Meeting the camera's gaze.

Stablemate and sports-mad dog-lover Rob “Hooner” Calhoun banged out a sensational 1:20:39 (missing a PB by 32 seconds) at the Wokingham Half-Marathon, placing 224th/2694 overall, 207th/1741 men, and 33rd/279 M45.

The day was perfect for cool Calhoun: blue sky, 7°C, and a 14.5 mph wind. If he weren’t running, he’d have been out on the golf course wasting a good walk, then entertaining the lads while relaxing in the clubhouse and balancing a pint on his belly—get Simon Cowell on the blower! 

The Stable News’ man on the ground, Ally “the Chin” Smith, was there to hear all about Calhoun’s cracking run:

AS: Hi, Rob. You were looking strong through the finish, pal. How’d it go?

RC: Cheers, Ally. A cracking race on undulating roads out of Wokingham into the countryside and back. A pretty fast track, but the last three miles were tough, as there is a gradual incline into the wind to the finish! 

AS: Ah, no bother to the Hooner! You had COVID a while back; did that make you switch things up?

RC: Yes, it’s been four weeks since having COVID, and I changed my strategy for the race—just went out to see what was possible (I hoped for 1:22/3). 

AS: Well, you went much better than that estimation, pal. Fantastic comeback after the illness.

RC: Yes, I really didn’t think I would do as well as I did, on what I think was probably a marginally harder track than the one I PB’d on last year.  

I set off at just over six-minute mile pace, and, with a slight drop off in the last three miles, I was very happy overall.

My last three half-marathons have all been COVID-related time trials, so it was lovely to do a proper race. A good quality field, too!

AS: Lovely stuff, Rob: a tougher course, the dreaded ‘rona, and you were still only 32 seconds off a PB. I can sense a sub-80 on the horizon!

RC: Absolutely! I’ll be going for it at the Putney & Fulham Half-Marathon on April 24.

AS: Superb, pal; better go and see what other Stablemates I can round up. Oh, and I’ll see you in the pub for that party trick of yours.

RC: Hahaha, no worries, Ally. See you then.

The Stable News got Coach Stazza on the dog and bone for his omnificent opinion: “Ugh, hold on a minute till I catch my breath. I forgot the pump for my king-size lilo, so blowing it up the old-fashioned way, with long-COVID, has really got me.

 Ah, that’s better; no fear of you having the lengthy COVID, Rob … A magnificent run on lumpy back roads … You’ll be more than ready to break 80’ by the time the next half-Mary rolls around … Now, let me get this inflated before I miss the tide.”