The Road to Frankfurt: Burnham Beeches 1/2 Marathon

A week after returning from Kenya and a hard but good week of training back at sea level, I wanted to test myself over a half marathon; more as a hard training run than a race. As half marathons are quite few and far between at this time of year I picked the Burnham Beeches Half Marathon. It’s a picturesque two lap course, very little flat but no severe hills. Not a course for a personal best but a good, well organised half marathon nonetheless.

I arrived in plenty of time, picked up my number and chip then went for my warm up. As it is quite a low key race, which is usually won in around 72 minutes, I didn’t expect much competition, which would let me stick to my training plan. However when I turned up at the start line I was joined by Phil Wicks, who has a half marathon best of 62.51 (55th on the UK all-time list). Like me, Phil is training for the Frankfurt Marathon. It ended up being a good race; we ran together for the first 5 miles and then Phil tucked in behind me while I tried to push the pace. At around 8.5 miles I must have started to slow down a little up one of the hills so Phil pushed on and pulled about a 300m lead. With about 3 miles to go I got a second wind and managed to maintain the gap between us finishing 2nd in a respectable time of 68.00.

Considering no-one has broken 70 minutes on this course since 2006 I was pleased with this run, I’m right where I want to be with two and a half months left until Frankfurt.

My next race is the Prague 10km on 8th September where I hope to take down my 10km personal best, so for the next few weeks it’s back to some hard graft.


  1. Congratulations Tom on your excellent result in the ‘beeches’ half marathon. I was at that race and I agree that its not the easiest course to run a p.b on. So, in my estimations, running 68 means you’re probably in sub 2.20 shape for the marathon. My time was nowhere near as good as yours – I ran 1 hour 45 minutes – some 5 minutes off my best time. But I was satisfied and was a ‘good day out’ with the wife and kids. I’m a very average runner, but I really love running for a variety of reasons. The camraderie, the feeling of personal achievement, the fact you can do it almost anywhere in any natural environment. I’m interested to know the underlying reason that motivates you to run? Is it the competition? Obviously you are elite and enjoy winning, but is it more than that? Do you find it cathartic? I took up running many years ago to deal with stress at work and really relish the balance it brings to my life. Anyway, keep up the good work and I hope to meet you one of these days at a race in the UK. Perhaps an autograph wouldn’t go astray either! Cheers

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