Julia is national age group champion

Club head coach Julia Matheson was first V55 woman runner at the national championships, held as part of the Yorkshire marathon on Sunday 17 October, making her national age group champion for 2021. She achieved a time of 3:03:14 and was also eighth woman overall.

Here she reflects on the race.

Having qualified to represent England, I decided to use the opportunity to attempt to better my own North Staffordshire Road Runners Association record of 3:17.

I achieved that time at the qualification race which was the Chester Marathon (pre Covid).

Julia Matheson running in the marathon

It was difficult to know what to expect from this race -  the first time of representing England Masters -  but my 2021 season form indicated that I should be able to run a good race. 

I usually develop my own training plans but husband Ken offered to help me with this one after seeing me suffer at the recent Wrexham Half Marathon (which I didn't get right!) 

We decided to work on heart rate effort rather than pace as the determining factor to ensure I didn't go into the red throughout the race and to enable me to run strong to the end. 

We put it to the test at the Goodwood 20 mile race, some three weeks prior to the marathon and all went well so it was a process we then used for the York Marathon.

It worked well, resulting in what I feel was a strong performance in which I was able to empty the tank completely and finish strongly with a smile on my face, winning the V55 title.

The York marathon is a race I can recommend: the course is scenic and passes some of the sights of York city centre (eg York Minster - with the bells ringing loudly) and the atmosphere is electric with great support from locals at each village. 

It is well organised, with a nice medal and goodie bag at the end, and apart from the 'drag' at 16 miles and the short steep hill just before the finish it's quite a fast course. Maybe not quite as fast as London.

Julia holding her winner's medal with England Athletics banner showing

I would like to say how much I have appreciated the messages sent by teammates and friends prior to and following the race. 

The support has been really fabulous throughout 2021, thank you.