Ratbag I Presume...

The meeting of the Forumites at the Windsor Half-Marathon


Posted: 3 October 2002
by Snicks


Are you in the picture? You could be next time...

Snicks - who would be sacked from work for spending all her time on the RW forums if she wasn't a freelance - was one of 60 forum users who met up at the Windsor Half last weekend...

This was going to be the biggest blind date I'd ever been on. But instead of single red carnation, I had to look out for around 60 blue and yellow vests - just like the one I was wearing.

I arrived early, feeling a tiny bit anxious. Internet eyeballs haven't exactly got a good reputation. I've seen the stories, witnessed the website tales of woe on Trisha, and Kilroy. What if they're all weird and nerdy? What if a pervy lurker with a fetish for women aiming for a sub-1:40 were to turn up dressed in nothing but a raincoat...?

The first person I spot is Ratbag: the most famous of the 'forumites', our record 'poster', and funniest running raconteur.

Meeting Ratbag is like meeting an old friend. And all 'blind date' feelings go out the window. Soon there are around 30 of us assembled - easily identified in our blue and yellow vests, or yellow T-shirts (Well done The Lamb and The Dog Walker) - smiling for group photos and enthusiastically forming pacing groups for the race.

The Unofficial Runner's World Forum Running Club, was as it says on our unofficial website, formed after the London Marathon 2002. Chatting about the race online had brought us together, given us a common bond, and a desire to share our passion. But was the club idea all post race sentimentality? Or, was a virtual club with real runners something that might just work...?

Windsor proved it can work. Drew, club coach, and our top runner, pointed out that unofficially our club would have been the top 4th team at Windsor. As one of the sub-1:40 group, I know that I wouldn't have achieved my 1:38:59 had it not been for Venom pulling me round and keeping a check on our pace.

But why not join your local running club? Most club runs start at 7pm, so for many of us working long hours, or raising very young children, this just isn't an option.

Some of us have met four of five times already. Our virtual club feels more real. Our RW forum has now more than 10,000 posts. More and more people want to join this loosely knit unofficial club.

So, look out Runner's World, the URWFRC are a force to be reckoned with – and are coming to a race near you! [See the Events forum for loads of race discussions.]

PS: I wish we’d thought of a snappier name!

More URWFRC photos (a big page to download!)


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Discuss this article

Did anyone get a PB at Windsor?
Everyone I have spoken too was dissapointed with there time this year.
Someone must be pleased with there time.
Posted: 02/10/2002 at 19:25

Hi Pete 1

If you go to the Windsor half results thread(think its on the URWFRC forum) you'll see loads of people were very pleased with their time though some did have a bad day.

I had a great run - and as it was my first half whatever time I came in at would have been a PB - did it in 2.04:45 which I was very pleased with.
Posted: 02/10/2002 at 19:51

PB for me 1:51:10, mind you was first half marathon
Posted: 02/10/2002 at 20:14

I last ran this race in 1999 & I find this new course harder & more hilly. Is this just my imagination or was it the heat that got me?
Posted: 02/10/2002 at 20:39

Pete 1 - yes it was a PB for me, I took near 4 mins off my Guernsey Half time, so I'm well pleased with my days work despite not running my target time.
Posted: 02/10/2002 at 20:46

shocker - 20 minutes off, with a 2'08
Posted: 02/10/2002 at 23:13

I ran a personal best by 55 seconds thanks to great pacing from Fozzie and Long Legs. However, my joy was subdued because I was expecting to go under 2hrs.
Posted: 02/10/2002 at 23:29

Great to have your company George, and glad you got a PB. Not one of my better runs, I was hoping for a PB but could not get a good pace right from the start, I dont think I am very good when its warm and as for the hills!! Will try and beat my timne next year though.
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 08:12

Add me to the list of disappointed runners. Had been following the RW 100 day programme religiously hoping for sub-01:50 and ended up with 01:56. I don't know if the course is harder than 1999, but I am still looking for those 5-10 minutes the organisers promised we would take off our times with the course changes.
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 09:40

First time... Has to be PB!
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 09:45

