After enjoying this event massively last year posting my best half marathon to date. I just had the enter this race again. In fact I entered it sooo early that 2:09 sent out a discount code 4 days later as a welcome to returning runners. I didn’t get the discount but after a little bit of chasing I did get a marathon training pack and gels as a goodwill gesture.
Having seen the changes to last years route and knowing how much better my body copes with cold temperatures I was excited and expected a good run. Since Brighton last year I’ve been working with Jo Longmuir on my strength and general running technique. I had a really strong December posting PB runs in the club handicap, Parkrun and 10k distance along with a good 1.30 at Bournemouth. With this in mind I had set myself a 1.30 target at Farnborough.
The cold start didn’t make it the most social of starts but I saw a few friendly faces. Grouped up at the start with Gavin Loader, Andrew Brooks, Phil Guy (wearing his school uniform) and Neil Praine. Fairly normal bumping in to these guys and they are my targets when races. They are all still just a little out of reach though. I knew the 1.30 pacer and had told they guys that it was my aim to stick near him.
Off we went, we could see the 1.30 flag ahead, I ran with Neil for around seven miles chatting and enjoying the snow and the route, Fiona wizzed past at about three miles and it was impressive watching her pull away with relative ease. I had great joy in telling the surround group of guys that’s our superstar off there. During this time we had just about squeezed past the 1.30 pacer but could still hear him taking about how far off the mile markers where. He was correct though; Mile 4 was at 4.2miles on my Garmin. Talking about mile 4 this is where the HILL had been dropped onto the course. I like a hill to be honest as it broke the run up. It’s apparently being removed from next years course.
At around 7/8 mile marker I dropped off the pace a little, I had probably missed my regular refuel spot as I just got carried away on the downhill part between miles 5 and 6. Error on my part! It took me until about mile 10 to rally and get back into gear and by that point the gap was about a minute and I couldn’t close it. I passed James Ratcliffe at maybe 10.5 miles. I did think ‘blimey – he must have got lost on the 5k route as I know he’s not one for the longer stuff’. A quick ‘hello and are you alright’ exchange before he reminded my the 1.30 was just ahead and I should catch them. I did try but the hill again just put it to bed even with a strong 6.40 mile at the end.
I finished at 1.31.09 by my watch but I think I might have only gone off one of the timers as my official time was 1.31.16. Some positives; this is my third fastest half marathon ever. Although I really wanted a faster run I’m growing in confidence and showing consistency in my pacing. I’m also aware of the fuelling error that cost me the time and won’t make that mistake again. Manchester is my long term goal and I’m staying focused on that!
Definitely be back again next year… might even run it red!