How often do you get the opportunity to race alongside an Olympian? The answer is rarely unless it’s a big city marathon. However those who are entered in the Harrow Half Marathon will get that chance alongside the second fastest British female marathon runner in history. Mara Yamauchi will be starting the ‘Harrow Half’ on Sunday 17th September and running in it too! A life member of Harrow Athletics Club, she is returning to run on the streets where she laid the foundation of a very successful international career.
Mara has an impeccable marathon pedigree. That personal best of 2.23.12 was set when she came second in the 2009 London Marathon. The year before, she had come sixth in the Beijing Olympic marathon, the joint best ever placing by a British woman.
Mara’s half-marathon personal best of 68.29 was set eight years ago in Japan, but she doesn’t expect her finishing time in Harrow to be anywhere near that. She does however have the key advantage of local knowledge. “I’ve had a good look at the course map and all the roads are familiar. Apart from the start and finish, it looks like a reasonably flat course.”
Her advice to first-timers is “go very steady at the beginning as you don’t want to end up with a stitch or cramp and just save something in the tank for the final few minutes.”
One first timer will be another Olympian – Laura Turner-Alleyne, who competed at the Beijing Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games as a sprinter. She’s now Head Coach at Harrow AC. Mara expects Laura “to be fit and robust and her body will hold up no doubt. But doing a totally different event from what she was training for will be a challenge. So I would say just go off steady and try and enjoy it”
To make your event entry head over to the Harrow Half Marathon and the Sir Roger Bannister Family Mile via the event website at Harrow Half Marathon and we’ll see you there on the day!