Report by Dave Hainsworth
Not able to make the Paris 20K for a variety of reasons a few of us opted for a weekend in Oxfordshire instead. The chosen events are held in and around the grounds of Blenheim Palace which are a magnificent setting for a race, especially with the Palace itself as a backdrop to the start and finish. Scenic in every sense of the word (not quite as undulating as Burn Valley but every bit as picturesque) the half marathon course is a two lapper with the 10K a single lap which includes a short off road loop.
With two races sharing part of the same route the distance markers were a little confusing ’til the penny dropped that the kilometer markers were for the 10K and the mile markers for the Half. Well done to Ursula Mcgouran who continued her recent run of good form and special mention to Ann Dale of Wetherby who was second lady in the 10K.
There was considerable congestion after the races but some creative route finding got us away from the venue to our chosen post race rehydration venue in good time. The Red Lion in Steeple Aston was a typical Oxfordshire Cotswold pub (I did visit a few over the weekend) and once you accepted that the local idea of a head on your pint is three big floppy bubbles that burst before you get the glass to your lips, their beer, from the nearby Hook Norton brewery, was very acceptable and thirst quenching.
and a report from Ursula ………
Some months ago we were looking for an autumn weekend away that combined some good sight seeing opportunities together with eating, drinking and a bit of running… The British Heart Foundation Blenheim Half Marathon seemed to fit the bill and so we booked the accommodation and I entered the race.We were joined by Dave and Barbara Hainsworth plus some running friends from Wetherby for what turned out to be a great weekend.The morning of the race was misty and atmospheric but just before the start of the race, as Dave and I were waiting for the off, the sun came out and shone on us for the rest of the day! The course starts in the Great Court – most impressive – and follows a scenic but very undulating route of Tarmac paths through the stunning Blenheim estate and out onto traffic free roads in nearby villages. Pretty, interesting and challenging but I’d have to say not a PB race.However, we enjoyed the run and were pleased with our times. I managed 1:47:53 finishing 46th female and 312 overall out of 1516 finishers. Dave came in at 1:59:53 finishing 491 male and 647 overall. The race was won by Matthew Blagg in 1:19:02 and the First Lady, who was 5th overall finished in 1:24:12.
After what was a bit of a mad dash that felt like Whacky Races to get out of the grounds, we all regrouped at a local pub for some much needed refreshment! A good weekend and with Oxford and a variety of Cotswold villages nearby it was a great location for a few days away.
Results (all chip times)
|1st Matthew Blagg||79.02||1st James Curran||37.25|
|1st lady Kate Mapham||84.09||1st lady Caroline Hoskins||41.31|
|Ursula McGouran||107.53||Peter McGouran||62.58|