Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Chester Half Marathon

I wasn't aiming to get a PB at Chester Half Marathon this weekend. I didn't want one. I hadn't trained much since the marathon 5 weeks before and only managed to get one run in the double digits since, mostly as I was concentrating on recovery and enjoying not marathon training.

My reasons for running Chester were basically to do a half marathon, get a long run in with some mates from the running club and enjoy it.

Medal selfie
However, I promptly forgot all this come race day. Instead I managed to get swept up in the race atmosphere and set off in sub 7 min miles and on PB pace. OOPS! The uphills were much more frequent (for some reason I thought it was a flat course!) and much sharper than I had anticipated. My mind said slow down but my legs kept going. What was I doing?! This lead to me hating the first 5 miles of the course and fighting an internal struggle. I really had to remind myself why I was running (whilst also cursing my mate Jill whose idea this had been). 
Mid way through and I had to have a stern word with myself. I reminded myself I didn't want to PB nor did I deserve to on so little training, and should slow down so I could achieve what I'd actually come to do.

After a little self ticking off, and at a slower, more reasonable pace, I began to enjoy myself - even despite running near a man who annoyingly breathed like Darth Vadar.

The route starts at the racecourse and heads out through the town centre, towards the countryside before a little loop and heading back. I must say the whole race was really well organised (take note Manchester Marathon) - barely a queue for the toilets and a really great atmosphere at the race course. The route itself was not only challenging with the hills, but also featured stretches of quite long boring roads which was pretty unexciting. But two bands on the course really stood out and kept spirits lifted, as did the heroic man at about mile 11 showering everyone with a hose. (This is not a euphemism).

The last mile was the worst - all uphill and seemingly never ending. But then finally, finally the finish was in sight. Louise Minchin off of BBC Breakfast gave me my medal at the finish line, and the post race goodie bag had actual useful things in it - sweets, 9 BAR and the best tasting Double Decker I've ever eaten in my life.

Finish line Medal from Louise

We stayed on course until the very end to cheer through all the last runners, and the organisers were on hand and came to chat to us to ask our opinions of the race.

It wasn't my best or most enjoyable run but that was due to my own legs and lack of prep. I think the fact that I eventually enjoyed it, despite the tough course speaks for itself.

Good job Chester.

Harriers on tour


  1. I've done Chester twice and really like it but god, that last mile isn't half a struggle uphill!

    1. It sure is! It felt so steep and never ending!