Sunday 3rd May 2014

By Stu Helmore

Sophie, James, Eleanor and myself were the sole Roundhay Runners representatives at the North Lincolnshire half marathon, or the Scunthorpe half as most of us have been calling it. It was an early start and my alarm went off at 5:15 to make sure we got to the start line for 9:30. We still had to collect our numbers and the start line was three quarters of a mile from race HQ so we needed to be there with plenty of time. Luckily it was a bank holiday so we could all recover with a much needed lie in on Monday morning.

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There was plenty of parking as race HQ was at a football ground. Getting in, out and around the stadium however was a little tricky. Only some of the doors were open so it was a bit like a rabbit’s warren. Collecting our numbers was quick and painless even though Eleanor’s had previously been given out to another runner.

The walk to the start was short and a nice way to stretch our legs. Me and James left Eleanor and Sophie and found a nice spot towards the front. It was a relatively small field so getting space and overcrowding was never going to be an issue. The conditions were perfect, the wind speed was low and it was about 10°C, if anything it was a little muggy but this was no major issue.

The course was very, very flat which was both good and bad. You could see runners stretching out in front of your for what seemed like miles which felt a bit demoralising. There was a short section through a village which was much better as the houses prevented me from seeing the route ahead. The scenery was pleasant enough, mostly it was country roads but final section down a busy A road was a bit bleak. At this point the football stadium was in sight so everyone was on the final stretch. Because of the flatness and straightness of the roads, the race felt quite boring.

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Before the race my half marathon PB was 1:31:08. Instead of setting myself a target pace of 1:30 I’d set a goal of 1:25. The plan was to set off at this speed and see how long I could hang on for. I’d done a 10k (6.2 miles) at this pace so knew I could get at least that far, then I’d see how long I could hang on and how close to 1:25 I could get. I started to tire at five miles and hated it until the end. I could see my predicted finishing time getting bigger and bigger and at the 11 mile mark I thought I could rescue 1:28. I finished in 1:29:16. I’m convinced that if I’d set a target of 1:30 I would have felt stronger mentally, finished quicker and felt much better about getting both a new PB and under 1:30. Instead I hated most of the run, felt slow, got slower and was disappointed at the end. Mental attitude is a huge factor and should not be underestimated. Next time it’ll be different….. I hope.

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James did brilliantly well. Him and I were both targeting 1:25 and he was inches from making it with 1:25:02.

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Ellie smashed it and got a huge PB by almost five minutes. She also got under two hours for the first time with 1:59:01.

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Sophie had not been able to train due to injury so did fantastically well. Sadly she aggravated the injury and limped back to the car. She finished in 1:47:10.

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This is PB number two this year. Next stop, Amsterdam marathon. Is it too early to start training?

In summary

Good points

Flat

Quick

Well organised

Fun to finish on a football pitch

Chocolate cake after crossing the finishing line

Bad points

Flat

Boring

Very little support

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