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It’s spring marathon season and the 20 mile races and running events are coming thick and fast now. The Finchley 20 is a local race organised by Hillingdon AC that was originally founded in 1933 by the then Finchley Harriers, who along with Ruislip and Northwood A.C. were the two clubs involved in the 1966 amalgamation, that produced Hillingdon AC.

The Finchley 20 is the longest running 20 mile road race in the UK with a fastest time of 1:39.01, which was set by the great Bill Addocks in 1972. I ran this race as part of my 2014 marathon preparation and I was quick off the mark to make sure I entered again this year. Unfortunately I can’t see myself troubling such an amazing time (even an hour more would be good for me!) but I enjoy putting myself out there for races steeped in running history.

There are plenty of facilities at the Hillingdon AC clubhouse and they’re a friendly bunch to boot. Parking is available at the nearby crematorium overflow car park, number collection was on the day outside the club house, there are separate male & female changing / bag storage areas inside, and a well stocked food & drink concession area at the back. They also have showers. Sweet, wonderful, warm showers for after the race. Definitely remember to bring your towel, shampoo, and shower gel of choice.

Other Dan is a Hillingdon AC member so he was there pootling around when I arrived. His marathon training hasn’t kicked in yet so he was planning to make this his unofficial ‘Finchley 15’. In fact he ended his race at the ‘Finchley 10’ mark (felt his hamstring and had a physio appointment the next day) and helped out by handing out wet sponges for the rest of the race.

I happily ran my four laps at an even pace with my usual tactic of walking the drink stations so I could grab a cup of water. I also stopped for a quick chat with Other Dan when I realised that he was the person handing me a wet sponge, to make sure that he was ok. The last lap was particularly satisfying because my even pace took me cruising past finishers who had gone out too fast and were now struggling to the end.

Overall I was happy with my pace. I was 10 minutes down on last year but I knew that my fitness was nowhere near the same level. I wasn’t even sure what pace would be achievable so I was pleasantly surprised with a sub-3 hour finish.

As always the race was superbly organised with wonderful marshals all the way round. I remembered to bring my shampoo, shower gel, and towel this year to make full use of the club house facilities (didn’t bring a comb though, doh!) before buying a ham and tomato roll to munch on while I cheered in Eagle finishers. All in all it was another great race and one I look forward to running again next year.

  • Gun time:02:58:04
  • Garmin time: 2:58:06
  • Position: 327 / 485