Friday, 29 August 2014

Severn Bridge Half Marathon - Race Report

Ever fancied running from Wales to England and back again? Well this weekend I did just that with my super speedy brother in law, Gavin. Want to know how we did? Us too! But we can’t tell you because each time we look at the results, they are different!
Read on for the Severn Bridge Half Marathon race report.

Early Morning Bridge start line
Race Organisation
This was the first ever Severn Bridge Half marathon, and this tied with the fairly lax information given out pre-race (weird attempts at humour and no postcode for start point), we weren't holding out a lot of hope. But I must say I was pleasantly surprised! Race HQ was clearly signed from the motorway, and the event village was really good for spectators. As always, more toilets might have been helpful!

Starting Location

The race started smack bang in the middle of the old Severn Bridge. Pretty cool, and a nice early morning view. However, I think it could have benefited from starting BEFORE the bridge so you got to run over it fully twice. But as far as races starts go, this was a goodie!

Ready to Rock at the start line

The draw of this race is that the route incorporates the Severn Bridge. And this is great. But the bridge part is in fact fairly short! After the first crossing you then go into pretty much 9 miles of small but very scenic countryside lanes, flanked by cows, poo and some rather lovely houses – which is all very nice, apart from the hills which were unexpected. Oh the HILLS.

The website states: ‘The course is best described as 'undulating with one hill’ 
Crandon states: ‘The course is best described as really effing hilly with several hills leading up to one GIGANTIC VERY STEEP AND VERY LONG HILL’

Seriously, there were about 6 hills before we got to what I'm going to refer to as ‘The Beast’ just after the 5/6 mile mark (I think).

This isn't to say I didn't like the route, I just felt unprepared. I like running in countryside but the continual up-hill-down-hill made it difficult to get a proper pace going.

Due to the countryside and bridge route, there were very few spectators. But I must say the marshals were all really encouraging and there were little pockets of supporters along the way which was really nice. Some homeowners had set up camp with seats and a cuppa outside their house, and I was most jealous of them! Running back to the finish line was nice as this is where the majority of spectators were. I say nice, I mean painful and the crowds were needed to get up the final hill. I don’t mind saying that the small crowds at the end, coupled with the pain from an injury, made me well up and feel pretty emotional. But I held back the tears. Just.

Our Champion supporters

On Route Drinks and Snacks
No snacks or gels that I remember, but there were plenty of water stations and each also had a portaloo. I think there were about 3 or 4 in total spread out over pretty equal distance which was good. And again marshalled by very encouraging and lovely people!

Official T Shirt
I might go as far to say this is the BEST official race T-shirt I have ever received. Good design, and they are actually true to size! Hallelujah!
Top marks for medal and T-shirt
A good design featuring the Severn Bridge. Its nice! But light! As my Mum noted, ‘it’s not as heavy or as good quality as the London Marathon Medal is it’. I love you Mum

Mark out of 10

Considering this was the inaugural race, I think the organisers did a really good job. The atmosphere was good, lovely lovely marshalls and I love a local race. They also get top marks for the medal and t-shirt. 
I would have given them a 7 out of ten BUT WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THE TIMING RESULTS?!

Since Sunday I have received 3 different timings on the website of my gun time. All of which are way out of my watch time (but admittedly this did stop for a second or two…oops!). I do not have a chip time, and neither does Gavin, and a fair few others it would seem according to the
 forums. They have emailed all participants and do seem to be trying to sort it out but still no results for us! The website states, ‘As keen runners ourselves we know how important accurate and efficient race timing is.’ Sadly they seem to have fallen at the final hurdle.

1 comment:

  1. NB Since writing this piece, I have been in touch with Full on Sport who organised the timings for the race. They have since managed to pin down my chip time as 01:45:55 - wahooo! A new half marathon PB. Not bad considering the hills, an injury and a toilet stop!

    Next year, the timing needs to be sorted though!