Friday the Thirteenth was unlucky this March for thousands of people who had signed up for marathons in the spring as they found out their races had been postponed until the autumn. London, Manchester and Brighton all announced within hours of each other that their events weren’t going ahead as scheduled next month due to the coronavirus outbreak which is sweeping across the country and beyond, putting a halt to many runners preparations after many months of focused training.
Lots of this weekend’s sporting events were also delayed or cancelled, but some running races went ahead despite the adversity, with events at Ashridge and in Bath and Milton Keynes all taking place.
On a dry, chilly Saturday morning, Gade Valley Harriers had two members taking part in the Ashridge Boundary Run. As well as enjoying views across the stunning Chiltern Hills – in particular from the Ivinghoe Beacon, one of the highest points of the Chilterns – runners had to endure nearly 1,500 feet (460 metres) of elevation as they ran along the muddy and slippery trails and paths around the Ashridge Estate.
Chris Dowling is a regular participant in the race and managed a course personal best (PB) by completing the challenging route in 2:05:34. Tom Perry completed the 16.5 mile race in 3:09:36.
On Sunday, it was rather more showery at the Bath Half Marathon as the recent wet weather returned. The event went ahead despite many locals calling for the plug to be pulled on the 13.1 mile race to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Phil Heaton completed the flat, fast route which started near the Somerset city’s centre and sent runners on a two lap course either side of the River Avon, in 1:29:41.
Also on Sunday was the Milton Keynes Festival of Running, which included races of 20-miles and half marathon distance.
Dave Goodman took part in the longer race just four days after completing the Chase the Moon 10k around the London Stadium on Wednesday evening. He completed that four lap course in 41:41, and then took twelve minutes off his 20-mile PB in Milton Keynes by clocking a time of 2:42:05.
Rob Humphreys completed the half marathon – which passes Willem Park and goes through some of the Buckinghamshire town’s parks – in 1:26:54, ahead of Neil Harper who crossed the line in 1:53:21.