The Big Half
Going down to the London after the visit of the “beast from the East” I wasn’t certain that the race would go ahead but fortunately conditions improved enough for the snow and ice to thaw, and with what must have been a mammoth effort from the organisers, the race went ahead. Being in the privileged position of qualifying for the Championship start, it was tricky to maintain my focus after a bit of celeb spotting in our warm up zone with the likes of Mo Farah, Callum Hawkins, Charlotte Purdue and Lily Partridge floating up and down the road alongside me!
The initial target for the race was to run sub 71 minutes, with the hope of clinching a qualifying time for the Chicago marathon. With a solid block of training behind me and buoyed by recent race success I was confident that I’d achieve the time with a slim chance of becoming a sub 70 half marathoner.
My initial plan was try to sit in the pack alongside the elite women but as it turned out I wasn’t the only one to have that plan in mind! By 3 miles in I’d decided to latch on to the group in front as I was feeling comfortable and picked the pace up slightly, plus the fact that having the camera crew on motorbikes next to you was a bit off putting even if they weren’t there for me!!!
As the race went on I was actually starting to feel stronger and pushed from pack to pack, eventually getting to a point where the pack in front were too far in front to reach, which left me running a big chunk of the race on my own. Not the easiest way to run and something else I need to work on with getting accustomed to running comfortably in a pack. The pack I was chasing did start to fall apart and still feeling strong I started to pass a few of the guys in front one by one.
Nearing the finish line, I didn’t realise just how close I was to running sub 70 minutes and as I turned the final corner, I remember looking up and seeing 1:09:23 on the finish line clock. Fortunately I had enough left in my tank for the final push to the finish line, as the clock ticked to 1:10:00!!! With starting a few metres back it meant my chip time was 1:09:52 and mission accomplished. At last it was nice to be finally leaving the capital with some race success and a smile on my face.