Today’s race was the first of the 4 races I’ve lined up this Autumn as part of my training before my marathon and was my 8th Half Marathon.
For our own reasons when I met up with running buddies and TR24 team mates Louise and Lorraine for the race this morning we all decided to follow the 2 hour pacer. Not that we could get near them in the start funnel but we lined up in the right pen for the start. The start was delayed because a car had hit a lamp-post somewhere on the course and the police had to get it cleared before he race could get going. The race twisted and turned through closed roads in Ealing and surrounding residential areas all very much as expected apart from the changes in gradient. They didn’t tell me about the hills! On the plus side the downs were long and gentle on smooth wide roads where I managed to recoup a lot of lost pace.
I actually found the first 3 miles or so hard work, thank goodness for Louise and Lorraine who looked so strong that I hung in and stayed on pace not wanting let the side down especially as they thought I’d run faster! Louise could see the 2 hour pacer ahead and I felt as long as the distance stayed the same we’d be ok having started a minute or so behind.
This was my first race where I’d planned a fuel strategy, to take gels at 4, 7 and 10 miles. I took the first early at 3 miles so by 5 miles as the race gradually moved uphill and the pace began to slacken I was at last beginning to feel strong so decided to push on and moved away from the others. I caught up with the 2 hour pacers just after 10 miles and then overtook them just after 11 to finish a minute and a bit over my pb but in my second fastest time and feeling very happy that I’d had a good race.
A well organised race, not too big and crowded although bigger than expected. There were several busy points including quite surprisingly the last mile and a bit with the rush to get under 2 hours! The self-selecting start groups behind pacers worked well with most runners being realistic with a few exceptions such as the two girls walking together in the middle of the field just round the first corner who I almost ran straight into!
There was lots of excellent support from local people, with families supporting and the residents of care homes coming out to wave plus great marshalls, plenty of water stops and no queues for the loo or bag drop. I got a nice bit of bling and decent goody bag including a can of London Pride. OH is very pleased that I finally got something useful!