Mine was a PB by 6 minutes with 1:50. It doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed as I had been training at 1:45 pace and the heat and hills killed me!!! Must find a flat half this winter to have another go at sub 1:45... any ideas in the Bucks area!!!
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 10:18

pb of 2:17 in my first 1/2-in fact first organised race-happy that i ran my plan of 10:30 min miles consistently.hoping to complete nyc marathon nov 3 for a new pb at that distance(first of course) too!!i thought the first mile was measured short,don't know what anyone else thought.in any event without noticeably changing pace i ran 9:30 for the first 'mile' and 21 min for the first two...
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 10:58

First HM for me too - so it was aPB! I was really pleased - had followed the RW schedule too hoping for 2:15 and came in at 2:06, and felt really comfortable all the way round - even managed negative splits! I thought the first mile was measured short too - my friend and I reached the marker at 9:15 on our watches but definitely weren't running at that pace. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the race - beautiful location, gorgeous day, lots of men in uniform.....can't go wrong!
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 12:53

I'm another first timer at HM and got a PB of 1:49. Paced the first 6 miles at 9:00 and was feeling so good I upped the tempo a bit to run a large negative split. Also found the mile markers a bit dodgy, didn't get hit by a lack of water but some friends who were behind me did complain. Was using the race to pace myself for Dublin, but have missed a lot of endurance due to injury over summer so not expecting miracle time there...
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 13:01

PB of 1:38, which was 7 mins faster than my time at the even hotter and hillier Burnham Beeches half in August... like Nobby I'll be looking for a faster race this winter - ideally flat as a pancake and with the temperature just above freezing - nice!
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 13:55

Definitely short first mile - 8:07 but averaged 9:06. First so PB. Wanted under 2hrs, made 1:59 - how's that for pacing? Heat and hills were tough but a good day.
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 14:10


BK
Hi Skinny Whippet, I did Burnham Beeches as well. Like you I'd like to do another flat half to see what I'm capable of. Any ideas?

Got 1:45:20 at Burnham (then PB) and 1:41:22 at Windsor (PB)
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 14:35

Not one of my best times - 2:08. PB is 1:56 at Reading this year. Any excuse, but had a calf injury 3 days before the event. Lovely atmosphere, but hills and heat didn't help. I will be back next year !
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 16:13

Blue Knees, the only flat 1/2M I found when I did a search was Gosport on the 17th November - but I've already signed up to do the Brighton 10k on that day!! (but at least that should be fast & flat too....)

After Burnham I'm always suspicious of any race that's described as "undulating" ;-)
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 16:21


BK
It was a bit much wasn't it. I'm ashamed to say I walked part of the last hill on the finishing straight.

I might see you at Brighton. I too saw Gosport but its not very nice to look at.
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 16:26

Yeah that last hill - ouch....
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 16:41

it was my first 1/2 marathon so i was very pleased with my time of 1.37.39 i found some of the mile markings dubious and it was very hilly.still what a glorious day.
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 21:18

Alex popplewell.

Haven't seen you on the New York thread but those of us running New York are meeting up at the mayflower hotel on Central park near the pasta party at 5.00 on the Saturday.
Posted: 03/10/2002 at 21:30

This was my first too, so whatever I did would be a PB: I was pleased with 2 hours 22, and relieved to hear that some thought the first mile was measured short, I did that in 9.15, when I'm usually a steady 10 minute miler. The lack of water at the 9 mile water station was my lowest point, especially as it came just before the long hill! Great day out though, I think I'll be there next year.
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 08:18

Hi I'm new to this forum, and to running for that matter. In response to Pete's question I ran my first half-marathon and got a PB of approx 1hr47 so was pretty happy. My two running friends didn't fare so well - both ended in the first aid tent with dehydration. Can't say I was too impressed with the lack of water around the course. Will def. be there next year though. Can anyone recommend a good 10m/half-marathon event in the spring?

Posted: 04/10/2002 at 08:43


BK
We have some URWFRC events in March where loads of formites will be turning out. These include Salisbury, Telford (Ironbridge), Coniston and Inverness. See the URWRCC thread for more info
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 08:50

Hi All,
I have run Windsor 3 times now and on Sunday I found it very very hard.....
I came in on a time of 1.44 but had done 1.41 last year, so I blamed it on the heat.
It was a great run with lots of great people
and I remember lining up with some of the
runners world forum runners who were aiming for 1;50. Guys I hope you got it....
That last hill was a killer don't you think?
So whats next??? We have Southend 10k in my area, but I fancy another half soon... Any ideas......
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 09:08

I ran this race last year in 1 57 when it was wet and windy and by comparison this year was really pleasant. I did 1 59 which I was pleased with , I was aiming for 2 10,as I have only been running again for 2 weeks following an injury after tripping over a dog in June. I think that most pople were drinking too little. I had 3 cups of water at each station and did not find the hills an issue. I felt fine at the end, but saw many people who looked very dehydrated.
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 09:28

I really cannot understand why so may people have complained of heat/dehydration.

