybe I’m a little antisocial when there is an event?

There are free roaming horses in the New Forest, except for when they decide to charge full flight in your direction, not being sure what to do, I carried on, must not forget that PB.

I am at 10 miles now and then it happened my Chimp ‘read the book’ took over. A small lane, runners, a car going too fast and swerving meant one thing, I threw my water bottle, it was a good hit.

Remember 6miles in 47 minutes, the mile markers were out, the chap that ran off, I caught him again as well as a few of those that decided to sprint at the start, the free jelly babies, not for me, but the homemade cake at the end, rude not to!

Final time 1.46, happy for the PB but miffed I missed 1.45, the course, exactly 13.1 miles!

As you can see in the picture I really must get some new kit, it’s the same as the other photos.

Next up the Oxon 20 miler