Great North West Half Marathon 22/02/2015

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Great North West Half Marathon 22/02/2015

Postby Jack Hughes » 23 Feb 2015 18:58

Location: Blackpool seafront
Cost: £21
Freebies: massive big medal, a small soreen bar, safety pins, and a "surprise" t-shirt.

I was looking for a fast course HM, about half way between January 1 and April 19th.

This fit the bill. So entered.

I had a pacing plan. Always easier when the course is flat.

The course is sort of a great one. It's car free - taking advantage of the wide tarmac footpath along the seafront. The tarmac is great quality and makes for fast running.

Only two issues. The first a minor one. Some major road works (suspect the path has been washed away) meant that some odd little loops had to be introduced. Pretty easy to follow, and well marshalled, but you were soon lapping runners - so I suspect a few people will have cut chunks out of the race (either knocking two miles off, or 6 or 7).

The second is that being next to the sea, and flat, it is very exposed.

The forecast was for gales and sleet. I had hoped that they might not come in until after the event had finished, but they were early.

It was a 1.5 hour drive, so the fact that the race started at a relatively late 11am was an attractive feature (no hurry to get off the roads). The base was the vast Hilton hotel, and showers/changing were on offer. Registration was reasonably efficient as I arrived early (just before 9am, registration opened at 8:30). Nothing was posted out, so it was pick up the pack with number, pins (nice), and timing chip.

I had some decisions on what to wear - having brought 3 pairs of shoes, with me. Possibly made the right decision to run with a shirt under the vest, as once the rain/sleet started lashing down, you had to push things to keep warm.

Course was well marshalled, with 3 water stops. Water was in bottles which I found challenging to drink out of and run.

In fact, given the absolutely awful weather, it was incredibly well marshalled. Just standing out in that weather was awful.

Race started outside the Hilton. Around 2000 entered - a full field - but the bad weather kept a lot away (1251 finished, quite a few would have dropped out).

Short leg into to the wind, down to the pier. Wind not so bad at this point (11am). Then back up to just past the start, then down to the pier again. Then a long stretch up to the far end where the road works were. Knowing that the wind was behind, I decided to go over pace, by 10secs per km, thinking it would be a lot harder into the wind. The wind was picking up all the time. And turning into the wind was awful. a good 10-15 seconds over pace, so my average was starting to slip back down. This was a 3 mile stretch, back down to the finish. Then turn and back up again. Although the wind had picked up even more, I couldn't get the pace back up - running into the wind took far more out of me. By the time I had got to the turn (i guess about 12:15), the wind had really picked up. It was hard to even make forward progress - a lot of the lapped runners were walking - I felt a bit sorry for them as they still had it all to do again later. Back to the finish. Over the line. Collect goody back (very well laid out into nice size pens). Massive "andyb99" style medal which weighs a ton.

Hypothermia then set it. Went straight back to car. Managed to get out of wet things and into try ones, then try to thaw out a bit. Started shivering which was a good sign. Had to head home straight away as needed to get down to London.

On a still day this would be a very fast course. But was the coldest I've ever been at the end of a race.

I would definitely look at their races, nicely organised even for a big crowd.

Not sure how much it matters, but I would like to have seen a bit of seeding in the pen - it was just a massive free for all (some people took over 2 minutes to get to the start line from when the gun went). The problem with seeding is that people just ignore it. I did what any right thinking person would do and went up to near the front of the pen outside it, then climbed the barrier to get in. Still took me 10 seconds to get to the start line though, even though I was fairly near the front (I didn't want to get too near the front and set off at 5k pace :D)
Omnia Vanitas

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Jack Hughes
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Re: Great North West Half Marathon 22/02/2014

Postby Jimba » 23 Feb 2015 20:27

Well done for finishing unbroken, sounds like it was tough, if it was yesterday afternoon it certainly was tough, I was home looking out the window thanking the stars that mine was an early start. I guess it's of little use as a guide re pacing given the conditions, but extremely good to have got under you belt so early on. Good times to come.
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Re: Great North West Half Marathon 22/02/2014

Postby jonathon.e » 23 Feb 2015 22:47

Nicely done. :D
Lovely Northern Sunshine too, quality.!
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Re: Great North West Half Marathon 22/02/2015

Postby King Sad » 24 Feb 2015 19:40

Another hardy racer... Well done indeed Jack . One of those races where you probably wonder why you are doing it but afterwards a great sense of achievement from battling on.
It seemed like a good idea at the time :? .

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Re: Great North West Half Marathon 22/02/2015

Postby Bopomofo » 25 Feb 2015 14:41

A good job in brutal conditions... well done! :D
I had fun once. It was awful.
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Re: Great North West Half Marathon 22/02/2015

Postby kfjatek » 26 Feb 2015 13:45

Nice one! Sounds like the marathon campaign is on track then!

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