Another look back at an event I decided to take part in.
At the end of February I ran another half marathon event. Thinking after Richmond last year that I would not even entertain the idea I signed up. It was the inaugural event and it was meant to be flat and fast so hubby with his speedy legs wanted a bit of the action and bag a PB.
It took about an hour to get there and that meant a very early start. Arriving along with everyone else into a large car park, this was a good start. I bumped into a few people I knew but I had kept this event quiet, I wanted to fly under the radar as I was not sure how I was going to do.
Hubby, his running buddy, my running buddy and I made our way to the pens and pretty quickly we were off. I started well, my buddy pacing me making sure I was doing ok and keeping to plan, I felt good. Keeping this up for 10 miles I thought I was going fine. My friend offering gels, passing me tissues and making sure I was keeping to plan, telling me off if I was going too quick. We joked I was like Mo with a personal pacer (I was so grateful and pacing is a selfless act).
After 10 miles it went rather pear shaped, a rather steep hill made me slow and then I felt my back go. The last 3 miles were pretty painful and slow. The time I had in my mind to complete in was crumbling in front of me.
I could not even complete a sprint finish but I had come in on time with a PB. Although I felt rough I was happy. The photo is of me completing a fast jog to the finish with my friend pushing me vocally. Not the best picture but certainly not the worst.
Would I run this event again? Probably not unless my gripes are resolved.
What I liked about the event:
- Lots of parking and near to the start/finish.
- Lots of portaloos (smelt after about half hour of arriving though)
- Marshalls were friendly and fabulous keeping the mood joyful and energised.
- Lots of water stations, nicely spaced out.
- I came in under time and received an new PB.
What I disliked about the event:
- It was sold as a fast flat 13.1 miles but there was a massive hill that was pretty steep which was visited twice, the organisers knew about the hills as their signage joked about it.
- The medal. This had been crudely chopped, apparently Merlin did not want the logo on the medal. You can see the filed off bit just under the 2017.
- The route itself, I am sure when I signed up we would be running in the park itself. Apart from the car park we did not see any of Thorpe Park. Instead we ran through an industrial estate and the streets.
- It was meant to be a closed route, no traffic. The locals had other ideas, backing out of their drives, ignoring marshals and actually driving very close at times to the runners. Although I saw one brave lady runner slow a car down making it crawl behind her. I was nearly taken out by a very fast cyclist who was then rude to my friend.
- The locals were not friendly, there was signage to say there would be an event. I saw quite a few local people arguing with marshals, one squaring up to a marshal ready for a fight. This could have been fabulous for the area but I guess people just got fed up.
- The event village was a bit quiet, not much there and a huge queue for a small expensive coffee. A captive audience could have brought lots of funds to stalls, it would have been nice to have had a few food stalls and maybe more selling merchandise. People may have wanted to hang about for a bit longer.