This weekend I (Helen) participated in a Duathlon on Saturday, then headed up to Cheshire to take part in Run Tatton Half Marathon.
Luckily for me my grandparents live near to the race so I stayed with them on Saturday night and my boyfriend Adam drove me to the race on Sunday morning.
I realised on the Saturday evening that in my manic packing I had actually forgotten my race number… (in my defence I had needed to pack for Duathlon, overnight stay and half marathon in one go) so a panicked email was sent to the organisers and they assured me they could set one aside in the information tent for me to collect in the morning! Amazing news!
Sunday morning it was raining!! I hate running in the rain, it’s cold and it makes me feel like I’m going to slip over. The sat nav said we would arrive at 8.30, but the sat nav hadn’t accounted for so many cars trying to get into Tatton Park. We ended up in stationary traffic approximately 0.6miles away from the event for about half an hour before we decided to abandon the car on a verge and walk to the start! The event have issued a statement regarding the traffic.
The traffic was awful, there is no denying that, but hopefully these issues can be rectified by next year. This is the first year this event has been run and all start up events have teething problems.
There were a lot of people queuing to get into the event and the 10km should have started at 9am but was delayed due to the congestion, even so there were still runners setting off 10mins or so behind the start group as it turned into more of a rolling start. There were announcements that the half marathon start would be delayed by 10mins so I huddled under an edge of a gazebo trying to stay dry.
The route was advertised as fast and flat, so I was expecting a pretty easy run. The weather had created puddles and muddy patches so it was necessary to really concentrate on foot placement. The first section had an out and back strip, running out to one of the park gates and then back up the same path. This path was a bit too narrow for the amount of runners, it meant the bulk of the runners heading out ended up a bit bottle necked as the faster runners headed back towards them. This affected striding a little bit and meant there was some dodging of runners and cones to be done. Also they allowed cars to start leaving the park so some of the runners found themselves followed by vehicles despite it being a ‘closed road’ event.
After this it spread out a bit and became a bit easier to run at my own pace. However for a flat course I found the majority of the race was either up or downhill, granted they were slight inclines in the most part not mountains, but I’m used to a flat route meaning ‘pancake flat’ so I found it a little lumpy.
The run headed through a wooded area and for a little while was a bit of a trail run which was a nice change of scene, the route was beautiful, the park is so nice and the scenery really added something to the experience. Then back out into more open paths, a water station at mile 4 and a few more steady hills.
The half marathon route then rejoined the 10km route and headed back towards the start. I had got to just over 7.5 miles and was starting lap 2 (10km was one lap and half marathon was 2 laps) when the lead runner from the half marathon was heading into the finish! 1hr and 8minutes! Sooooo speedy!
Anyway, I wasn’t that quick so I carried on for lap 2, cheered on by a super energetic marshal who jogged a little way telling everyone to ‘keep it up, keep it up, let’s go, let’s go’ he was great! Lap 2 was slightly amended so it wasn’t identical to the first lap. I usually dislike laps but this didn’t feel too bad. I was aiming for a sub 2hr race and by now had realised this would be tight so I needed to maintain my pace in order to make my target time, but I look like I was having an ok time!
Then there was 5km left to go and about 29mins to make it in sub hour… should be ok? Then I was hungry! I’m terrible with race nutrition, I had 2 pieces of toast when I got up in the morning and took nothing with me on the race, by mile 11 I was hungry!!! At about 11.5miles someone spectating gave me a jelly baby! I couldn’t slow down and it’s hard to chew and run so I popped it in the side of my mouth to let it disolve! Mile 12, 10mins to go till the 2hr mark… kept at my pace (I don’t really do speeding up…) Mile 13, then the finish!!!
All in all I really enjoyed the race, whilst the traffic problems and the narrow out and backs on the course marred the start these are items that the organisers should be able to take on board and easily improve on for next year. I would do it again, it was a quick course (albeit not my idea of flat), it was fun, the medal is novel, the scenery was gorgeous and I have to say I did enjoy the race! Winter training will continue, but for now I’m super pleased with my achievements this weekend!