Bristol Half Marathon – 21st September 2014

It was a glorious morning to go for a run, and after an amusing Chinese whispers form of warm up in college green where only the front row could see the instructor and everyone else had to work it out from what they were doing, I toddled off to the yellow pen for a wave 1 start. At this point I found that my ipod, which I had been careful to charge up, was completely out of power, so it got packed away and I had to hum seven nation army to myself as we gradually walked towards the start line, crossing it over 7 minutes after the gun had gone off.

As I was carrying an injury and had set my target at 1hr 55mins I set off at what I felt was a comfortable pace. I was aiming for 5:20min/km but each time I checked my Garmin I was significantly faster than that (oops). But it was feeling easy, so I went with it, taking in my surroundings and the sounds of the crowd. All too soon we were under the suspension bridge and this was the part that I wanted my ipod for. The course goes out along the portway all the way to Shirehampton, then turns you round and brings you all the way back again. Watching the faster runners coming towards you on the way out, and then the rest of the field on the way back (into bright sunshine) could have done with a bit of musical accompaniment.

I checked my time at 10km and it was under 51 minutes, so readjusted my target time to 1hr50. This meant I did have to push on a bit and try and keep my pace consistent. I wasn’t able to stop for the £10 note in the middle of the road at Hotwells, but did point it out to the people behind. Hopefully someone picked it up for their charity. I was still feeling good when I entered Queen’s Square, where there were a couple of hot air balloons tethered and a samba band was kicking it. I was in wave 2 last year and the tight corners of Queen’s Square were a bit of a bottleneck, but being in wave 1 meant that there was plenty of space for everyone to negotiate it safely.

Out of Queen’s Square and it was the 10 mile mark. Only 3 more miles or 5km to go. A quick watch check and I was still on for 1hr50mins. But I was slowing down. What had been easy to maintain was now less so and the terrain was getting more difficult. Sometimes I would like to run this race backwards even though it would mean there would be less support towards the end of the race. From 11 to 12 miles are a couple of nasty inclines and a shed load of cobbles to sap whatever remaining strength you have in your legs and by the time I popped back up by the fountains opposite the Hippodrome I was flagging. A slightly modified route here as they are building more student accommodation next to the road we normally take, and I almost stopped to walk at the 13 mile mark. A final GPS check and I thought I would be around the 1hr50 mark, maybe a little over and figured a pb was totally out (which I was thinking was 1hr49mins09secs, confusing it with my old 10k pb) so eased myself into the finish straight and across the line in a Garmin time of 1hr49mins42secs. This was only 18 seconds slower than the pb I set in Bath earlier in the year, so I probably could have got a pb but I’m pretty sure I would have thrown up at the finish line if I’d pushed for it, so just as well I didn’t know the right time.

I got a lovely medal and t-shirt to add to the collection

Bristol Half Marathon

but what would be really great is if people donated to my justgiving page for Cancer Research: Donate, you know you want to. Thank you to all of the organisers and volunteers.

UPDATE: the official results are in and my official time is 1hr49mins43secs and finishing position is 2823. This compares to last year’s time of 1hr53mins55secs and finishing position of 3824.

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