I first ran this race last year with my friend running her first half marathon, I was badly undertrained, I had been out late at a work leaving night the night before and it poured with rain from start to finish.
This year was a little different… again, I ran with a friend running her first half marathon, I was (not so badly but still a little) undertrained, it was a 40th birthday party not a leaving night the night before BUT we got some perfect running weather… what a difference the weather makes!!
Kirsten had been really nervous the weeks before the race and didn’t believe she would manage the half marathon distance even although she already had 3×10 mile training runs under her belt!!
I luckily managed to squeeze in a 10 miler to boost my confidence with my lack of training. However it left me with a pain in my ankle and feeling concerned about my pace. I tried to encourage Kirsten to believe in herself, telling her she could do it and I’d run the whole way with her. In reality I had no faith in myself, I imagined a repeat of last year when my friend, Lynsay, had to practically drag me over the finish line when I caved at mile 12.
However, when I woke up to sunshine on Sunday morning, I knew it would be a good run day. Sometimes you just know!
Motorway traffic jams and a warm up that consisted of panicked running through subway stations to get to the start line in time couldn’t ruin my mood. I was there to have a great time!
Kirsten was emotional at the start line, something I remembered feeling at my first big race but she was fine once we got running.
My legs were pretty stiff from the start but seemed to ease off by mile 3. I was in the zone, running felt easy for the first time since April.
I had no time in mind, I wasn’t looking for a PB. I was simply running support for Kirsten. I slowed when she needed to, grabbed water for her at water stations, fed her jelly babies, told her she could do it when she felt like giving up and took video clips at half way, 10 miles and 12 mile marks. Top run buddy!
The weather held up, the crowd support was fantastic, the course is a really nice run. I think it has around 15000 runner so it can take a while to get through the start crowds and it does bottle neck a few times in the first mile or two but I’d highly recommend it, especially for first time half marathoners it has such a fun atmosphere.
I had an absolute ball running and crossing the finish line with Kirsten at her first half marathon, I was so proud of her and that feeling is better than any PB. Could support running is my new favourite type of racing?
We finished in a very respectable first time half marathon time of 2hr 7minutes
I finished feeling strong, I could have pushed harder, I could have run further… maybe not quite another 13.1 miles though!!
I’ve already signed up for next year and I’m targeting my friends to see if I can get another to run their first half with me!
Have you ever helped someone achieve a goal?