Report from Howard Jeffrey: This race was the last qualifier for the world championships in Aviles in June and I had entered just in case I had failed at the others. The pressure was off because I had made it already and it was a question of whether it was worth the return trip to Windsor. Too right it was worth the trip, quash those negative thoughts, see who the best in the UK are and how far have I to improve to get the better of them all! I stayed at my usual hotel in Harrow Saturday night and was up at 4.00 am to get ready and go across to the Windsor great park. As I arrived early I was able to park the car on the limited tarmac as the field scheduled for parking was a quagmire, as was transition and the approaches to it. The sun was a coming up as a red ball through the mist with Windsor Castle as the backdrop, all very fabulous. The start was delayed because of a reluctance to let cars on to the boggy field. They let them in the end and had to muster three tractors to help get them all out at the end. I say all, not mine obviously and a few other early birds. There were 19 in my age group and I expected around a seventh or eighth placing on known form. To get this, I had to beat Graham who you may recall from the Clumber report had beaten me by a couple of minutes.
The first 10K set off at the end of the long walk away from the castle and followed an undulating course, mainly on tarmac paths but a bit of soggy trail. A solid enough start and onto the bike for 4 undulating laps within the confines of the park. I was lucky not to be stopped by the police escorting the Royal family to church. We had been forewarned and time would be added on but I got through as they were making their final approach to the crossing point. Well I suppose we were racing in their front garden! I was 2 minutes ahead of Graham to the transition (he had an issue!) but then I was quicker in both transitions and another two minutes on the bike. This was because the weather was quite warm although there was a stiff breeze along certain stretches of each lap. Felt strong on the bike and the final 5K started across some leg sapping soft grass and the final run leg was again a bit of a chore and I got passed in the last K by another age grouper so finished 8th. 3 minutes ahead of Graham though, so pleased enough with the progress. These races are sharpeners for the later season races and next week is the Sheffield half for some stamina training so the second runs don’t seem quite so tough.