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Windsor Running Festival to take place this weekend

Staff reporter

Windsor Running Festival to take place this weekend

Calling all runners and fitness enthusiasts looking for a new challenge in 2019.

There are a few entries still available for this weekend’s Windsor Running Festival, which consists of the Windsor Women’s 10k on Saturday and the Windsor Half Marathon on Sunday.

Featuring the most scenic routes through the Windsor Great Park, runners in their thousands will be lining up on the start line of the Windsor Half Marathon, which starts and finishes on the Long Walk.

The runners will pass breathtaking scenery on traffic-free roads and, although there are many flat stretches, there are hilly sections too, making the run a little more interesting.

The Windsor Women’s 10k is open to women of all ages and abilities, from fun runners to those chasing a personal best.

The course starts on the Long Walk and takes runners past the Copper Horse, the Royal Lodge and the Jubilee Statue before finishing again back on the Long Walk.

Make sure you don’t miss any of the action. Here’s a schedule of the Windsor Running Festival to ensure you keep up with the pace:

Saturday: The Windsor Running Festival kicks off on Saturday in Windsor Great Park with the Windsor Women’s 10k.

9am: Sprite Sprint

For little sprinting sprites, aged 5-9, there is a 50m Sprite Sprint Dash, which will take place before the main event of the Windsor Women’s 10k on Saturday and also before the Windsor Half Marathon on Sunday.

Entries for sprite sprinters are taken on the day. There’s a 50p entry fee and numbers are given out as you register.

10am: Windsor Women’s 10k

The main event of Saturday, The Windsor Women’s 10k, will be started by five-time Olympic long-distance runner, Jo Pavey, who will then join the race to run alongside women of all ages and abilities. Starting on the Long Walk, runners will travel past landmarks such as the Copper Horse, the Royal Lodge and the Jubilee Statue.

Some runners will also be entered as part of the race’s ‘Generation Game’; a chance for mothers and daughters to race for the fastest combined time.

Post-race: Presentations and meet-and-greet with Jo Pavey.

Once runners have crossed the finish line, the winners will be presented with their awards.

All runners will then have the chance to chat with Jo Pavey at the Running4 Women tent in the race village.

Sunday: The return of the Windsor Half Marathon, now in its 37th year.

9am: Sprite Sprint

For the second day of the Windsor Running Festival, the Sprite Sprint will take place.

10am: Windsor Half Marathon

The main event of the weekend – the Windsor Half Marathon, now in its 37th year, provides beautiful scenery with traffic free roads. The course is undulating, but with many flat stretches.

Entered within the half marathon are local businesses running as teams as part of the Corporate Challenge. Winners of this will receive a Corporate Challenge Trophy, and the team that raises the largest amount for charity will also win and award.

10.15am: The Glynn Shefford Memorial Run

Open to anyone over the age of 10, a 2.5mile race that can be run or walked.

The run is in memory of Glynn Shefford, a scout leader from Old Windsor, who was involved in organising the first Windsor Half Marathon in 1981.

Each year the Windsor Running Festival hosts the Glynn Shefford Memorial Run to commemorate the great work he did throughout the borough.


Charities that benefit from the festival

Cancer Research UK: Pioneering research to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured, Cancer Research UK is working to prevent cancer, diagnose earlier, develop new treatments and optimise existing treatments to make them more effective.

In the last three years of the Windsor Running Festival, including both the Windsor Half Marathon and the Windsor Women’s 10k, runners have raised £210,000 for the charity.

The Prince Philip Trust: The Windsor Half Marathon has been a supporter and major donor for over 25 years with a total donation from the event reaching over £450,000.

The Prince Philip Trust provides in the interests of social welfare, in facilities for the recreation and leisure time of local people and the advancement of the education of young people across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Thames Hospice: A local charity for adults in Berkshire and Bucking-hamshire providing expert care for those requiring respite, therapy, emotional support and end-of-life and palliative care.

The team work with patients, families and carers to develop individually tailored programmes of care. 

Battersea: Aims to never turn away a dog or cat in need of help, caring for them until loving homes can be found, no matter how long it takes.

The charity are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, and are determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society. In 2016 alone, they cared for around 7,000 animals, of which 1,600 were at their site in Old Windsor.

The British Horse Society: The largest equine charity in the UK, dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and equestrian routes and safety for horse and riders.

The society’s thriving and active community of staff and volunteers are committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere.


Advice for the big day 

The Windsor Women’s 10k and the Windsor Half Marathon are set to see record numbers lining up on the start line this year. But don’t let pre-race jitters get the better of you. James Thie, the official race coach for the Windsor Running Festival, has put together these tips to see you through the race:

Trust your fitness: It is easy to think that to do more is better. Many people overdo the last week of training as they go searching for fitness or think they need to add one more run in to get fitter. My advice is cutting volume by half but still running at the same frequency as normal. You are better reaching the start line fresher and healthier, rather than tired and injured.

Plan ahead: Get your kit and trainers out ready. Make sure they have been tried and tested on longer runs and do not change anything on race day. Also, make sure all the information you need concerning travel and parking, as no one likes a rush on race day. Think about having a practice to find your best breakfast and fueling/hydration during the race. You will need something on race morning that will give you a long-lasting release in energy during the run. I have found honey porridge with banana as a great combo, but must be tested on a long run before race day.

Race strategy and nerves: Don’t get carried away on race day. Have a plan and stick to it. If aiming for a time, then look out for the pacers as they are a brilliant guide to help you achieve your goal.

For others, it may be looking at the course for hills or water stations and or planning a run and walk strategy to cover the distance.

Looking out for landmarks can help, as they break down the distance and help settle the pre-race nerves. And nerves can be a good thing – don’t let them get the better of you!Think positive thoughts. Everyone will have ‘butterflies’ but use them to get excited about the challenge ahead.

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