I recovered from Cracovia Marathon and set my sights on the fairly local Dartford Half Marathon. It's a long established race, once won by Steve Ovett over a very undulating course with a couple of steep hills. In the build up I had my first run with Richard Mintern who has become a regular racing and training partner over the past decade. Nowadays he is significantly faster than me particularly at shorter distances, he's quite a bit younger as well. Back in 2007 I was quite fit although my running technique was still in need of work and I was wearing relatively heavy stability shoes with custom orthotic insoles having been diagnosed as an overpronator at a specialist running store. I was getting some knee pain from the classic patella mistracking and riding up the side of the knee joint groove. I have large wide feet, UK size 12+ and I can only wear shoes from New Balance, Asics or one or two others who offer width fittings in some styles. Nowadays I think my running technique has improved a bit, there is less acceptance on the need to always correct overpronation and I wear the lightest shoes I can find in a wide fitting, with no more orthotic insoles. For our first run together we did about a half marathon distance I think along the Thames Path and I could handle this comfortably and have Richard working hard alongside.

On race day Richard and I put in what we could do on the day. The race is organised by Dartford Harriers and starts with a lap of the club running track before heading out on the local lanes which are closed for the event. Then back for a final lap of the track to finish. I've always loved the races we've done since then with a track or stadium finish, there's a few European marathons like this that we've run such as Stockholm, Munich, Amsterdam and the Reading Half Marathon. I had run a lot in 2007 whereas Richard and Pete hadn't done so much since their Berlin Marathon the previous year and on this occasion I came out on top, 1.47.20 which was at least a big improvement on my inaugral effort at the Great North Run. I haven't got any pictures of the race apart from this one in my curious outfit of blue singlet and baggy tracksuit bottoms at the back of this group, starting out on the first lap of the track.