Not really sure what possessed me to enter the ‘ballot’ for this half marathon. Yes, there is a ballot! But I did manage to get a place as did Tara. This is one of a series of random events I decided to enter though my ‘main event’ is the Gower Ultra in November.
So, having been running over 40 mile weeks for the last month, I wasn’t sure that I was in the right mood to run this race (or had the energy). I had already shared texts with Tara on Saturday about our maranoia, more aches and pains.
Saturday, Steve and I went to Oxford to collect my race number – apparently you could collect from the race village or have it posted to you. I had already decided that we’d stay up the night before. At least finding our way to the race village on Saturday, made locating it on Sunday even easier.
The weather on Sunday was not looking good, and waking up to breakfast it was steadily raining. We made use of the park & ride service, which was very good. Not too long to queue and the bus took us very close to the race village. I have to say that the return journey was equally as easy.
As always, lots of excited, anxious and wet people making their way to the race village. There were a reasonable amount of loos, but the usual queuing. By this point most of the park had turned into a bit of a mud bath. The walk to the starting pens took about 10 minutes, but that really was as far as my warm up went. Not ideal, but I think everyone was struggling to warm up before this, as the rain just continued.
The start was quite quick, not too long to wait between waves. The first few miles wound their way around the centre, then the route goes out for a few more miles and back in on itself, then out again in a different direction and back in before a lap around the park and finishing in the centre. The ‘out and backs’ weren’t too bad, as you could then cheer on and call out to the runners on the other side of the road. This was particularly good as there were some long stretches where there were few spectators. Where there were spectators, they were all very good. The event was well marshalled, lots of water and energy stops. It was also ‘plastic free’, so no bottles.
There was a lot of surface water on various stretches of the course, so it was hard to keep trainers dry, and at one point the rain was torrential. Near the end, going through the park there were some very muddy stretches.
This is an expensive half marathon to enter – about £50. However, it is a good, flat, PB course. Lovely medal, t-shirt and goody bag. No PB for me, but I did enjoy it, as did Tara. We did manage to see each other at the end.
Well done Anne-Marie and Tara, braving the weather for this. Hope the Gower is dry! Good luck with your training.