Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Event Review: Surrey Half Marathon

It was a busy ol' weekend for half marathons if my twitter and RSS feed are to be believed. In my part of the world a lot of fuss was being made about the inaugural Surrey Half Marathon which was held on the closed roads of Guildford. I'd entered last year with the hope of being able to attempt a PB but unfortunately it was not to be. That said, my own performance is the only thing I'd fault about the day. Right from registration onwards the organisation was great; the race packs were sent out well in advance with our bibs, bag tags and a buff for every runner. An app was available to download which had masses of info about the course, race village, car parking, FAQs and a tracker. Results were available on the app shortly after finishing too! 
We were blessed with gorgeous weather on the day. Brilliant sunshine and a balmy 17 degrees, very warm for the time of year and ever so slightly too warm for my comfort zone when I'm running. Car parking was a breeze and there were loads of marshals on hand to direct us to and around the race village, all with extremely cheery attitudes. Bag drop was a cinch and even at 20 minutes before the start there were no loo queues! That's practically unheard of. 

The out and back course lined with spectators most of the way around and dotted with all kinds of bands from steel drums, to brass and rock. I'd been undecided as to whether to run with music and had wired up in case but I didn't feel the need in the end. At around mile 4 the elites passed us coming the other way which was both fun and disheartening at the same time. The ripple of cheers as they whipped by was fun to be part of. 
Given it was such a hot day one or two extra water stations would have been nice. There were three on the course, all serving up sports capped bottles and the one at half way had gu gels too, but there was little shade and I saw a lot of people being tended to by St John's at the side of the road. One guy was even on an IV drip!
Another fab medal for the collection
There were few hills, which I'd been warned about, but nothing too major. But those and the heat, plus my clear lack of training lately meant that my on-track-for-a-PB pace went out the window after mile 8 and I ended up walking a bit. The finish was in the stadium around the track which is always a winner as far as I'm concerned… makes me feel like a real athlete! A lovely chunky medal and bottle of water was presented to all finishers but there were no goody bags. It wasn't the slowest I'd ever completed a half marathon in though so I'm hanging on to that thought.
It was definitely al fresco lunching kind of weather so I rested my uncharacteristically achey legs in the garden whilst refuelling with soup, homemade rolls and bakewell tart and a mug of tea. It was all incredibly lovely.
All in all it was a fantastic day; the organisation was superb and the race really enjoyable. It was lovely to see so many friendly faces at the race too, a real community vibe. I would definitely recommend signing up for it next year if you get the chance. I'm considering entering it again myself!

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