About the Half Marathon…
Pretty flat considering other races in Surrey/surrounding areas. There are a couple of hills, but the downhill more than makes up for it. The course was revised this year to take out one of the harder hills, and it really is my favourite half marathon course of the 7 different ones I’ve done.
It’s a Run Through event which I’m very biased towards. I think they’re a great company and provide fantastic running events.
I was worried about queuing to get into the park, but there was very little congestion when we got there. There was also a separate pick up/drop off area to ease the weight of traffic getting in.
There were toilets, a clear start area, calls by predicted finishing times to get into the start funnel, and a very clear count down to ‘go’. Lots of music and marshals on the course to support, as well as a few portaloos. And big shout out to the Screwfix guys for starting work early on a Sunday to cheer us on (and get some free advertising!).
It was completely closed roads with lots of support at junctions etc to ensure no one could sneakily drive onto the course while we were running. Lots of photographers on course too, and the event photos are free.
The finish line was a bit congested when I got there, and could have been managed a bit better as it wasn’t clear exactly where to go. Especially when you haven’t got your best brain with you after running 13.1 miles! But lots of freebies for runners – t-shirt, medal, water, recovery shake and snacks.
The morning of, my stomach really wasn’t right. It’s been giving me a lot of grief recently! So I was really cautious about what I ate and missed off my usual toast, just sticking to yoghurt and a banana. I was worried I’d run out of energy (bonking as it’s sometimes referred to, which always gets a few giggles – if you know, you know) but thought better to listen to my body in the moment.
Dan drove us up to Chertsey, with minimal queuing, and got parked up with 40 minutes to spare. We had a walk round the event village before deciding the car was probably the best place to wait given the freezing temperatures. With 10 minutes to go, I did a very minimal warm up and headed to the start line.
I couldn’t believe how nervous I was, especially as this was just a training run for me! But 13.1 miles is still quite a distance, with scope for lots to go wrong.
The organisers counted down to go, and we were off. It only took 2 minutes to get over the line (compared to 7 last year!) and everyone spaced out fairly quickly. My race plan was to treat the first 3 miles as warm up, then take it easy to halfway. At that point I’d see how I feel and decide whether to push on, with the last 3 miles at at least a tempo pace.
And that’s pretty much what happened. Warmed up for the first 3, easy to mile 7 (just over halfway), pushed on for miles 7-8 then miles 9-13 I took at goal race pace-ish.
It was a really uneventful race for me, with lots of smiles and actually chatting to some other runners for once. I never normally get the chance to do this as I’m so focused on going for a PB, but it made a lovely change to run socially.
I crossed the line feeling really fresh, and boosted on endorphins. I was so amazed by my finishing time, and it was a big confidence boost to know I could not try for half the race and still get under 1:50. Very pleased I was fit enough to run this as a training run. It taught me how to enjoy an event and run it very controlled at the same time. Things are looking good for a spring PB attempt in a few weeks.
This is my favourite half marathon event to date, and would absolutely recommend it to anyone regardless of experience and ability.