The weather was near perfect, and there is no excuse for dehydration if water is provided, which it was at regular intervals.

If it did run out for back markers, that reflects poor organisation, particularly as only 4,600 showed up in an entry of 6,000.

Otherwise,it is down to individuals to prepare properly,and the message about the dangers of dehydration were made perfectly clear in the Windsor brochure sent out a fortnight beforehand.
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 09:38

Dave,

You tripped over a dog!!!!!!

What are you like!!!!
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 09:39

This was my first half marathon, and despite not training for the last 6 weeks due to a knee injury, finished in 2:18.
I really enjoyed the day and I am looking forward to my first marathon - New York in 30 Days.
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 09:40

Even though I ran a (for me) disappointing time 3 minutes slower than the pb and 5-6 minutes slower than my goal (after 100 day training plan) this was wholly down to illness for the preceding week. In training I ran Burnham quicker than I ran at Windsor and did the GSR sub 70. So all things considered I was pleased with what I pulled out the bag on race day given how I felt.

I think the course at Windsor was excellent, no more hilly or 'undulating' than my training routes and I don't think we can blame the weather (it is in fact as hot as that most of the summer).
If water did run out for slower runners then that is indeed a shambles, but as WWR identifies there is no excuse to be under prepared or dehydrated if water was available.

I will run it again but next year I'll probably do New Forest instead.
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 10:14

I run a PB (1Hr 32Min) at Windsor after following the RW 100 day plan (thanks RW)
. The only other half I did was the Wycombe in July (1Hr 43min) having taken up running in
May of this year so a PB was a bit inevitable, however was a bit disappointed not
to run sub 1:30. Did anyone else feel that the finsih line was getting further away as you run down the
last mile or was I suffering from heat stroke? Having a rest this week and im not sure what to have a go
at next other than London (If I get accepted). If anyone could recommend a nice flat 1/2 Marathon resonably
close to South Bucks then I might give that a go!


Posted: 04/10/2002 at 10:38

I can really recommned the Hillingdon half for fast times, it is two laps on the flat around a square of roads around the outside of the University, just to the east of Uxbridge, so just off the M40. I did 1 47 when my previous best was 1 50 and I was not really pushing it as it was part of my training for another race, so I suspect that anyone really giving it a go could really take some time off their best at this one
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 10:49

Fleet (Hants) half is fairly flat and is run in March.
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 11:47

Me and the good lady both new to forum and to long distances. Took up jogging in may and thoroughly enjoying the new lease of life. Bit dissapointed to hear that Windsor was such a poorly organised event as it was our first, nevertheless we thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. we crossed the line together in less that 2hours and were delighted. (romantic or what)
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 15:06

I too found the Windsor HM tough.I've no complaints with the weather - just right for me and dehydration wasn't a problem either. You just have to accept that some courses are harder than others. My time of 1:35 was almost identical to last year's.
The course is attractive and its hills are
a challenging price to pay for this benefit.
I'm doing the Great North Run this Sunday for the first time. I'm told that the route
includes long straight stretches on main roads. I know which I prefer to run. Never
mind the time!
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 20:25

As a plodding pensioner this was the first time I had run Windsor so unable to comment upon previous years..I thought the whole event to be fantastic. I much preferred the atmosphere to the Great North Run ( which I will be running Sunday)Nice to see so many people supporting the runners.My time was 2.01 hours so not too bad, although I would like to improve upon this next year. The run was well worth the 500 miles round trip.
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 20:53

Oldtimer - good luck at the GNR - they obviously don't make them like that any more - not many would run 2 halfs only one week apart, I sure wouldn't - southern softies ehh!
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 21:36

I didnt get a PB either, but was only 1 second over my Southend Half time from June, which I am well chuffed with as Southend was pretty much as flat as a half can be, maybe will get a PB this weekend at the Felixstowe Half then :)
Posted: 04/10/2002 at 21:52

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