Great North West Half Marathon Review (Sunday – February 19th 2017).

Blackpool 2012

I was having a bad race. It was my second half marathon having completed the Hilton Half Marathon in Blackpool the September before. I was halfway through when I went the wrong way and ended up passing the finish line around the same time as some of the faster runners.

I’d never run the race before so I just assumed you had to cross the finish line to get onto the second lap of the run.

NOPE.

I crossed the finish line and my time was recorded as 1:32.38.

I ended up going back out and finishing the course in about 3 hours.

Bearing in mind that my first half marathon was 2:28.08 I was hoping to better that at least. As it was it turned out I had pneumonia so with that and going in the wrong way I had some excuse.

I’ve been back to the winter course at Blackpool every year since.

2013: 1:56.01

2014: 2:00.09

2015: 1:52.53

2016: 1:58.33

Fast forward to 2017 and I wasn’t overly confident of my chances given my recent experiences with the course.

It’s no secret that I’ve been running well from about May onwards of 2016 but even that wasn’t giving me any confidence about going into the Great North West Half and finally beating my nemesis. But I’d been running well going into it so there was a flicker of hope.

I’d started the year training for a 50k in Gloucester so I was already well up in the mileage stakes. A few wintery illnesses put paid to the 50k and focus was put into the Manchester Marathon but the training was still in the bag so that was a positive.

Our small contingent of DH Runners rocked up to Blackpool with an hour to spare so we had plenty of time to use the facilities and stretch our legs.

About ten minutes before the start we had a little run down the promenade to stretch our legs and then positioned ourselves fairly near the start to avoid getting stuck in too much traffic.

And a little after 11 we were off.

blackpool

The weather certainly wasn’t as bad as previous years. The wind was a tad on the rough side in places at around 16mph and there was a little bit of drizzle but temperature wise it was fairly warm.

Myself and Tony bashed out the first mile in 6:58, the second in 7:01 and the third in 6:59. The next few miles were set to be fairly comfortable until we turned into the wind. Our fourth mile was 7:01, the fifth at 7:03 and the sixth at 7:16.

The next few miles into the wind were set to be testing and so it was proven with our seventh mile at 7:39 and eighth at 7:34.

We managed to pick the pace up again once we were out of the wind and the ninth mile was 7:01.

I started to push the pace a little bit at this point as I could feel I had it in my legs. I wanted to make up some of the time lost in the headwind and also catch up with a group of runners in a pack about a ¼ of a mile away in the hope that some of them may drag me to the finish line.

The tenth mile was done in 7:09 and by that point it was turning back into the headwind all the way to the finish.

I’d started keeping pace with another runner who dragged me through miles 11 (7:17) and 12 (7:25) before she started pulling away in the last mile for the finish. I surprised myself though when I managed to keep up with her for most of that last mile with a 7:05 pace.

Having turned the corner for the last stretch I immediately heard Lindsay screaming me on to the finish line which gave me enough of a push to pull my legs on to a sprint finish.

2017 – 1:34.06

And with that the nemesis has been vanquished.

I’ve never come as close to beating that 1:32.38 I posted accidentally in 2012.

So obviously the plan is to return again next year and beat it.

blackpool-2

The big reward, other than the medal, was that I had a medium t-shirt…and it fit. I’ve not been a medium for about ten years.

With the race done, and feeling a little windswept, all I wanted was fish and chips. So off to Harry Ramsden’s we went.

Training continues to go well for Manchester Marathon.

kicks-count2

I’m currently fundraising for Kicks Count so every run this year will be about fundraising for this charity who are doing awesome work cutting through contradictory information and getting the right information out to pregnant women and their partners at a time that they need it the most.

You can find out more at this link.

Bye for now.

 

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