Dave 2 Half–marathons 0
Writing about web page http://www.shakespearemarathon.org.uk
Technically this should read Dave 10 Stratford Half–marathon 0 as I royally kicked it's butt – even if I say so myself.
The weather was ideal for fast running yesterday, and one hill aside was flat as a pancake. I wasn't feeling too good beforehand and was a little apprehensive about my groin injury, but decided I'd set my watch for 6:50 miles to attempt to get under 1:30, and blag it if I was feeling ropey and the litre of Ibulieve that I'd smeared on my leg didn't have the desired effect.
On the way to the start I met Gemma Morris and a few of the Lacrosse guys/girls. Gem finished in 2hrs 20mins, which is pretty good going for a first time.
The start was pretty disorganised, in as much as there weren't distinct areas for people to line up based on time, as there had been at Cov. That said there are a lot of comparisons that can be made with Cov:
- No ChampionChip – therefore no "Chip Time."
- No jaunt round the ring road.
- Good scenery.
- Not being in 22–degree and direct sunshine in September.
- Mile markers at every mile.
- Mile markers that weren't just sprayed on the road.
- A course that was flat and didn't have it's steepest incline at Mile 12.
The race started and as I was pretty far back and there was no "seeding" it took me a little while to get through the traffic. I was running pretty freely thanks to the Ibulieve, but I'd failed to spot the 1st mile marker, so when my watch bleeped at me I didn't take much notice. I spotted the second mile–marker and realised that I was about 30 seconds ahead of schedule, but figured I was running OK and I could always slow down later.
The miles clicked by and I was no less than 9 seconds per mile under my target pace, which was nice. And that mile was where we went up a long–ish hill followed by a very steep descent, for which it was hard to keep control. There was support most of the way round, with people in most front gardens (and beer gardens) cheering people on. It was at this point that I regretted having left my race vest in Seagrave's office as I didn't get the same cheering for my name, but it wasn't too big a deal.
As I came into the finishing straight they called out my name and number over the tannoy as I raced for the line to beat the clock and the two guys I'd overtaken in the last half mile. I thought that I'd get somewhere about 1hr 27 from my splits but stopped my watch at the line at 1hr 25mins 41secs, a full 6mins 43 under my time for Cov. I suspect that this was largely course and weather–induced, but it gives me satisfaction nonetheless.
Annoyingly I've just looked online at the BBC's photos and the guy I overtook 500yds from the finish was right at the start line (back left, wearing CamelBack), so I could easily have started nearer the front and got a better official time – especially as the organisers weren't using ChampionChips.
Thanks to Kathy and Dave for giving me a lift, and to the Berkswell lot for not getting me drunk on Saturday night. Bring on Edingburgh!!!