When I first put this race into my marathon training preparations I had planned to use it as a tempo run but as race day drew closer my training was going pretty well so I decided to go out at PB pace and see how it went. I wasn’t entirely confident as I hadn’t done much running at the pace but didn’t see any harm in giving it a go.
With two Olympians in the field in the form of Andy Vernon and Scott Overall I knew it would be a fast start so I held back as much as I could going through the first mile in 5.37. By this point the front few were already out of sight but a nice group had formed around me. We stayed together for the next couple of miles and I was able to sit in just at the pace I wanted.
I was one of ten in this pack which made me think I should have some good company for the majority of the race. However on mile five a significant hill climb split us rapidly. Normally I wouldn’t have expected a hill like this to have had such an effect on the formation of the race but in this case it came very much by surprise. It was long and steep enough to warrant a sign reading ‘Nearly at the top’ on a course that had been described as ‘flat’.
The two runners that had been leading the pack pushed on, three others, two of which were team mates, pulled away from me as the four that were left, including the leading lady, dropped back. I was now somewhat stuck in no man’s land but was trying my best to not left the distance between myself and the group of three in front increase.
The next three miles were slower than the first four but stayed solid and consistent. Then came an out and back section meaning I got to see all the runners who were in front of me. I counted that I was in 12th position. This didn’t last long though as the ninth mile was my slowest of the race which resulted in a group of four overtaking me in one go. Although I pulled the time back three more passed me within the next mile.
With the final mile approaching I got my arse in gear again knocking the pace back down to where it was early on. I gained back two places and some ground on several others as we ran from the country roads and back into the park itself, well the car park.
I crossed the finish line in 17th place from 4,000 participants stopping the clock at 76.14. This was just over a minute away from my PB but my second fastest ever half marathon. I was satisfied with it off the back of two months tough training. This race took me over 200 miles for February (only the second time I’ve ever done this) which explained my tiredness and drop in pace but gave me some encouragement that I can have a good crack at my PB in the Coventry half in three weeks time.
For more detail on the course and the event itself please have a read of my review I did for Quirky Races: