Lesley’s 12 in 12 – the year so far

Lesley Colman is taking on 12 half marathons in 12 months for the Family Holiday Association! At a third of the way through the challenge, you can read her update below! Find out more about Lesley’s challenge here.

“So here we are, nearly at the end of May and only a few days away from the fifth of the twelve half marathons I am running this year to raise both the profile of, and funds for, the Family Holiday Association. I am very excited about the race this weekend. Having never been to Edinburgh before, my partner Mark and I are tying in the race with an extended city break. We are doing this a few times this year – I need his support, he gets a holiday. Win, win! 😊

“So how is it going so far? Well, the first four races have all been completely different, in various ways – the number of runners, the weather and the terrain. Also, three of the four races were new to me which has made the challenge all the more interesting.

January – Farnborough Winter Half

“January saw me returning to Farnborough to run the Winter Half with my training buddy, Lynda from Chippenham Harriers running club. I really enjoyed running the inaugural race with her in 2017, despite it being -2 degrees, bitterly cold and having to slow your pace when you had to run along a canal path.

This year didn’t disappoint! Granted it was warmer, a balmy 1 degree, but with blizzards, a cutting wind and a few new sharp inclines for good measure I just had to put my head down and get on with it! The canal path was taken away though which many of us were pleased about…

There were about 2000 runners and I think that I just wanted to finish as my time was 1:51:13, beating last year by an amazing 2mins and 3 secs!

February – Wokingham Half

“In February I ran Wokingham Half Marathon for the first time. Again, there were about 2000 runners, temperature was about 6 degrees, conditions were cold but calm.

The course, however, takes you twice up and over the flyover and at 11 miles that really seems like a mountain! I really enjoyed the course though and I ran with a few of my training buddies from Chippenham Harriers. This race starts at 10:00 but is about 90 mins drive from home and with giving yourself the hour beforehand for warm up and bag drop we had to get up very early.

I finished in 1:51:43 which I was a bit disappointed with as it is known as a personal best (PB) course, but having to get up so early I think affected me. I would rather stay over and get a good night’s sleep before a race, like I did for the other three, so I think I had to try much harder to keep to pace.

March – London Landmarks Half

“Anyway, the disappointment did not last long at all and I focused on the third race. March was to bring a weekend in London to race the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon. The day brought very warm weather – 12 degrees. Lovely!

This race was much busier than the previous two, with 10, 000 runners, and even though it was planned to start with precision timing by coloured number bibs I think the organisers soon realised that everyone was congregating in a very confined space so let pockets of people start running at intervals. The start, therefore, was badly organised and became a ‘free for all’, with many runners, such a myself and Sam, another running buddy, not being able to pick up pace until mile two and doing a lot of weaving and swerving around slower runners and those in fancy dress. Add this to the number of U-turns you had to do to see all the sights in 13 miles and it made for a very frustrating route.

That said though, the support was amazing, runners and spectators alike all seemed to bask in the fact that a) it was the first race of its kind and b) it was London!!  I finished in 1:53:07 – pleased as I thought I would finish much slower due to the route, but over the moon once I compared my time with others.

All my races I have been pleased with my category (gender and age) position but for this race I was in the Top 10% for both gender and category. Not bad for an ‘old bird’ ha ha! 😊

April – Great Welsh Half

“April and the Great Welsh Half Marathon was a completely different story! Only 411 runners, pouring down with rain and blowing a gale! Top that with having to run along a coastal path in Llanelli, South Wales and it doesn’t make for happy running. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Two Chippenham Harriers also made the journey and Joe ran with me. Both did really well with Juliet getting a four -minute PB!  The route was a figure of eight, primarily flat with a few inclines, and even though those inclines meant also battling against the wind (which we had to do for miles 6-10) I would do it again. The scenery, once the rain stopped, was fantastic and, I am not biased or anything (!), but being back in Wales did give it that special touch. And having the wind behind me some of the race allowed me to finish in a respectable 1:50:49!

Next up for me…

“So, this weekend is the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Two days of races of all distances for both adults and children, and two of my GWR work colleagues, Joe and Graham, will be undertaking the marathon. The organisers boast the route is the ‘fastest and flattest half marathon in the world’…will let you know if that holds true in the next blog!

Tune in in September when I will have completed eight races in total, and another four in Swansea, Bath (Two Tunnels), Severn Bridge and Stockholm…

Thanks for reading and I hope you are now inspired to follow suit and start planning your challenge to raise money for the Family Holiday Association!”

Lesley x