Wirral Half 2016: A Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon

Race: Wirral Half Marathon 2016
Location: Birkenhead to New Brighton
Date: Sunday 11th September 2016
Finish Time: 01:57:47

This is one of my favourite races and the 3rd year in a row I have run it.  Last year I got a half marathon PB with 02:08:07 and I wasn’t sure I could match that this year. I’m not sure why I felt so un-confident going into this years race, considering I’ve run further, trained harder and actually continued to run over the summer.

I love the course for this half marathon. I grew up on the Wirral and love running by the sea. The race starts in a beautiful park, passes by the docks, and then follows the coastal path. There is only a couple of sections on roads which makes a nice change to most races. You get views over to Liverpool across the Mersey and then lovely running alongside the sea. It is also very flat which is a welcome change from my usual hills.

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This wasn’t taken during the race, but on a training run earlier this year. Similar weather though.

I didn’t have a set idea of pace in my head at the start. I positioned myself in between the 2hr and 2:10hr pacers and thought I’d see how I went. I started off fast, and was very aware of that, but felt ok so just kept going. About half way I caught up with the 2hr pacer group, so attached myself to them. I suspect if I hadn’t my pace would have dropped off at this point in the race because I was finding myself running out of energy.  I was struggling to keep up with the pacer and dropped back.

It was a warm day so I took the opportunity to pour water over my head at each water station.  Eating Kendal mint cake helped with a much-needed energy boost. Around 11 miles I caught up with the 2hr pacer again, and he told me to keep on pushing, so off I went. Thanks for the encouragement whoever you are!

It was just a case of digging deep and pushing myself to the finish then. I past 12 miles and realised I had 10 minutes to get to the finish before my watch hit 2 hours. That was all the motivation I needed to just keep pushing onwards.

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I can see the finish line!

I found some energy for a sprint finish which completely finished me off. I love a sprint finish. Especially if there are other runners around because it always feels great to overtake a couple of people on the way to the finish line.

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The timing of this race always coincides with my birthday week and friends birthdays so it is always a hectic time of year. My pre-race preparations were once again less than perfect. I went on holiday, lots of birthday celebrations for my 30th during the week and a friend’s wedding on the Friday night. This means I am extra happy about smashing my PB.

 

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