My most recent race has been the Bath Half Marathon that took place on Sunday 2nd March. To get down there I travel on the M11, M25 and the M4 and it had to be one of the worst long distance trips i’ve had to make. My own fault really for choosing to drive down at 5pm on a Friday evening when everyone is trying to escape London. The reason being we weren’t in any great rush and it gave us all day Saturday to shop and sight see in Bath.
After having a good day Saturday I prepared my running kit for the morning. We got into Bath about 08.45am parking in Victoria Park and going for breakfast in Cafe Retro which is only 5 minutes walk from the runners village. The weather was great and far warmer than last year and although overcast was dry as well. I got to the runners village slightly later than last year to save standing around for an hour but this meant it was far busier and took some time to make my way through the crowd. My winter training has felt like a real slog battling what has felt like permanent wind and rain for the last 4 months but the perseverance has paid off as my only race this year had paid of with a personal course record. So I was hoping the Bath Half Marathon would go well, also this race was the start of my build up toward the London Marathon.
The start time had come and I was off to a great start being in pen D about 3 metres from the start line the initial mile is downhill and made the most of it to get into a good pace. The first mile was perfect and my pace was 6 minutes 24 seconds per mile! The next section is a short sharp hill along Green Park and around Queen Square the road is then a downhill gradient for the next few miles along the Upper Bristol Road to the river crossing back onto the Lower Bristol Road. After tackling the hill my pace dropped off which I was expecting as I know I am currently unable to maintain such a quick pace over a long distance. The next few miles my pace went 6.32, 6.58, 6.58, 7.08 and 7.10. I was running at a really good pace and was trying to maintain a 7 minute mile pace, knowing I was coming back towards the hill for the second time I was determined to attack it and get back into a good pace on the gradual decent back to the river crossing. During the race I had a thought that running long distance races is like travelling on motorways. The driver that overtakes and then cuts in sharply nearly clipping your feet in the process. That one person that tailgates and seems to be glued right behind you the whole time or the middle lane hoggers that you can’t seem to overtake comfortably. The elites that get to their final destination quicker than anyone else and the slower drivers at the back that’ll complete the journey all the same. Mile 7 came in at 7.11 and after tackling the hill my pace dropped slightly to 7.26. I managed to pick it up again for mile 9 and 10 clocking 7.20 and 7.15. The end was almost in sight but I could feel my legs tiring and the pace dropping with it mile 11 and 12 was 7.23 and 7.27. The final mile of the Bath Half is uphill last year I cramped at this point which allowed UK celebrity Dermot O’Leary to overtake and beat me by 42 seconds. I was showing no signs of cramp and pushed hard up the hill passing mile 13 at a pace of 7.16 per mile.. I didn’t feel quite strong enough to put in a final sprint and it was only at the final 100 yards I felt a slight twinge in my left calf. I crossed the line and knew I had smashed my PB! my recorded time was differing from the official time with the official time coming in at 1 hour 34 minutes and 11 seconds. This was 6 minutes and 31 seconds faster than 2013, my second race this year and another PB. Obviously I am now hoping this form continues and I can improve on my times.
I have quite a few races coming up these are…
Essex 20 County Championships
St Clare Hospice 10k Hastingwood where I am confident i can improve my 10k PB of 43 minutes 27 seconds
Oakley 20 Bedfordshire
and then the Virgin London Marathon