Burnham Beeches Half Marathon race report

Can’t think of anything better than a run through the woods on a sunny August Sunday morning!

Beautiful day for a long Sunday run – especially through the woods, and especially when it’s another 21 km to tick off the list of 12 in 2019! Although there has been some interesting weather the past week (and even yesterday) with very high winds and rain, today was sunny and the breeze was at a perfect level for cooling off on a hot run.

Pre-race – a friendly and efficient atmosphere

The race took place through Burnham Beeches, a large area of woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest near Farnham Common in Buckinghamshire (west of London). Beech trees are a particular thing in this whole area of Buckinghamshire, growing well on the chalky soil of the Chilterns and surrounding areas. The nearby town of High Wycombe is renowned for furniture making. Beech is an ideal wood for furniture because it is hard, strong and has a straight grain. Although hard it is also relatively malleable, making it good for items such as chairs. Chair making has been recorded in the area from before 1700, and although the hey day of big manufacturers such as Ercol and G-Plan is over there are still furniture factories in the area.

I love trees!

I have written before about the benefits of running (or indeed just being) outside, and woodlands in particular have special qualities. So it was a pleasure to run two laps (I think I can just about cope with 2 laps 😉 ) in such a beautiful wood, with the dappled sun filtering through the canopy.

The old part of the school buildings. The boys who attend this school are lucky – beautiful grounds and playing fields. Even a climbing wall in the gym!

The race was organised by the Burnham Joggers, and everything was great. Because I had entered early I received an email a few days ago with my ‘VIP Parking Pass’ which allowed me to park only a couple of minutes walk from the Start/Finish – phew! I don’t think my legs would have fancied a long walk back to the car at the end! Plenty of clean well stocked (with paper) toilets, and a very efficient bag drop. The whole Race Village was based at Caldicott School. I was intrigued by the name because I have a friend who lives in Caldicott – and it’s nowhere near there (it’s in Hertfordshire). Looking it up when I got home I found out that the school did in fact start life near Hitchin, moving to Burnham in 1938, but keeping the name.

There were some very pretty traditional cottages along the way. And some very large houses too. Who might live in a house like this? A millionaire perhaps?!

The marshals were fantastic – very supportive at various strategic points – especially half way up the hills! The medal is lovely and although the 10 k’ers got the same medal they had a different colour ribbon. I know it’s picky but I do get a little bit cross when everyone gets exactly the same medal for doing 5 km or 10 km or 21 km. Yes, yes, I know I should just get over myself! We also got a good technical T shirt – with everyone’s names on no less. And a banana (of course). And a rice crispie bar. AND a yummy packet of posh crisps! Really – what’s not to like? Would I do this again – yes I would. And next time I would bring my swim suit because there was even an outdoor pool that runners could use post run.

I’m raising money for JDRF – funding research into a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

At the time of writing I am not sure of my official time, but according to my running app it was 2:05:06.

Thank you to everyone who has been so generous in donating to JDRF so far. I am so heartened by your support, and it does really keep me going around the 10 mile mark, when I start wondering what the h*ll I am doing! If you would like to add to the pot here is the link. I have 7 weeks to recover and get ready for the next one in September – the one and only Ealing Half Marathon! #ealingfeeling

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